Pontiac Sunfire

Pontiac introduced the Sunfire in 1995 as a no-frills vehicle for buyers on a tight budget. It remained in production until 2005. During this 10-year span, Pontiac only released one generation. Without upgrades, the car quickly fell behind other economically-priced vehicles. In fact, other budget vehicles began to offer extensively better features during the 2000s. This put the Pontiac Sunfire at a big disadvantage, which eventually led to its demise.

When originally introduced, the Pontiac Sunfire was available as a coupe, convertible, or sedan. Pontiac eliminated the convertible in 2001 and the sedan in 2003. There have been various trim levels throughout the car's history, but all of them focused on putting value ahead of features.

More on the Pontiac Sunfire
About the Pontiac Sunfire

The Pontiac Sunfire is primarily known for its affordable price. Later models were often noted for offering a few exceptional features from the Lexus line. Unfortunately, performance was never the Sunfire's strong point.

When it comes to safety, the 2005 Pontiac Sunfire should give contemporary drivers pause. Today's drivers expect excellent crash ratings and anti-lock brakes to keep them and their families safe on the road. The Sunfire, however, skimped on these features. The Sunfire never performed well in front- and side-impact tests. Also, anti-lock brakes were not standard on the 2005 Sunfire. The car does, however, come standard with airbags at both trim levels. Notable options for the 2005 Sunfire also included OnStar service and a sunroof.

Pontiac Sunfire Features

The 2005 Pontiac Sunfire came in two trim levels: Special Value and Base. It certainly seems odd to offer a ?Special Value? trim level, which was lower than the Base level, since most vehicles start at base. Special Value, however, was not added to the Sunfire lineup until 2004. Instead of renaming the introductory level Sunfire as its base, Pontiac chose to emphasize the vehicle's low price and no-frills options by labeling it Special Value.

Both the 2005 Sunfire Special Value and Base come with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine. This engine offered 150 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque, which is neither terrible nor exceptional within its class. After all, one can hardly expect to buy a high-performance vehicle at such a low price. The car's fuel efficiency is also mediocre without looking terrible. With 23/32 mpg city/highway, commuters could definitely do worse than the 2005 Pontiac Sunfire.

The 2005 Pontiac Sunfire's interior is about as lackluster as one could expect. The plastic seems incredibly cheap. While this might seem expected from a budget vehicle, many other cars around the same price have managed to look much nicer while offering superior features and performance.

Overall, the 2005 Pontiac Sunfire fails to stand out in any positive way. Buyers can find much better vehicles at approximately the same price. Since Pontiac did so little to upgrade the car throughout its life, buying a 2005 Sunfire is almost like buying a car from the 1990s. While they are not as old, they have similar technologies in the cabin and under the hood. Any buyer could do better by searching for alternatives within this price range.

Pontiac Sunfire Evolution

Pontiac did little to alter the Sunfire throughout its life. However, there were some changes worth noting. Before 1998, for instance, the Sunfire did not come standard with second-generation airbags. Also, after 2003, anti-lock brake systems were not standard on the Sunfire base models. Those made after 2003 do, however, have superior suspension to earlier models, so they offer a slightly better ride.

Buyers should also pay attention to the Sunfire engines. The original Sunfires came with one of two engines. Base models offered a 2.2-liter four-cylinder and GT versions came with a 2.4-liter inline-four. The inline-four offered more horsepower with 145 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque, compared to the 2.2-liter, which offered 120 hp and 130 lb-ft of torque. In 2003, Pontiac dropped both of the engines from the Sunfire line, choosing instead to include a 2.4-liter four-cylinder known as an Ecotec. It is the only engine available from 2003 until the end of the line.

Select a Pontiac Sunfire Year

2005 Pontiac Sunfire
ESTIMATED RESALE: $3,778

MPG
24-33
Seats
5

2004 Pontiac Sunfire

Compact, Coupe


With a gas efficiency of nearly 40 mpg, the 2004 Pontiac Sunfire is one of the more economical vehicles available.

ESTIMATED RESALE: $3,521

MPG
26-33
Seats
5

2003 Pontiac Sunfire

Compact, Coupe


The 2003 Pontiac Sunfire is the smallest and cheapest car from this maker.

ESTIMATED RESALE: $3,252

MPG
26-33
Seats
5

2002 Pontiac Sunfire

Compact, Coupe, Sedan


The 2002 Pontiac Sunfire is available as either a coupe or a sedan, and is quite a sporty looking little subcompact.

ESTIMATED RESALE: $2,895

MPG
23-33
Seats
5

2001 Pontiac Sunfire
ESTIMATED RESALE: $2,715

MPG
N/A
Seats
5

2000 Pontiac Sunfire

Compact, Convertible, Coupe, Sedan


The Pontiac Sunfire was the cheapest model in Pontiac’s 2000 model year lineup.

ESTIMATED RESALE: $2,535

MPG
22-34
Seats
5

1999 Pontiac Sunfire

Compact, Convertible, Coupe, Sedan


The 1999 Pontiac Sunfire has several things going for it: good value (as long as options are minimal), sporty styling, and decent performance with the upgraded 2.

ESTIMATED RESALE: $2,285

MPG
23-34
Seats
5

1998 Pontiac Sunfire

Compact, Convertible, Coupe, Sedan


The 1998 Pontiac Sunfire serves as a sporty vehicle that looks good but does not break the bank.

ESTIMATED RESALE: $2,135

MPG
23-34
Seats
5

1997 Pontiac Sunfire

Compact, Convertible, Coupe, Sedan


The 1997 Pontiac Sunfire is a compact car that was first introduced by the Pontiac division of General Motors as a replacement for the Sunbird.

ESTIMATED RESALE: $2,010

MPG
23-37
Seats
5

1996 Pontiac Sunfire

Compact, Convertible, Coupe, Sedan


The 1996 Pontiac Sunfire is a compact car that replaced the Sunbird and was introduced by General motors in 1995.

ESTIMATED RESALE: $1,860

MPG
22-36
Seats
5

1995 Pontiac Sunfire

Compact, Convertible, Coupe, Sedan


The 1995 Pontiac Sunfire is offered in two different models as a two-door coupe, convertible, or sedan.

ESTIMATED RESALE: $1,786

MPG
22-36
Seats
5

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