Pontiac For 1997
By Carey Russ
Wide Track is back! The new 1997 Grand Prix brings back the Pontiac styling theme from the 1960s. And the new Trans Sport minivan brings Pontiac excitement to the minivan masses.
Style and performance are Pontiac's stock in trade, and the all-new Grand Prix has plenty of both. Its aggressive "Wide Track" stance harkens back to the classic muscle car era of the 1960s, but it has contemporary balanced performance and handling with a new, stiffer chassis with fully- independent suspension and 4-wheel disc brakes. Which is not to say that power is sacrificed - a 240-horsepower supercharged 3800 Series II V6 tops the engine choice. Also available are the 195-horsepower atmospheric 3800 Series II and the 160-horse 3.1-liter V6.
Both coupe and sedan styles of this midsized car share the same low-profile roofline. Sedans are offered in SE or GT trim, and the coupe in GT trim. The high-performance GTP package is available on GT models.
The name may be familiar, but the 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport minivan shares little with its predecessors. Being a Pontiac, sportiness is part of the design. Aggressive body cladding and large round fog lamps give it Pontiac style.
Regular and extended wheelbase models of the 1997 Trans Sport are offered in three exterior appearance packages - Monotone, Two-Tone, and Montana. The Montana package has the popular sport-utility look, and special suspension and interior appointments. Extended-wheelbase models have an optional driver's-side sliding door and power-operated passenger- side sliding door.
Interior versatility is important for minivans, and the Trans Sport has five different seating configurations. Second and third row seats can be flipped and folded or easily removed for different cargo or passenger situations. Up to 17 cupholders add to convenience.
Power is delivered to the front wheels by a 3.4-liter V6 engine and 4-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission.
The WS6 Ram-Air induction previously available only on Firebird Formula and Trans Am coupes is now offered on convertibles as well. This performance package boosts V8 power to a healthy 305 horses, and includes a special hood and wheels. WS6-equipped coupes have a stiffer suspension.
The W68 sport and appearance package for V6 Firebirds, introduced in mid-1996, continues. Both V6 and V8 models have new interior features, including standard air conditioning.
Pontiac's luxury sedan is powered by the 3800 Series II V6 engine in normally-aspirated and supercharged form. Supercharged models get an new transmission this year.
The best-seller of the Pontiac lineup now includes air conditioning as standard equipment on all models.
The smallest Pontiac is sold in coupe, sedan, and convertible styles. Convertibles get an new 4-speed automatic transmission this year.