Pros: Cute, inexpensive car.
Cons: Noisy, tinny, lightweight.
On a recent trip to Las Vegas we rented at 2001 Pontiac Sunfire. My husband and I both drove it for 5 days and independently came to the same conclusion about this car which isn't terribly positive nor terribly negative. The car has its pros and cons.
This was not my first experience with a Pontiac. My daughter drove a Firebird for about 1 year and although it was cute, I was glad when she sold it to drive a much older Nissan Maxima. I am not a fan of American cars but I do like some more than others. I dislike Fords and would not buy another Chevrolet truck. * I tried not to let my dislike of American cars interfere with my feelings about the Sunfire and they didnt. My feelings were just validated yet again in many areas.
In spite of the fact that it had less than 8,000 miles it drove like a much older car. I dont believe it was because it was a rental. With only 8,000 miles and looking in perfect condition, I would think it would drive like the new car it is.
It is a cute car just as the Firebird was. This one was equipped with a spoiler and being 2-door it was very sporty looking. Our car had optional air conditioning, optional tilt steering wheel, and optional automatic transmission. The basic car has very few bells and whistles; most features are optional.
The lights come on automatically which is a nice standard feature in this car.
Another really nice features is all the cup holders. Not are there the 2 in the front but when you open the middle arm it folds back to the rear and has 2 additional cup holders either for the back passengers or to give the front more holders.
It boasts an easy entry seat adjuster versus just a seat adjuster. This adjuster moves your seat forward and backward. Since they are both manual, not power, Im not sure what the advantage to the easy entry seat adjuster is. It was no easier than any other non-power seat adjuster I have ever used.
The easy entry feature automatically moves the seat on the passenger side forward when the person in the back pushes the seat forward in order to get out or to get in. That is nice because it gives the person a little extra room in an easy way. The problem with it, though, is that when the front seat passenger gets into the car it doesnt automatically lock back into place so I would have to move it back or forth until it was locked in place. If you dont do that, it can be very dangerous.
The rear seats fold down as one unit giving you more trunk space, which is good, because the trunk space isnt too bad but it isnt terrific. We were able to get two good size suitcases in the trunk with some effort.
This is a 5-passenger car and quite roomy for a compact so that is a plus. My friends sat in the back seat and were quite comfortable. There was room of another person and they had decent legroom. In general the car has good interior space. There is adequate headroom even for a taller driver, for example and nice legroom for the passenger.
The front seats go all the way down making it quite comfortable. I did find the space between the lever that put the seat back and the door to be quite narrow and someone with a large hand would have trouble squeezing their hand down to push on the lever making the front seat go back.
The car we drove was a 2.2 4-liter engine gets 22 miles to the gallon in the city and 33 on the highway.
You can trailer with this car but why anyone would is beyond me. I didnt feel as if I could tow a bicycle. Of course it would have to have a towing package but even with that I just dont feel the car is heavy enough to tow a boat or and RV, for example.
The car had Goodyear tires and the warranty is bumper to bumper for 4 years or 36,000 miles; corrosion is also 4 years or 36,000 miles and rust is covered through 6 years or 100,000 miles.
The car got us from points A to points B and we did a day of highway driving as well as a lot of street driving.
It is, in my opinion, a lightweight car that moved with the wind! It was creaky when turning and noisy in general.
It did stop well so I have no complaints about the brakes.
It was a 4 cylinder and that could account for the lack of pick up and to be fair it had as much pick up as any 4 cylinder automatic transmission car I have driven.
In summary, there are good points to this car and bad. I wish I could give it one star or five, but I can't, thus I am giving it three. It wasn't bad enough to warrant a two nor good enough to warrant a five. It maneuvered well enough and got us where we were going with no problems, but I think there are better cars for the money especially if you start adding extras such as the spoiler, sunroof and air-conditioning. The price listed below is for a basic Sunfire without these extras.
If you are interested in other car reviews, here are my links:
2000 Nissan Altima
2001 Chevy Malibu
2002 Chevy Prizm
1998 Dodge Ram Van
1996 Nissan Sentra
2001 Pontiac Sunfire
1999 Toyota Camry
2001 Hyunda Accent
1998 Chevy S-10 Pick
1999 BMW 323is
2002 Subaru Impreza
2000 Suzuki Swift
2001 Chevy Metro