1997 Pontiac Bonneville SE 3.8 from North America


Piece of junk


This car has been a maintenance nightmare. Even changing a headlight bulb is a gut wrenching nightmare. I restore old cars,I know what I am doing. The manual says just reach behind the headlight and remove, well, they have a big plastic box in the way and a dealer wants $40.00 to change it. After driving Pontiacs and putting heavy miles on them, no more Pontiacs. This car is too costly to maintain. Had new transmission at 54,000 miles. Bearings, fuel pumps, water pumps, alternators, electrical problems. no more. Next car will not be a Pontiac.

General Comments:

Maintenance HOG.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd March, 2004

1997 Pontiac Bonneville SE 3.8L V6 from North America


A good, reliable full-sized car


Fuel floater went before I got it.

Headlight, fog light, turn signal, and tail light all went in time I've owned it.

Loud shocks.

"Check Engine" light is mysteriously always on, though there are no problems.

General Comments:

Extremely roomy and comfortable on long drives.

Roomy back seat. Almost like a taxi.

Huge trunk, with small access hatch to back seat for lumber or skis.

Quick, powerful, and reliable engine.

Good-sounding, loud stereo.

Really good highway fuel economy.

Good handling around sharp curves.

Simple and fun to drive.

Traction control more annoying than helpful.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th February, 2004

1997 Pontiac Bonneville SE 3.8 from North America


High-Cost Maintenance Nightmare-Intake Manifold and Transmission-Shot @ 60,000 Miles!!!


Alternator: 18,000

Alternator: 28,000

Intake Manifold: 58,000

Transmission rebuilt: 61,000.

General Comments:

I will never, never, never, buy another GM product!!!

Over the past 3,000 miles this car has had to have $2,900 USD worth of repairs.

First the intake manifold went out - car was loosing antifreeze - that was $900.

Then, the transmission was slipping - GM has a "Technical Service Bulletin" out on the valve body replacement (a $20 part apparently). Basically our transmission is SHOT due to the torque converter slipping since this part was worn over time.

All this @ 60,000 miles!!!

DO NOT buy a Bonneville - or any GM product with a 3.8 L engine. Yeah, it's a reliable engine, but the cost of repairs are a nightmare!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 30th June, 2003

12th Oct 2003, 18:23

97 Pontiac Bonneville with 70,000 miles. Nice drive and handling. Unusually high ratio of repairs caused by latent defects.

Difficulty in changing lower radiator hose. Not enough space to remove upper clamp from lower hose.

Why does replacement of the 1997 SE Serpentine Belt appear to be blocked by engine support (connects engine to body through accessory belt)?

Engine has required three head gasket replacements. Pontiac replaced oxygen sensor three times. Last informed sensor was modified to work with CPU.

1997 Pontiac Bonneville SSE 3.8 Liter Supercharged V6 from North America


Quite simply the best car I ever owned


Front brakes at 50,000 miles (routine maintenance)

Trunk latch broke while on vacation one year.

General Comments:

I had to write this one up simply because it was the best car I ever owned in my 26 years of driving (I'm 42). I drove it off the showroom floor brand new, and traded it off about 4 1/2 years later with just under 88,000 miles on it. In that 88,000 miles, I never did anything to it at all except routine maintenance like oil changes, and exactly one set of front brakes. When I traded it in, it even still had the original tires! The trunk latch did break while on vacation one year - it was annoying, but wasn't expensive to repair after I got it back home.

I would imagine that repairs (if any were needed) would have been expensive, as almost nothing under the hood looked like something you could work on yourself - the supercharger kind of took over most of the engine compartment.

It's only two annoying problems were persistent the entire time I had it:

1 - The passenger side window was never quite aligned just right - there was always a little wind noise from it, and occasionally you had to "learn the ritual" to get it to seal up completely when rolled up.

2 - The right rear door had to be slammed pretty hard to completely latch.

This car was perfect for long highway trips, extremely comfortable, quiet, pretty quick with it's 240 hp supercharged V6, and frankly I miss it quite a bit these days. I'd buy one again in a heartbeat if I had the cash. It got low 20's MPG in town, and right at 29-30 MPG on the road, just as regular as clockwork.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd May, 2003

14th Dec 2009, 10:55

I totally agree! Sounds exactly like my car and I love it!

14th Dec 2009, 13:23

I also agree - the Bonnevilles from the late 1980's on were some of the finest models GM ever produced. I am sorry to see GM pull the plug on Pontiac, a division with a proud history.