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1999 Pontiac Grand Prix REVIEW logo 4/5/2017

Con: Overstyled interior, cheap-looking dashboard plastic.

Pro: Strong powertrains, sporty styling, fun to drive.

What’s New: The Grand Prix gets more muscle for '99 with low-restriction air-induction components giving the naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V6 five more horsepower, to 200. This engine is standard on the GT (sedan and coupe) and optional on the SE sedan. A traction control indicator and on/off button are now standard on GTP models. Minor revisions are in order inside, with front-door courtesy lamps and a six-speaker sound system now standard, and an eight-speaker Bose audio unit and OnStar mobile communications system optional. Outside, a rear deck spoiler is standard on the GT model, and two colors have been added to the 1999 exterior paint chart.

Review: Ford should worry about this Pontiac. Loaded with standard safety features and available in a potent, supercharged 240-horsepower edition, the Grand Prix successfully blends form, function and performance into one appealing and affordable package. Today's Taurus, by contrast, is little more than overpriced modern art.

Buyers can select from one of three Grand Prix models: SE (sedan only), GT (coupe or sedan) and GTP, the latter now a stand-alone model in both coupe and sedan form. The SE sedan is powered by a 3.1-liter V6 good for 160 horsepower. Despite a horsepower boost to 200 for the 3800 Series II V6 (optional on SE sedan and standard on GT), the 3.8-liter still delivers about 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, figures that nearly match the base powerplant.

GTP models come equipped with a supercharged version of the 3800 V6 that makes 240 horsepower. Last year, the GTP finally got standard traction control, a feature that it needs to keep all those ponies in line. This year, the driver can control when the traction control system is to be engaged with an on/off switch. The transmission on the GTP allows the driver to select Normal or Performance shift modes. The antilock brake system includes beefy rotors and state-of-the-art calipers for better stopping ability. Steering wheel vibration is reduced, thanks to a cross-beam steering column support structure.

All Grand Prix models benefit from long-life fluids and parts, such as coolant designed to last five years or 50,000 miles, and platinum-tipped spark plugs that last 100,000 miles under optimal conditions. Interiors feature analog instrumentation and large, easy-to-use controls. In the Pontiac tradition, the dashboard is busy looking and the gauges are designed to look like those in a jet fighter, all backlit in a soothing red glow at night.

An integrated child seat with a removable wash-out pad is optional on all models. Also optional is the EyeCue head-up display, which projects data for speed, fuel, radio and turn signals onto the windshield for easy viewing. The standard driver information center includes a tire-pressure monitoring system. Standard on GT Sedan and optional on all other models is MagnaSteer variable effort steering, which uses magnetism to vary steering effort.

Dual airbags, antilock brakes and traction control are standard on every Grand Prix. All models meet federal standards for side-impact protection, and bumpers front and rear are designed to withstand a five-mph impact with no structural or lamp damage. Sedans feature child-safe rear door locks, and an integrated child safety seat is available across the board.Yes, Ford should be worried. Interest in the less-than-sporting Taurus has waned in recent years because buyers have been drawn to more attractive and often more affordable alternatives. With the fresher, more spirited Pontiac Grand Prix, we predict that the Ford battleship will take one more serious hit from its GM competition.


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