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2003 Pontiac Sunfire Coupe

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San Francisco: This sharp little car is an appealing offering for the young, and first time car buyer. It’s 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 today’s 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.

Sunfire’s 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. Sunfire’s cat eye headlamps and new integrated turn signals are a nice touch. A five-passenger coupe, Sunfire’s 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 feel.

The rear seating is a 60/40 split arrangement with a trunk pass-through allowing for hauling bikes, skis and even 2X4’s. 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.

Total savings on the packages was $555 and that’s with a lot of goodies added. The bottom line is that the 2003 Pontiac Sunfire Coupe is a very nicely equipped sub compact car for under $20,000 that gets great gas mileage and looks very sharp in today’s automotive world. By Susan Frissell AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  An appealing car for the first time buyer
Topic:  2003 Pontiac Sunfire Coupe
Word Count:   615
Photo Caption:  2003 Pontiac Sunfire Coupe
Photo Credits:  Pontiac Internet Media
Series #:   2003 - 24

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