This sharp little car is an appealing offering for the young, and first time
car buyer. Its been around for some time now, but gets an update here and there,
just enough to keep it in the running in the crowded sub-compact category.
Starting out at just under $15,000 the Sunfire Coupe we test-drove
climbed up to the $20,000 mark, fast, with $4700 worth of options. Painted in Silver
Metallic with graphite color cloth interior, the Sunfire is a peppy, easy-to-drive
two-door car. One can haul three passengers, although room in the back seat is limited.
The 2.2-liter cylinder engine powering our Sunfire seems engine
enough for the get-up-and-go needed for entering the highway or keeping up with traffic.
And we really like the 24/33 miles-per-gallon rating, which in todays economy should
be a big selling point.
Pontiac first introduced the 2003 Sunfire Coupe at the 2002 Chicago
Auto Show. Dropping the sedan for 2003, Sunfire is now available in a single model with
three distinct groups: 1SA, 1SB, 1SC. Also added for 2003 are three new colors, available
OnStar communication system, three different tire sizes, three-point center rear seat
belt, available side airbags and four all-new wheels and wheel covers.
Sunfires front end has been redesigned for the 2003 model
year, and the rear styling revised. Still distinguishable, Pontiac has made enough
exterior changes on the Sunfire to indicate an up-to-date model. Sunfires cat eye
headlamps and new integrated turn signals are a nice touch. A five-passenger coupe,
Sunfires front seating fits a small driver well. The seats are plush and sit high
making it an easy car to handle. All controls are within easy reach and give off a sporty
The rear seating is a 60/40 split arrangement with a trunk
pass-through allowing for hauling bikes, skis and even 2X4s. This is a must for
coupes and sedans today with competition from the wagons, minivans and SUVs. People are so
used to having the space to carry their stuff. Believe it or not, there are some buyers
left who are still not interested in driving a large vehicle, prefer a two-door coupe, but
also would like to have a little extra room.
Our test Sunfire Coupe came equipped with one of three available
Preferred Equipment Packages: 1SC which includes the 4-speed automatic transmission,
performance suspension, larger 16-inch tires and 16-inch wheels, dual outlet exhaust, tilt
steering wheel, console cup holder, left and right hand vanity mirrors, easy entry seat,
front and rear floor mats, 4-wheel antilock brakes, controlled cycle wipers, security
package, cruise, convenience package, sport interior package, and XM Satellite ratio with
100 channels and coast-to-coast digital sound for $3,050.
Other options included were a Sun and Sound package (sunroof, power
glass, AM/FM stereo with compact disc, $675); Protection Package (side impact
airbags/driver and passenger, OnStar communication system, $780); Power Package (power
mirrors/windows, $380) and Monsoon premium audio system with 8 speakers and 200 watts of
audio power for $195.