2003 Pontiac Bonneville

  • 2003 Pontiac Bonneville SE Sedan
    • MAX MPG
      29
    • SEATS
      5
    • HP/TORQUE
      205/225
    • ENGINE
      3.8L V6
    • MSRP
      $26,695
  • 2003 Pontiac Bonneville SLE Sedan
    • MAX MPG
      29
    • SEATS
      5
    • HP/TORQUE
      205/225
    • ENGINE
      3.8L V6
    • MSRP
      $29,670
  • 2003 Pontiac Bonneville SSEi Sedan
    • MAX MPG
      27
    • SEATS
      5
    • HP/TORQUE
      240/280
    • ENGINE
      3.8L V6
    • MSRP
      $34,020
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2003 Pontiac Bonneville Review

Surprisingly viable luxury sedan option for the right buyer.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The 2003 Pontiac Bonneville sedan is billed as ""luxury with attitude,"" and it's a decent sport sedan for the price. It doesn’t manage the combination of luxury and performance like a Mercedes-Benz nor will it offer driving thrills on par with a BMW. In its own right, it has a respectable amount of features, solid performance, a decent ride, and some affordability for its class. But there are better choices for sports sedans out there, so prospective buyers should at least check out the competition before making a purchase.

The Range

Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 3.8-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed-automatic
Models: Bonneville SE, Bonneville SLE, Bonneville SSEi

What's New

The 2003 Pontiac Bonneville sees only a few small changes. The SE features newly-styled 16-inch steel wheels and a standard AM/FM radio with a CD stereo, while all models can be upgraded with optional XM Satellite Radio. Side airbags are no longer standard equipment but are available as an option for SE and SLE.

Exterior

The 2003 Pontiac Bonneville sedan is offered in three trim levels: SE, SLE, and SSEi. The SE has 16-inch steel wheels, power door mirrors, front fog lights, and low tire pressure warning. The SLE adds a spoiler, dual exhaust, heated mirrors, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The SSEi upgrades to a more powerful engine.

Interior

Inside, the 2003 Pontiac Bonneville SE starts off with air-conditioning, cruise control, power windows, remote keyless entry, AM/FM radio with a CD player, and a power driver seat. The SLE adds OnStar, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, steering wheel mounted audio controls, and leather trim for the steering wheel. The SSEi includes leather upholstery, leather trim on the shift knob, power passenger seat, and automatic temperature control. Most of the SSEi features can be added to other trims as stand-alone options. A head-up display and remote CD player are options for the SSEi only. Options available for all trims include a power moonroof, heated front seats, and a garage door transmitter.

The 2003 Pontiac Bonneville's cabin is certainly that of a luxury sports sedan, but not up to European rivals. It is comfortable and spacious with an ergonomic layout, but the material quality is average, and the cabin not quite luxurious.

Performance & Handling

The 2003 Pontiac Bonneville SE and SLE sedans make use of a 205-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 engine that produces 230 lb-ft of torque and is used in many GM automobiles. The SSEi model gets a supercharged version of that engine, upping the output to 240 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. All trim levels use a four-speed automatic transmission and are front-wheel drive. The SE and SLE offers respectable acceleration that can handle most traffic situations. The SSEi with its supercharged engine runs the zero-to-60-mph sprint in a respectable seven seconds. The automatic gearbox shifts smoothly and handles power well.

The 2003 Pontiac Bonneville handling is balanced and even composed for all of the models, but the SLE and SSEi do a better job and feel sharper. The SSEi does suffer from torque steer, probably due to the increase in engine power over other models. The brakes could modulate better and need more than average effort, although it does the job well enough. While the ride is comfortable, the SE is the least performance oriented and thus offers the most posh ride. However, the noise and wind level get to be unacceptable over bumps and on the highway.

Safety

The 2003 Pontiac Bonneville's safety equipment really depends on the trim level chosen. All models feature anti-lock brakes and LATCH child-safety seat tethers as standard gear. The SLE and SSEi have standard traction control, while it is optional for the SE. Side-impact airbags are only standard for the SSEi and an option for other models. The SSEi also comes standard with GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability system and Magnasteer, but these features are not even available for the SE and SLE trim levels.

The 2003 Pontiac Bonneville earned a full five stars for passenger and rollover safety and four stars in all of the other tests conducted by the NHTSA. In IIHS testing, it didn’t do quite as well receiving the lowest score of ""poor"" for rear crash/head restraint safety but gets the highest score of ""good"" for frontal offset crash safety.

EPA Fuel Economy

Pontiac Bonneville SE: 17/27 mpg city/highway
Pontiac Bonneville SLE: 17/27 mpg city/highway
Pontiac Bonneville SSEi: 16/25 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Trunk space
  • Crash test scores
  • Lots of great features
  • Good powertrain
  • Solid handling

You Won't Like

  • Low resale value
  • Annoying controls
  • Interior materials don’t belong in car of this class

Sum Up

Surprisingly viable luxury sedan option for the right buyer.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Buick Park Avenue
  • Oldsmobile Aurora
  • Lexus ES 300
  • Infiniti G35
  • Saab 9-5
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