2003 Pontiac Grand Prix SE 3.1L V6 4-Speed Auto:
Intro: I decided to buy a Grand Prix about 6 months ago as I needed a 4-door. After half a year with this car, I absolutely love it. It was originally a service loaner at a Pontiac dealer and has very low mileage, in fact only about 25,000 miles (40,000 kms) as of now. I also got it for a great price which makes it an even better deal. It comes fully loaded with such options as the 16 inch aluminum wheels, ABS and Enhanced Traction System or ETS, GM's traction control system.
I test drove a Grand Prix GT and a GTP and while those are faster (especially the GTP) you don't get as good of fuel economy as you would with the 3.1L V6. However, the 175 HP 3.1 gets basically the same performance as the 200 HP 3.8L V6 in the GT and has a great sound, especially exhaust (sounds like a V8!) and stays true to Pontiac's performance image.
I get about 20-25 MPG (Imperial) with about 98% city driving with medium/heavy throttle. I find I get more mileage with a tank than my former Alero coupe which had a very small tank.
The SE is not as firm as the GTP, but feels very solid, composed and firm on the road. There have been no squeaks and rattles and the chassis/structure feels very solid and well built compared to the Alero. My Alero didn't have squeaks or rattles either, but the structure does not feel as solid as the Grand Prix's.
The steering is just regular power steering and does not have the Magnasteer variable assist like the GT and GTP models but is quick and firm, but not too firm so it makes parking still easy. Brake pedal feel is firm and easy to modulate and the brakes grip really well, especially in panic stops. The ABS brakes are great and work with no drama. The ETS system is great in the snow/rain and bad terrain when you need traction and has been great with the odd winter weather we've been having in my city this winter. Throttle response is great, the pedal is firm and is one of the best out of all the cars I've driven. It gives you the right amount of power with every application and isn't too sensitive which is good when you have heavy feet like myself.
Quietness: There isn't too much road or wind noise, the only noise you hear is the engine which is only at RPM's higher than about 3500 RPM and has a nice, throaty sound. If you want quietness, buy a Buick or a Lexus, if you want performance and a great engine sound and exhaust note, buy a Pontiac.
The interior is not as stylish as the exterior but at night, the red lighting (a Pontiac trait) is sexy and emphasizes performance and is very visible, yet is easy on the eyes. Most controls are close to hand (except radio and HVAC is a little too far, but you get used to it) and the SmartStalk keeps away the clutter, is easy to use and the parking brake pedal also allows for lots of room for storage compared to cars that have a handbrake. I love the overhead console, it's really handy. The stereo is easy to use and the sound quality is excellent. I actually think the 6-speaker delco system is better than the 8-speaker monsoon setup in my Alero. The dual-zone climate control is great and more cars should have it standard, it's really convenient and doesn't cost much more to make.
Interior/Cargo room: Being that the Grand Prix is on the larger side of midsizers, it has lots of room for passengers and the seats are comfortable. There is lots of trunk space and the seats fold down for extra room like in most cars.
Overall: I really like the car and I'd recommend it in a heartbeat. I also liked its sister cars the Buick Regal and Chevy Impala, but those aren't as stylish as the Grand Prix and are more family cars than youthful, sporty sedans. If you're looking for a sedan but want the sportiness of a coupe, look at a Grand Prix.
2003Model and Options:
SE 3.1L V6