24th Sep 2008, 16:10

I just got an 05 with a 2.2L ecotec and an auto. It's a great car.

I can vouch for the 0-60 being close. I ran dead on with my friends 08 Si all the way thru 2nd. He blew me off the road after that. Partly to the limiter... 108mph?!

Anyone got clues on pulling that off of it? I hit that ~5000RPM in 3rd!

8th Oct 2008, 12:59

I own a Sunfire as my daily driver, and can attest that it is neither fast nor furious. Come on people, stop driving these cars like they are sports cars. THEY ARE NOT. All you people who claim their Sunfire's 0-60 times are in the 7-9 second range are throwing off the integrity of this board. You are doing a disservice to the person wanting an accurate review.

Like one poster wrote, the Sunfire is not quick unless you consider a 11 second 0-60. The GT is a somewhat legitimate performer getting to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds. THAT IS THE GT, NOT REGULAR SUNFIRES.

7th Dec 2008, 18:27

I don't personally own a 2004 Pontiac Sunfire but my mom does. I drive it weekly, but not on a day to day basis.

Well that's because I'm only 16 yrs. old and I am on my permit. But the car is great. It's not a sports car. But it is sporty. I was in the car measuring her when she did a 8 second 0-60mph. This thing has some amazing power you can feel the torque and power. Just think the power to wight ratio. This car is really light, but has a lot of power. By the way, does anyone know the 45-65mph time for the car?

19th Mar 2009, 20:28

Thanks to all the posters. I own a 2004 2.2L, 4spd auto. Stock. I do not understand the comments about 11s 0-60 mph. Maybe their Sunfires are out of tune. I have gotten around 8s. Yes, the car has a lot of power in the first two gears. The transmission is indeed very smooth. I love this car. I get ~28 mpg around town in L.A, ~32 on the highway. I got a set of Goodyear Triple Tread tires and made them about one step lower profile than stock (this is just a little more expensive than stock). Now the car really hugs the road and sits wonderfully into the curves. I highly recommend good tires for a light car like this!

I can see why people performance mod these cars. You really have something to work with. I did warp the rotors because I liked the car so much when I got it that I did a lot of hard stops for fun (I mean *full* braking power). I replaced the rotors (they were worn out at ~50k miles anyway) and it's fine now. If you are going to drive that hard, get performance rotors. Also, put good tranny fluid/oil in. This is a good car, worth taking car of.

I think the interior is OK. The materials are synthetic, but they seem to hold up. Get seat covers, if you want to preserve the fabric.

It's funny -- a lot of magazine reviewers give the car low scores, but I am glad in a way: They keep driving the price down, and if I want to buy another one in the future, it will be that much cheaper for me.


19th Mar 2009, 20:44

I'm the guy with the 2004, 2.2L, 4sp automatic in L.A.

P.S. I like the idea of modifying these cars, but I am going to side with the experts. Modify for safety. More power requires better brakes, better suspension, and better handling (I'm thinking better rear anti-sway in particular). The car is very well-balanced stock. If you upgrade, you need to keep the balance. Cheers!

18th Apr 2009, 15:53

To those looking for an accurate description of a 2003 Pontiac Sunfire with the 2.2l Ecotec motor, the 4 speed automatic transmission and 15" stock steel rims with caps, I have some valuable information.

This car is not a sports car. If you're buying it for that, be prepared to spend some money in aftermarket.

I lived in Idaho for 3 years with that car, where the air is thinner than many other places in the U.S.A. My stock 0-60 times launching with the brake applied then releasing was about 11.3 seconds consecutively. I also drove a 2004 Manual Transmission Sunfire that posted around 10.5 seconds 0-60 launching at 2,500 rpm and shifting at around 5,250 rpm, also with 15" steel rims. This is a good shift point for the stock Sunfire because its torque is higher than its horsepower.

With my 2003 Sunfire, after bolting on a cold air intake, fuel injectors from a 2005 Cobalt SS, a tubular header from Tsudo racing, an aerial atom catalytic convertor and using the stock muffler system, the car ran 0-60 in about 9.5 seconds. The quarter mile times were in the high 15's (15.685 was my best).

I moved to Arizona and the times changed dramatically. My 0-60 time was a smashing (:p) 7.9 seconds and my quarter mile times were around 14.9 seconds at about 100 mph. My point is it depends on where you live that can determine your car's performance. Air density is a BIG factor in a car's performance. Up north, fouled spark plugs are commonly black and covered in soot, indicative of a rich condition. In southern areas with low humidity, the spark plugs show little signs of wear except that the electrodes are worn down, indicating a proper stochiometric ratio is at work. What principle do you think turbochargers and superchargers work on? Air density. I don't doubt that most (if not all) of you are correct in your statements. And on top of all this, no two cars are created equally. Even at the manufacturing plant there will be some difference between two cars to where they can vary by up to one second in 0-60 time and 2 mpg fuel economy.

In short, if you're looking for a car that can handle its own against imports in its class, the 2003 Sunfire is a good choice. In fact, it held better 0-60 times than the same year Honda Civic, and Ford Focus and its stopping distance was shorter. It had second best highway fuel economy (37 for the Civic, 35 for the Sunfire), and its looks weren't too bad inside. The outside is funky, as there are noticeable gaps between every panel. However, aftermarket accessories are widely available and reasonably priced. If you look at it one way, I spent $1,500 in parts and labor (estimated labor as I did all of these modifications myself) to gain almost 4 seconds in 0-60 and 27 horsepower and 25 ft-lbs in torque, and the car takes on base model Mustangs, Chargers, Civics, Accord V6's, Maxima's, Sentra SE R's, and neck and neck's some 350Z's. If you're willing to put some work into the car, this could be your FWD car of choice. It's not hard to squeeze 1,200 horsepower from this motor.

FOR STOCK INTENTS AND PURPOSES: this is not a sports car. It's an economy car.

Other Jason

20th Apr 2009, 00:08

The 2.2 Ecotec was the lightest fully dressed engine GM ever made at the time, might still be, not sure. It has great torque over a wide range.

The Ecotec Sunfire is faster than the Sunfire GT because it is a MUCH lighter engine! Over 150 pounds, the automatic transmission adds 100 pounds over the manual! A 2.4 auto is a good 250 pounds heavier than an Ecotec with a standard. The 2.4 is a BIG iron block, as opposed to the smaller all aluminum Ecotec. Sunfires with Ecotecs can do 0-60 in the low 7 second range, they are the lightest Sunfires made.

Are they cheaply built, YES! The interior is terrible, full of squeaks and rattles, out dated by about 10 years, uncomfortable seats. They don't have real high hp, because their power is in the lower rpm ranges, and they don't rev to 8k rpm. That's why they pull so hard down low. Also why they are good on gas, low end torque means you don't need to down shift to go up hills, or force it to 4000 rpms to get power. 2500 rpm is plenty! A Cobalt with the same Ecotec engine gets well over 40mpg, and Cobalts are heavier!

Now the 2200, that's a different thing altogether. An iron block OHV engine with 115-120 hp, and 130-135 ft lbs of torque depending on age (95-97 120/130; 98+ 115/135). Was quite slow. About 10 seconds 0-60, but it served as a base engine, in a cheap car. What did you expect?

Bottom line, a 2004 Sunfire is a cheap car with a cheaply made interior that would feel at home in a early/mid 90s econobox. It is quite cheap, it is quite nice looking, and it is a lot faster than you thought.