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The 2004 Grand Prix has an exterior look that combines classic lines with an aggressive stance.
Fold the front and rear seats and Grand Prix releases its nine-foot long storage capacity.
Large instruments dominate the instrument panel on the 2004 Grand Prix.
2004 Pontiac Grand Prix Road Test
The 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix shows GM's paying attention to driver desires.
By Bill Roebuck
When many drivers think of Pontiac, they think of heavy cladding and plasticky interiors. But no more, says GM, and it proves it with the Pontiac Grand Prix, redesigned for 2004. The sporty, four-door, front-wheel drive sedan will be showing up in dealer showrooms shortly.
GM began assembling the first new Grand Prix models back in February at its Oshawa Car Assembly Plant 2. That facility was rated as the top quality plant in North and South America in 2002 in a J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study.
The design isn't significantly changed from previous years, although the wide plastic side cladding of old is gone. The new look is more like a refreshing than a complete redesign, even though GM claims the car is 80% new. It actually takes a side-by-side comparison to easily notice the differences between the 2003 and 2004 models. It's most dramatic at the front end, with larger headlight modules and enormous fog lamps that remind you of wide-set owl eyes.
The Grand Prix comes in three versions, the 200-hp GT, the supercharged 260-hp GTP and the GTP Comp Group. Each is powered by GM's 3.8-litre 3800 Series II V6 engines. The Competition Group package includes StabiliTrak Sport yaw control, firmer chassis tuning, Magnasteer II steering, better tires, 17-in. wheels (vs. 16 in.), and has cool paddle shifters on the steering wheel (to manually force the four-speed automatic to shift up or down.
Hard acceleration in the GTP Comp G we tested produced a nice exhaust roar. There's even a subtle rumble from the twin exhaust pipes when the car is idling. Slamming on the brakes brings the Grand Prix to a stop quickly and smoothly.
The appearance is aggressive and sporty, yet clean and classy. The rear window of this five-passenger sedan slings back coupe-like to a very short trunk. But here the design presents an illusion. Open the big trunk lid and you'll find plenty of space -- 453 litres (16 cu ft). Not only does the split rear seat fold, so does the front passenger seat. It means you can fit in long items such as skis or even a nine-foot-long plastic kayak; we watched them do it. The rear seats don't fold completely flat, but come pretty close.
The trunk opening is almost 10 in. wider than before, with a lower lift-over height. Another tribute to space is rear doors that open really wide, almost 90 degrees. Despite the coupe styling, I was able to get into the rear seat comfortably, though I expect anyone close to 6 ft tall wouldn't be happy back there.
Up front, the leather-clad seats are easy-chair comfortable, yet supportive. The layout of instruments and controls appears well thought-out. Many of the controls have been rubberized to give them a soft feel. Most of the surfaces are matte instead of shiny.
"We've taken North America's favourite midsize performance sedan and raised the bar," says Peter Bannon, director of vehicle marketing for General Motors of Canada. "Grand Prix has always been a breakthrough car for Pontiac. The '97 Grand Prix broke the mold by bringing coupe styling to the sedan market, and by setting new benchmarks in handling with its Wide Track system. With its muscular styling and emphasis on total performance, the 2004 Grand Prix is an ideal choice for those who are truly passionate about driving."
Our test GTP model carried a base price of $34,475 and the Comp G package added $2,215, Other options such as leather seats, glass sunroof and a premium audio package with a six-disk, in-dash CD player, brought the total to $40,115. For the money, you also get the OnStar communications system, roadside assistance, all the usual power options, traction control, head-up display and an enhanced driver information centre.
Despite the mild change in design, for those who know Pontiac, the differences between old and new - inside, outside and on the road -- should appear significant
© Copyright Bill Roebuck, CarTest.ca 2004.
New-look 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix revealed
By Bill Roebuck
Sept. 26, 2002 -- General Motors of Canada has previewed the next generation of its midsize performance sedan -- the 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix.
While the new look retains the overall appearance of the current generation of the Grand Prix, several enhancements have been made to the design.
Most noticeable is a cleaner look, with no lower body cladding. The trunk opening is almost 10 in. wider than before, with a lower liftover height. Fold-down rear and front passenger seats offer versatile cargo capacity, conjuring up the term SUS or sport utility sedan. To demonstrate its capacity at the vehicle's unveiling at GM's Oshawa Assembly plant, staff placed a 9-ft-long plastic kayak into the car through the trunk and closed all the doors.
Peter Bannon, director of vehicle marketing for General Motors of Canada said, "We've taken North America's favorite midsize performance sedan and raised the bar. Grand Prix has always been a breakthrough car for Pontiac. The '97 Grand Prix broke the mold by bringing coupe styling to the sedan market, and by setting new benchmarks in handling with its Wide Track system. With its muscular styling and emphasis on total performance, the 2004 Grand Prix is an ideal choice for those who are truly passionate about driving."
Simon Boag, plant manager at the Oshawa Car Assembly Plants said, "GM's Oshawa Car Assembly Plants are setting the standard for quality in this industry. With achievements like this and Pontiac's performance heritage, the new Grand Prix is destined for success."
GM will assemble the Grand Prix at Oshawa Car Assembly Plant #2, which was rated as the top quality plant in North and South America in the 2002 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study. The 2004 Grand Prix will arrive at Canadian dealerships in Spring of 2003.
The 2004 Grand Prix demonstrates Pontiac's 21st century contemporary design direction. "What began with the sleek design of the 2003 Vibe and Solstice concept car can now be seen in this Grand Prix," said Bannon. The car's smooth, "Coke-bottle" sides extend into twin-port grilles with a two-tone lower fascia. Upfront, the large, aggressive driving and park/turn lamps accentuate the car's "wide track" stance.
© Copyright Bill Roebuck, CarTest.ca 2002.