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2000 Pontiac Grand Am REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/5/2017

Con: Price creep has followed sales growth, true sport sedans need a five-speed with a V6.

Pro: Sporty styling, lots of standard features, available five-speed manual transmission.

Edmunds Say: A viable import alternative, but don't expect Camry- or Accord-like resale values or build quality.

What’s New: Grand Am gets engine improvements, interior upgrades (including a revamped center console), new exterior appearance packages and revised paint choices.

Review: Pontiac updated its volume-leading nameplate for 1999 with an all-new car, inside and out. Boasting a bold new style and a wider stance, the sporty Grand Am bears a strong family resemblance to its big brother, the Grand Prix. One noteworthy design quirk is the use of large, round cornering lamps at the lower edges of the rear fascia, looking much like the fog/driving lamps in the front.

Overall, the new design is pleasing to the eye because the car's proportions are more balanced than the previous model. The Grand Am can be had as a coupe or sedan, in two distinct models (SE and GT) plus three option packages (SE1, SE2 and GT1). Base SE Sedans and Coupes are powered by a 150-horse, twin cam 2.4-liter four-cylinder that has been fitted with a redesigned composite intake manifold for better fuel economy and lower emissions. The base cars also feature air conditioning, antilock brakes, 15-inch wheels and an AM/FM stereo cassette. An electronically controlled four-speed automatic is standard. The SE1 includes cruise, power seats, windows and mirrors, and can be optioned with 16-inch alloys, a CD player and decklid spoiler.

Once you get to the SE2, you gain a 170-horsepower 3.4-liter V6 that has been reworked for better durability and lower emissions. You also get all the SE1 options as well as traction control and remote keyless entry. Go for the sporty GT, and you'll benefit from a stiffer suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, a set of 16-inch five-spoke wheels and a unique look, including special front and rear fascias and bodyside cladding. GT1 adds a six-way power driver's seat, high-power audio system and power sunroof. Leather seating and chrome wheels are also available.

Grand Am's interior is driver-oriented, with all center panel controls angled toward the cockpit, centered around a contemporary circular cluster panel housing red backlit gauges. Surfaces are soft-touch and low-gloss while control knobs are easy to see and use. By putting money into driver-oriented hardware instead of flashy doodads, Pontiac has bolstered Grand Am's market position. This car packs lots of equipment into a well-screwed-together package. But don't look for real enthusiasts to embrace the Grand Am until a five-speed is available in the V6 GT model.

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