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1996 Pontiac Firebird

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1996 Pontiac Firebird Review

Sets the competition on fire.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1996 Pontiac Firebird is a muscle car that is built by a division of General Motors. It was introduced in 1967 with the Chevrolet Camaro, both of which shared the same platform. The launch was timed to coincide with the launch of the Mercury Cougar, which shared its platform with the popular Ford Mustang.

The classic Pontiac Firebird has been synonymous with performance, and every generation continued to deliver this stunningly since 1967. The 1996 model is one the last few muscle cars at present, but it changed a lot from the classic coke bottle styling of the 1960s and 1970s.

The Range

Body Styles: hatchback coupe, convertible
Engines: 5.7-liter V-8, 3.8-liter V-6
Transmissions: six-speed manual, four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Pontiac Firebird, Pontiac Firebird Formula, Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

What's New

The 1996 Pontiac Firebird introduces a base V-6 engine that produces 40 horsepower more than the previous engine did. The V-8 engine also gets some revisions for improved performance.

The 1996 Pontiac Firebird models with a V-6 engine get a 3800 Performance Package that gives them some of the features of the Trans Am and Formula models. This includes a limited-slip differential, four-wheel disc brakes, quicker steering, 16-inch wheels, and dual exhaust outlets.


The 1996 Pontiac Firebird has an incredibly sleek and beautiful exterior. The angular greenhouse lines blend perfectly with the soft, bulging sheet metal to make one of the most exquisite exteriors in the automotive market at present. However, the Trans Am version ruins some of the clean aesthetics of the base model. The spoilers, deck lid Batwing, aero skirting, and peek-a-boo driving lights effectively erase the simple but effective design.


The 1996 Pontiac Firebird is best suited for two people up front, even though it's meant to seat more. The low-slung cockpit blends style and function together in a very nice way. The rear bench is difficult to get into, even for children. Even space up front is compromised. A big hump on the floor cuts down on legroom for the passenger but not to the extent that it become inadequate. Cargo space in the trunk is decent enough but not as much as hoped. The overall quality and rigidity is much better than the previous few models.

Performance & Handling

The 1996 Pontiac Firebird comes with a 3.8-liter, V-6 engine that delivers 200 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque. An optional 5.7-liter, V-8 engine is available that delivers 285 horsepower. The new Ram Air option increases the output to 305 horsepower. With these figures, it comes as no surprise to find very few cars that can beat it in terms of performance. The most incredible part is that the base engine is not a big sacrifice of power either. The V-6 engine combined with manual transmission not only offers a lively performance, but also makes quite an everyday car.


The 1996 Pontiac Firebird received four out of five stars for driver safety and a full five-star rating for passenger safety during frontal impact tests conducted by the NHTSA.

EPA Fuel Economy

Pontiac Firebird: 17/25 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Powerful performance
  • Good steering/handling
  • Amazing good looks

You Won't Like

  • Poor fuel economy
  • Poor ride quality
  • Lack of rear seat room

Sum Up

Sets the competition on fire.

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