I agree, I purchased a 2008 Grand Prix with 53K in 2010, and have put 13K trouble free miles on it, and only now am I having to replace the original tires and brakes.
I think in his case he bought the Northstar based Bonneville, and well I have a burning hatred for the Northstar, because it is junk. I doubt he would have had so much trouble with the 3800 variant.
GM has turned a corner, but no, they are no Honda/Toyota. Trouble is neither are Toyota and Honda anymore. Pick your poison, nothing's perfect.
I just recently purchased a 2005 GXP with the Northstar 4.6 V-8. And after reading the long list of complaints, I am not happy with the purchase or the complaints. Holy cow!
I researched the car on various websites, and only found on average 2 issues of concern. Water pump/crossover leak and ignition coil(s) at cold start. Wow, I guess I picked the wrong website to view reviews. Now after coming to this site, I'm terrified.
Wow, the negativism. Now I hate the car, and have not even had it a month yet, LOL.
Our experience with GM, including a Pontiac that we traded in 2009, has been absolutely perfect. Zero problems or repairs with any of them.
I prefer the solidly reliable 3.8 V-6 engines over the more complex (and hence trouble-prone) Northstar.
We currently own two Fords and one GM vehicle. All three are flawless. The GM is ten years old with over 115,000 miles and has never had a single repair of any kind. Not even a brake job yet. I'd have no qualms at all about buying any late model domestic car.
Some people are just "anti GM "... I own a 2001 Bonneville SLE (good old 3800) with over 311,000 miles on it. When I bought it with 128,000, I replaced the head gaskets and changed trans fluid; NOT A SINGLE PROBLEM since. I live in Michigan and have made the trip to Florida twice this year already, and I'm heading to North Carolina with it next month. This car rides great, is very comfortable, and I get 26 MPG. I love this car, and will definitely buy another if this one ever wears out.
I have a 2004 Bonneville SE. It also has the same problem you just described. I think my transmission just went out...