Honestly, this may be one of the most underrated and over critisized domestic cars ever constructed. I found that our Fiero did everything well except for hauling luggage. It was as reliable as almost any car we've ever owned.
Pontiac introduced the Fiero 1984 in typical American fashion. The first models only came in a handful of colors, had only one engine selection, and was plagued by engineering failures. Its fit and finish were weak, the performance wasn't any better than anything else on the road in a similar price range, and the insurance was outrageous. You couldn't even get a five-speed transmission in it during the first year. In typical fashion dealers marked their new model up to where anyone buying one would be submerged in debt. The Indy version came out with no more horsepower, but a hood scoop that was a far cry from matching the lines on the car.
Things didn't get much better in 1985 except the Fiero's reputation grew more tarnished and the available colors increased and a V-6 finally arrived on the scene... But only with a 4-speed.
In 1986 they were finally getting the car right and at the right price. Recalls continued, but they were not as numerous. Dealers became rational with their prices and one could buy one nicely equipped for under $10,000. This is when we decided to purchase our red one.
The car did very well. It was a blast to drive, always got looks, and the gas mileage was incredible. At one time we owned both this Fiero as well as a 1989 Geo Metro LSi with an automatic transmission. The Fiero always beat the Geo's gas mileage and, needless to say, could outrun it in third gear.
The air conditioning was almost inaccessible, but everything else on the car was easy to get to. Light line mechanics like tune ups and oil changes were very simple.
We once had the clutch replaced thinking that it was failing. However, there are bushings on either side of the clutch pedal pivot that will fool even the most knowledgeable shade tree mechanic. There is no telling how many good Fiero clutches have been replaced because of this inexpensive fix under the dash.
The ugliest thing about this sexy car was the interior's tendency to fall apart. The padding around the console often separated and cloth seats were almost guaranteed to split.
One of the oddest elements of this story is my relationship with the dealer. We paid for thousands of dollars of repairs on this car, many just before the same thing would be recalled by Pontiac. We brought this to the attention of the dealer who worked diligently to get a refund from Pontiac for over $1200. I will never forget them for helping me with this problem: Thank you, Bob Moore Pontiac, Oklahoma City!
By 1988 the Fiero was as perfect as any American sports car ever. Lotus tuned suspension and the most powerful V-6 made the GT a legitimate world class performer. Even the 4-cylinder was likable.
But it was too late. The Fiero was killed off to make way on the assembly line for the often forgotten Buick Reatta.
Today, you will occasionally see a 4-cylinder Fiero for under $4000 in good shape. The 6-cylinders are slightly higher and a later model GT may fetch a hefty sum. Anything built after 1985 is a safe bet to give you plenty of excitement for little cash.
I can recommend this car to any family of two who owns soft sided luggage and has a collection of ordinary hand tools.