1996 Pontiac Grand AM
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1996 Pontiac Grand AM Review
A bestseller for a good reason.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 1996 Pontiac Grand Am categorizes a midsize car and later compact car manufactured by the Pontiac division of General Motors. The Grand Am debuted in 1973 as a mid-size car, but it did not see a continuous production run. The first run spanned from 1973 to 1975, and the second from 1978 to 1980.
Reintroduced in 1985 as a replacement for the Pontiac Phoenix, the Grand Am would soon become the best-selling car for Pontiac. In this production run the Grand Am sold as a compact car.
Engines: 3.1-liter V-6, 2.4-liter I-4
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Pontiac Grand Am SE, Pontiac Grand Am GT
The 1996 Pontiac Grand Am gets a new style and base engine. It also adds body-mounted seatbelts and dual airbags. The new look includes several changes to the exterior as well as to the interior of the car. The instrument panel looks entirely new, and traction control comes standard along with the automatic transmission.
The 1996 Grand Am receives a new front and rear fascia, along with restyled headlights and taillights, a restyled grille, and some other trim treatments. The overall styling change of the Grand Am gives it a more aggressive look than previous models did.
The 1996 Pontiac Grand Am has a wheelbase of 103.4 inches and an overall length of 187 inches. It measures 68.3 inches wide and 53.5 inches tall.
Some of the biggest changes in the 1996 Pontiac Grand Am show up inside, but it still seems quite spacious. The rear seats in particular offer lots of legroom because of the thin-line front seatbacks and a more vertically inclined rear seatback.
The Grand Am still has some drawbacks, though. Entry and exit into the sedan models proves a little difficult with the doors getting narrow at the bottom. On a positive note, the new instrument panel uses large gauges that look easy to read. The climate and radio controls also sit close to the driver and operate logically.
The trunk space available with the 1996 Pontiac Grand Am seems decent, and its usefulness improves by the fact that its lid can open up to a completely upright position. This makes it easier to load and unload bulky cargo.
Performance & Handling
The 1996 Pontiac Grand Am comes with a 3.1-liter V-6 engine that delivers 155 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 185 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm. A new 2.4-liter, twin-cam, four-cylinder engine that delivers 150 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 150 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm replaces the Quad OHC base engine from previous models.
The new base engine stands a far cry from the previous Quad OHC, which provides adequate acceleration but feels very rough and unrefined. This four-cylinder engine offers excellent acceleration, although it remains unrefined when compared to the V-6. The V-6 engine proves smoother and more powerful.
Both engines offer good fuel efficiency, but not as much as the engines used to power the Grand Am’s rivals. The ride seems fairly well controlled, with a modest amount of road grip around corners.
The 1996 Pontiac Grand Am earns a full five-star rating for driver safety and four out of five stars for passenger safety in frontal-impact tests conducted by the NHTSA.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Stable steering and handling
- Reasonable performance
- Good looks
- High safety scores
You Won't Like
- Noisy four-cylinder engine
- Difficult entry and exit at the rear
A bestseller for a good reason.
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