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SEE ALSO:Pontiac Buyer's Guide

Grand Am is Pontiac's best selling nameplate and has recently become General Motors' best selling compact model. This sporty car has been upgraded for 1995. It comes in two body styles - a coupe and a four-door sedan - and two trim levels, SE and GT. Two engines and three transmissions are offered. Standard is a revamped 2.3 liter Quad 4, available with a choice of five-speed manual or three-speed or four-speed automatic transmissions. A recently revised 3.1-liter V6, equipped with the four-speed automatic, is an option. Our test car this week is a Grand Am SE coupe equipped with the 3.1-liter V6 engine and four-speed automatic transmission.

This broad combination of body styles, trim packages, and powertrains makes the Grand Am a favorite of families who want a civilized compact car with a sporty image. It is also popular with those folks who use rental cars in their business travels around the country. Since its introduction in 1985, the Grand Am has retained its popularity because of its appeal to a large group of automotive buyers. Pontiac continues to produce a Grand Am that offers smart distinctive styling, a positive driving experience, and good value.

An important factor in today's competitive automotive market is a customer care program with warranty and emergency roadside assistance. "Pontiac Cares" includes a 3 year/36,000-mile-no- deductible warranty, 24-hour emergency roadside assistance, and courtesy transportation.

APPEARANCE: The 1995 Grand Am SE coupe maintains its aggressive appearance with its rounded body, wide body-colored protective plastic side panels, low sloped hood and traditional Pontiac split grille. It has large black side mirrors. Its sporty image and potential are heightened by the optional rear spoiler and Goodyear Eagle GA Touring tires mounted on specially-styled 16-inch alloy wheels. Wide-opening doors offer easy access to the large four-passenger cabin. All windows are trimmed in black, and thin stainless steel strips highlight the side windows and side body protectors.

COMFORT: The Grand Am SE Coupe has a basic, simple, and user-friendly interior. It is fitted with Rally analog instruments and comfortable manually-adjustable front bucket seats. All dials and controls are accessible, and are backlighted in red for easy use at night. Its AM, FM and cassette sound system has good fidelity and is easy to set and tune. Cabin temperature is well taken care of by the compact heater/air conditioner. Head and leg room is adequate for tall folks, and getting in and out of the back seat is made easier by wide-opening doors and the automatic slide-forward feature of the front passenger seat. The rear seats fold down when extra cargo space is needed. The front windows and door locks are powered, but the side mirrors must be set by hand. A rear defogger keeps that window clear. Its large flat trunk has low liftover for ease of loading and unloading.

SAFETY: The Grand Am features four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, driver's-side air bag, automatic unlock and relock of the power door locks, three-point seat belts and an energy absorbing steering column.

ROADABILITY: For 1995 the Grand Am's suspension has been revised to deliver better ride and handling. While the SE's ride is still on the firm side, it has the advantage of less body lean on turns and better driving control. The redesigned rear suspension and optional Goodyear Eagle GA 205/55R16 all-season touring tires provide good control for positive traction on most road surfaces and make the Grand Am fun to drive.

PERFORMANCE: The optional 3.1 liter, overhead valve, sequential port fuel-injected V6 was added last year for those drivers who desired added torque and power over the standard Quad Four. The V6 produces 155 smooth horsepower along with 185 pound feet of torque delivered to the front wheels via an updated four-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission with computerized shift control for precise upshifts and downshifts. This combination assures good power for all normal merging and passing situations, as well as for controlled maneuvering over twisty mountain roads and in interstate traffic.

CONCLUSIONS: The newest Grand Am clearly demonstrates that Pontiac is continuing to "build excitement" into its models. It also illustrates that an American-built sporty compact front-wheel drive coupe can effectively compete in both performance and price in the world-wide automotive market.


           Base Price              $ 12,904
           Price As Tested         $ 17,232
           Engine Type             V-6, ohv - pushrod, spfi*
           Engine Size             3.1 liter/191 cid   
           Horsepower              155 @ 5200
           Torque (ft/lbs)         185 @ 4000
           Wheelbase/Length        103"/187"  
           Transmission            4-speed automatic w/od
           Curb Weight             2840
           Pounds per Horsepower   18  
           Fuel Capacity           15
           Fuel Requirement        Unleaded regular  (87 octane)
           Tires                   Goodyear Eagle GA  P205/55R16 all-season
           Brakes                  anti-lock standard   vented disc/drum
           Drive Train             front engine,  front drive
           * - Sequential-port fuel injection
           EPA Economy - miles per gallon,        
             city/highway/observed          22/29/23.4  
           0 to 60 mph                      9.3
           1/4 mi (E.T.)                    16.8 sec           
           Coefficient of drag (cd)         .33