1997 Pontiac Bonneville SE 3.8 Series II from North America


Strap yourself in and go for a ride


It had major electrical problems, where the starter would continuously die every few months, but that was fixed by replacing the battery cables (at ~100,000 miles).

Radio backlight went out, and I replaced it with an aftermarket system. (~116,000 miles).

This car was affected by the notorious upper intake flaw. When the manifold burst, it ruined the oil, coolant, and spark plugs, and the engine hydrolocked (fortunately before it seized). (~119,000 miles).

Second transmission seems to be on its way out; a check engine light comes on, stays for a while, and eventually shuts off, always transmission-related (happening now).

General Comments:

This has got to be the best car that I've owned so far. Despite the Bonnie's heavy weight, it accelerates rather quickly, which will get you in and out of traffic. However, it won't win any drag races, as I discovered when I came across a Lamborghini on a nice, deserted stretch of the Wilbur Cross Highway. But that's to be expected of a family sedan.

Aside from that, it's built like a tank. Not only that, but it's comfortable, sporty, and fun to drive. The Bonneville's been discontinued, so snatch one up while you still can!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th August, 2008

1997 Pontiac Bonneville SE 3.8 series 2 from North America


Overpriced, overrated, pile of junk!!!


LOL, where do I start??

I bought this car in hopes of having a reliable car for a long time. I had heard from many that the GM 3800 ran forever with minimal repairs... not so much.

Since day one I have had a violent shake in the steering wheel, despite having the tires replaced, balanced numerous times, I actually bought new wheels for it... the shake remains. It has been in the shop for that 5 times in a year.

2 months in the transmission started acting up; it had a chuggle/hesitation when going up hills. Had the local dealer look at it and was told the valve body was bad... to the tune of $1700. At this same time I also had the shake checked again by the new dealer, they had it for 2 weeks and replaced almost every front end component... $2000, and the shake still hasn't gone away.

4 months, driving to work, out of nowhere the car just stopped moving.. the transmission had to be completely rebuilt, $1900.

5 months in the air conditioner quit working... $800 to replace.

9 months the alternator quit... $300. About this time the power seat stopped working. Then the power locks, and just recently the back windows stopped.

Then, the final straw so to speak, happened 4 days ago. I was on a 400 mile trip to visit family and with no warning a horrible knock started coming from the engine. Before I could even pull over the engine seized, sent a rod through the engine and spilled oil all over. Leaving me stranded on a back highway at 10pm with a temp of about 4 above. I was not pleased... turns out my car needs a whole new engine, to the tune of about $3000. THANK GOD I bought an extended warranty. However after this repair I'm trading the car back in for a newer Ford Taurus.

General Comments:

I absolutely loved this car when I bought it. It looks awesome and was in perfect condition... unfortunately looks can be deceiving.

This is the WORST car I have ever owned by far. My 93 Ford Taurus pulled 227,000 miles before the engine went, and that was with nothing but routine maintenance. This Bonneville hasn't even come close, having just barely rolled over 100,000 and already having needed a new transmission and needing a new engine is just ridiculous.

Now I can't say anything bad about GM; I had much better luck with an 88 Bonneville years ago. However this one is just awful. I'm hoping it was horribly mistreated by the previous owners and it's not just GM. Either way I'm going back to Ford; I always thought they were evil... but mine never burned me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd December, 2007

24th Dec 2007, 18:48

The previous owner can really abuse a car in 100,000 miles.

18th Jan 2008, 12:37

Its called an extended warranty, they offer it to you at some dealerships from a company called western general... they are fun bunch to deal with... it costs extra to get the warranty, but considering the costs I would have incurred without it, I would say its money well spent.