18th Apr 2010, 07:13

I bought a loaded '02 GAGT sedan in '04 as a GM Certified pre-owned car with only 45,000km (28,000 miles) on the odometer. I took it out for a test drive, and fell in love with the crisp, solid handling, great off-the-line acceleration, sure and solid braking system with a very short braking distance, and the overall style and design of the car both inside and out. The fact that it burns regular octane fuel, can attain decent fuel economy (if I keep my foot out of it), and has low insurance premiums sealed the deal for me. It's a very affordable sports sedan that's fun to drive.

Initially, there were some problems, but since it was a GM certified pre-owned, the dealership gladly pointed them out and fixed them for me. For example, they offered to replace the lower intake manifold gasket for me, which doesn't fail because of the type of coolant, but rather because the original gasket was a poor design. I've been running with the new one all these years with the same coolant, and it still runs fine. They also fixed some popping noise which has never returned, replaced the track for the front driver's side window so it would roll up and down properly, and even swapped out my Monsoon stereo when a little light inside burned out. Every time, they put me in a rental car, which was always a nice rental, but I was always glad to get back behind the wheel of my Grand Am.

The ergonomics of this car are often overlooked. For example, the front and back seat map lights can all be turned on without creating any glare to the driver. The center console is angled towards the driver. All controls (including HVAC) are butter smooth and require very little force to push or turn. The car knows when to turn the headlights on and off automatically. The car also knows when it's time to change the oil (and tells me).

The traction control and ABS brakes have saved my bacon a few times, and when the low washer fluid light comes on, there's always enough left in reserve to get me home, and it holds a whole bottle of washer fluid. That means I don't have to keep a half-empty bottle of washer fluid rattling around in my trunk, and I'm never left standing on the side of the road pouring in that half empty bottle of washer fluid into the reservoir because I've run out. Even when the gas level gets low, I get a warning. The oil level and engine coolant level are also monitored, and I'm notified if they get too low. I haven't seen those come on yet, except during the lamp test.

It's now 2010, so this car is over 8 years old and is getting closer to the 160,000 km (100,000 mile) mark. The air conditioning has never been serviced, and still blows ice cold on the hottest days. The sunroof, which gets used a lot and also has never been serviced, still opens and closes smoothly. Both of these kept failing on my previous car (a Dodge). In fact, in spite of my abusive driving habits, everything works exactly as it should. I've only ever had to change the oil, oil filter, air filter, brakes, rotors, tires, battery, headlight bulbs, and brake light bulbs. One rim had a crack which I had repaired, and I recently had the transmission fluid and filter replaced.

I've been thinking about what I'm going to replace this car with, and frankly I don't know if anything new can measure up. All new cars have ugly plastic gutters cutting along the roof line, while my GAGT's roof blends smoothly into the pillars. The ribbed polymer body side cladding has protected it from countless door dings. It's definitely a package that'll be hard to beat.

15th Jan 2011, 09:24

I agree. I have had, and still having problems with my 2002 Grand Am GT, from lights to tranny, to windows to trunk leaking, and have wanted to replace it many times, but just can't seem to find anything out there that will come close to the performance, price and looks.

15th Jan 2011, 11:36

I traded my 2001 Grand Am at 85,000 miles, but it had been one of the best cars I ever owned in that time. Not a single problem. I loved the styling, ride and power. I was sad to see the GA dropped in 2005, and even sadder to see Pontiac stop production.