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By RCtennis3811

2004 PONTIAC GRAND PRIX GTP W/ COMP PACKAGE


Well, I finally decided to test drive the Pontiac Grand Prix, after it received lots of fanfare here at GMI. Well, this weekend I testdrove a black 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP fully-loaded with competition package. Here's my thoughts:

Styling
What can I say, this is a big car! The side view is probably the most "breathtaking" with the upwards-sweeping rear door windows, which really adds a sporty factor. The bulges on the trunklid may look outlandish, but in darker colors it adds a sporty flair to the car. The "dual-port" mufflers on the back are a stupid idea in my opinion. I, frankly, would've liked a muffler on both sides with just a huge oval, and not a rectangular metal piece with two holes carved out in it. The front of the car is my least favorite view. The headlights and grill just don't work for me. I like the Bonneville GXP's front much better. Other than those two small nitpicks, there's nothing else that's wrong with the exterior of the car. It's stylish - period.

Interior
When I sat in this car, I immediately thought to myself, "SAAB". It's not a bad thing, but the GP's dashboard (while with no relation at all to the 9-3) has that "7" style driver-oriented look. It's really sporty. In typical Pontiac fashion, everything that lights up on the dash is red - which a sports sedan's interior seems most acceptable in. The steering wheel is one of GM's better efforts at making steering wheels, and while it's no CTS steering-wheel or even a Mazda steering-wheel, it does the job well. Here's probably the only downfall of the GP: the interior. While everything I just said is true, there are still signs of cost-cutting in this car. The center stack is put together solidly, but the plastic is shiny and cheap-feeling. It would've been better to put some metallic/silver trim there. Also, the number of vents is even more outlandish. There was too much air blowing into the empty front passenger seat and not enough for the driver. The stereo unit is GM's worst stereo design currently available. I hope they eventually use the unit from the G6/Malibu/CSVs/Equinox soon. Also, for a 28K car, you'd expect digital climate control, but that didn't bother me at all. Looking at the car from the outside, you'd expect a big interior. Nope. The front seats are very comfortable with above-average leather, but the rear seat is the worst thing to sit in. No toe space, no leg room, hard cushions, no center armrest, and no adjustable headrests add up for a place no adult will want to sit in.


Performance
The Grand Prix uses GM's Supercharged 3800 Series III V6 which dates back more than 30 years ago (the engine, not the Eaton supercharger). It's a great engine for cars like the GP, but shouldn't at all be used in a luxury Buick in my opinion. The GP is always willing to accelerate on the highway and never runs out of breath - a plus in today's busy world. The only disadvantage to a pushrod engine is the refinement. At above 60MPH, it didn't feel as smooth as a DOHC engine and vibrations were noticeable, as with engine noises. Thankfully, people who buy the GP aren't looking for refinement, but for sportiness. That's why GM has the 3.6L High Feature engine! The TAPshift system isn't to my liking. It's more like playing a GameBoy Advance than driving a car. I'd rather take the manumatic found in the SRX/STS/G6. Otherwise, the shifts are smooth and precise and the car gets great gas mileage.

Pros: 260HP supercharged V6, exterior styling, rebates, comfy front seats, low price
Cons: rear seat, TAPshift isn't really fun nor driver-engaging
Overall thoughts: If you want a lot of sport for the money, the Grand Prix is a hard car to beat!

:D
 

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Cool review, I see they changed the headrests, thats good...but Mr. Pringle has made me learn to love the headrests in my GTP...thanks alot Pringle!! Speaking of Pringle, where the heck has he been?
 

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just a thought here:
if you close the vents on the side where they aren't needed, it shouldn't blow even more on the side where they are open?

also, you didn't mentioned nothing about the steering feeling nor the modding potential of the 3.8...
do your homework well before going for a drive, and don't leave anything aside.
it also helps when you compare (vibrations, noise level, stereo, etc) to name the car you're comparing with...
 

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I have a GT1 04' Grand Prix and LOVE IT!!!....such a bargin. The ride quality is really nice. Also, the back seats were improved in later production of the 04s...The newer ones cost $200 extra...I got the new cloth seats and it is a major improvement.
 

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I was considering a purchase of the 04 GP but after several test drives I have changed my mind.
Back seats are terrible both the original and the redo.
No cupholders or arm rest in the back. Hello GM even the F-body had cup holders in the back seat.
What a small interior for the size of the car.
I found the HUD would not angle to where it would be in comfortable part of my line of sight. The salespeople I dealt with knew nothing about the GP.
The steering and handling are great almost enough to forget the GP is FWD.
I do like the gauges and overall the interior is a huge improvement.
I also agree with your assessment of the exterior. The look is great except for the front end. Pontiac has done better.
A Good but not great car. It is signifigcantly better than the previous GP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Originally posted by johnd89@May 12 2004, 02:13 PM
also, you didn't mentioned nothing about the steering feeling nor the modding potential of the 3.8...
do your homework well before going for a drive, and don't leave anything aside.
it also helps when you compare (vibrations, noise level, stereo, etc) to name the car you're comparing with...
My thought was, if you have nothing bad nor good to say about something, then don't. I probably should've mentioned that first. And MODDING POTENTIAL!?! Why??? Most people won't even tune this car at all!
 

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I bet anyone who gets one at least changes the pulley right away. To some extent, those s/c 3.8's had the reputation of the lt1's and ls1's: you can't find one stock no more...
The point I'm trying to make here is that there is a huge difference between an uninformed buyer who just goes and test drive a car without knowing anything about it, and someone who knows exactly what is buying.
For instance, you only mentioned the hp rating, not a single word about torque delivery, rpm's, etc. That's what a chick would look at, not a discerning customer.
As a conclusion, I really don't think you were fair toward this product. maybe it wasn't your intention, but that's what it looks like.
 

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The interior never surprised me either: otherwise, great review! I don't like the TAPshift feature either. It looks kind of tacky, and cheap.........The 260 hp Eaton Supercharger really helps Grand Prix do good with the competition...
 

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Great review, RC! Yep, those back seats are not a place I want to be - unfortunately my Bonneville has similarly unpleasant back seats with not enough head room... :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The funny thing is that I wanted to test drive the GTO, but the dealer was sold out of them! LOL :lol:

-Jason
 

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The car looks and feels small to me.I drive a GMC ext cap and a STS.
Sat in one, with a sunroof and my head hit the roof.
There is less head room then the old one ( we had one.)
After that had not interest in the car.
 

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well this sounds like an interesting ride but i dont think it is for everyone if you dont like the car dont get it period thanks for the review
 

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I concur with your assessments.

The car looks great from the outside but the interior is terroble.

My dad bought a Nissan Altima, and while it looks like crap, the car is SUPER-ROOMY! I sould completely stretch my legs in the passenger seat while the rear passenger had more than enough space. I'm not that tall, but at almost 6 feet, that's quite an acomplishment.

The Nissan's interior is also pretty cheap. Annoying rattles (because of their pitch) destroy the driving experience... You never find where they are. The thing is, even with all this, and despite the fact that the altima interior is, for the most part brutally ugly... It's much more pleasant to sit in than the Grand Prix.

I understand wanting to be sporty.

But the Buick Regal GS (of yore, not todays) was plenty sporty, but it was also mad comfortable inside too.

I was disappointed by the GP's interior space. To the point where the previous GP seemed a little better, and much better in the back.
 

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Thought that these issues were fixed?...
 

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Originally posted by jfnz24@Jun 23 2004, 05:14 PM
Thought that these issues were fixed?...
The headroom can't really be fixed because GM tried to make a 4 door look like a coupe as much as possible and by doing that scarificed enough headroom that it made the car out of the question for people who are tall unless most of their height comes from their leggs.
 

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Maybe its just the lighting, but I love this interior color scheme -- looks like an up-trim Opel.
 

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I can't see really why anyone is bothered by the headroom in the rear seats? I mean who really sits there, and for how long? Childrens or the occasional mother in law: they don't need that much headroom. Is not like in a Bentley where the big kahuna sits there...
 

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I'm not small at all, but my point was: I, as a car owner I will never sit there...
I'm really curious as who REALLY needs bigger rear seats: if someone plans to carry around all the time big fellas in the rear, maybe he should consider a car with more pillowy float to begin with: can you say buick lesabre?
 

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I did not intend to buy a 04 GTP Comp G but am very glad to have it now. We had an 1997 SSEI 40Th anniversery Bonnie. It was a good car just not sporty and felt bigger than it was.

The GP drives and handles great, ride is firm but not harsh. For a front driver it handles the power well but I still will be happy for a RWD in the future.

As for the interior the seats are great up front back are average, not as bad as some make them out to be. Cup holders who cares, it keep people from drinking in my car and that is fine with me. You want cup holders buy a mini van.

The dash is laid out well but the painted silver panels around the shifter look cheap they need to be made of real aluminum to look right.

Price is the best part, when you can get a $32,000 car for $23,728 that makes this car a major value.

On mods the sky is the limit. On ClubGP.com guys are turning 12 and 11 sec 1/4 miles with rockers, pulleys, exhaust, headers, etc. With only a PCM change you can do 13's. The only weak spot is the tranny, the PCM responds to the timing being stepped back at the shift points to prevent warranty Issues.

I have to sum up this car as what many magazines have called it the best handling FWD sedan in America. Just some minor interior upgrades would make a differance.

On space on the inside, I am 5' 11" and I fit with room to spare. This is a sport sedan not an Park Ave it just not a car for everyone. It is not my faters Oldsmobile. As for room for cargo, I can carry a 9' ladder at 143 mph with the trunk shut, so it works for me.

To sum this up I was ok with this car when we bought it [the wife like it].
Now the longer whe have it the more I love it. Also the build quality is the best I have ever had from GM To this point no defects or flaw of any kind and paint with out any flaws. Dollar for dollar this is a best buy.

Only some minor things I would change, but I would buy this car again in a heart beat. It should last me till the new RWD GP arrives.
 
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