1997 Pontiac Grand AM
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1997 Pontiac Grand AM Review
Perfectly balanced style and power.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 1997 Grand Am is a best-selling car manufactured by General Motors under its Pontiac division. It's currently in its fourth generation and third separate production run. Introduced in 1973, it was built on the A platform. However, production stopped in 1975 for three years, and then stopped again at the end of the decade. The fourth generation began again in 1992 with a redesigned body and interior.
Engine: 2.4-liter I-4, 3.1-liter V-6
Transmission: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Pontiac Grand Am SE, Pontiac Grand Am GT
The Pontiac Grand Am received a significant facelift in the previous year and turned its attention to Trans Sport and Grand Prix launches. As a result, it remains mostly unchanged.
The 1997 Pontiac Grand Am carries forward the new look introduced last year. This new look includes a new front and rear fascia, side skirts, and a smoother and more aerodynamic look. It shares its platform with some older cars like the Oldsmobile Achieva, Chevrolet Corsica, and Buick Skylark. It has a wheelbase of 103.4 inches and an overall length of 186.9 inches. The age of the Grand Am is evident in its exterior design, but GM is able to make up for it by adding certain modern touches.
The 1997 Pontiac Grand Am's interior has always been its Achilles’ heel. The seats tend to be uncomfortable even though there are no complaints about space inside. Legroom and headroom abound in the front and back, but entry and exit tend to be a problem due to narrow doors. The instrument panel is large and easy to read, and controls for the radio and climate control system are easy for the driver to reach. Storage space is adequate, but the trunk lid opens up to 90 degrees, which makes the trunk more accessible. Overall, however, it has one of the dullest interiors in its segment.
Performance & Handling
The 1997 Pontiac Grand Am comes with a twin-cam 2.4-liter straight-four engine as a standard and can be mated to an automatic or manual gearbox. On the other hand, a 3.1-liter V-6 engine option can only be mated to an automatic transmission. Even though it's as smooth as the four-cylinder option, the latter is better in terms of fuel efficiency and provides more than enough acceleration for an interesting ride.
The 1997 Pontiac Grand Am still lags behind competitors such as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. The suspension on the base models absorbs most bumps and provides a fairly smooth ride but at the cost of increasing the body lean around corners. The straight-four engine can make a ruckus at high revs, but it's otherwise fun. Nevertheless, the ride quality doesn't really make a strong impression.
The 1997 Pontiac Grand Am comes with standard safety features such as anti-lock brakes on all four wheels, dual airbags, child-proof rear door locks, and daytime running lamps. A traction control system comes as an optional feature. It also receives a full five-star rating in terms of driver safety during frontal impact collision tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Meanwhile, passenger safety receives four out of five stars.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Great value for money
- Sporty image
- Peppy and energetic twin-cam engine
You Won't Like
- Outdated platform
- Uncomfortable seats
- Poor handling
Perfectly balanced style and power.
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