Pontiac Bonnevilles???

Dmac77

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 2, 2008
2,165
2
Michigan
I was just wondering if anyone here has any experience with Pontiac Bonnevilles.

I've been looking for my first car (which has to be under $3500), and I ran across a listing for a '99 Bonneville SSE. It has ~117,000 miles on it; and it has a 3.8l V-6. A friend of mine has a '99 Buick Park Avenue, which from my understanding is pretty much the exact same car; it has ~95,000 miles on it and it rides like it is brand new. Also, my uncle had a Bonneville that ran for over 300,000 miles before it died on him, he swears that it is the best car he ever owned. Lastly, my Mom had a Grand Am from 1991 that lasted until 2002; everything died on that car at the same time though, she never had a problem with it until that time.

What are your general opinions of Bonnevilles or Pontiacs in general? Below is the link to the listing.

Thanks,

-Don

http://www.dunningtoyota.com/used/P...nneville-fb9d2d630a0a006501b5e410f2bfda69.htm
 

3lionsbecks

Suspended
Jul 19, 2010
607
119
Ontario, Canada
Bonnevilles are notorious for their electronics systems to fail regularly.


Also, do you really want to ask about Pontiac's reputation for quality? Obviously it isn't great or they wouldn't have almost gone bankrupt and needed to be bailed out by Ooooooobama.
 

Dmac77

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 2, 2008
2,165
2
Michigan
Bonnevilles are notorious for their electronics systems to fail regularly.


Also, do you really want to ask about Pontiac's reputation for quality? Obviously it isn't great or they wouldn't have almost gone bankrupt and needed to be bailed out by Ooooooobama.
I really don't want to get into the whole "all american cars are crap" debate. I know that isn't true. My family used to exclusively drive american cars, but we now exclusively drive Toyotas. We never had issues with any of the cars we bought from GM in the early to late 1990's. For some reason we started to by Chryslers which were all total lemons, hence why we switched to Toyota. Never had a problem with a GM car though.

I googled for Bonneville electrical issues, and yes they do seem to be fairly common. But I can't seem to find many issues for the 1999 and later model years. The majority of problems seem to be for the 1998 and earlier models.

-Don
 

steve2112

macrumors 68040
Feb 20, 2009
3,023
6
East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
The Bonneville is generally a pretty good platform, especially the 99 or so and later models. The 3.8L V6 is a very durable engine and generally run for a long time. I have a friend who owned two of these, one a 93 and the other a 99. The 93 had around 150k and the 99 had over 200k miles when he traded it in last year.

I do wonder if anything is wrong with that car. I ran a similar model in KBB, and it said around $5k was the retail price. Then again, I may have added some options that aren't on that car.
 

Dmac77

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 2, 2008
2,165
2
Michigan
Are you planning to pay for it in full? you work? (do not remember if you are in college or done).
I'm still in high school, and my grandparents are going to be buying a car for me. My parents are going to take care of insurance, and I do odd jobs for people in my neighborhood, and the money I make from that should suffice for gas.

The Bonneville is generally a pretty good platform, especially the 99 or so and later models. The 3.8L V6 is a very durable engine and generally run for a long time. I have a friend who owned two of these, one a 93 and the other a 99. The 93 had around 150k and the 99 had over 200k miles when he traded it in last year.

I do wonder if anything is wrong with that car. I ran a similar model in KBB, and it said around $5k was the retail price. Then again, I may have added some options that aren't on that car.
I was wondering the same thing, I looked at the KBB website, and it spit out the $5,000 estimate too. Either way, I'll have it looked at by a mechanic if I decide to go with this one.

-Don
 

huntnboy04

macrumors regular
Apr 11, 2007
160
5
MI, USA
I had a '99 Bonneville, was my favorite car, the only reason I don't have it now is because it got smashed 5 years ago, but I sold it to my cousin and he still drives it. I would recommend it. There is an issue with the 3800 motor and that is you have to replace the upper intake plenum, if you know someone good with cars it will take about $200 and a 2-3 hours. It may have already been done on a car with 117K. Other than that the 3800 motor is virtually bulletproof. Also steer clear of the SSEi Bonnie's, "i" is supercharged, thats what I've heard from a Pontiac mechanic.
 

Reventon

macrumors 6502
Jan 31, 2009
490
0
Toronto, ON
There's also another option. It's a '99 Camry LE with 180,000 miles:eek:

Even though it's a Toyota, the whole above 150,000 miles thing scares the crap out of me. Any advice for this one?

http://www.dunningtoyota.com/used/Toyota/1999-Toyota-Camry-7db80d950a0a000201a3310afe1099a6.htm

-Don
We had a 1993 Camry LE with around the same mileage (280,000km). It still ran perfectly fine then (until my mom crashed it). Toyota still made quality stuff at that time. It was around 2005 or so when Toyota's quality started to go downhill. We have a 2000 Camry LE with about 220,000km and it's been trouble free for the three years we've had it.
 

Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
May 7, 2004
13,723
2,761
Sod off
IF you like American mid-size FWD sedans, then the Bonneville is a decent car. On the upside, the 3.8L is/was one of GM's more reliable sixes, and the standard equipment levels are high. The appearance is sportier than the Chevy and Buick platform siblings, or the Taurus and Camry.

On the downside, fuel economy is poor, and handling will be less sharp than some other midsize sedans like the Accord or 626. The automatic transmission is a bit slow IMO.

The Camry looks remarkably clean given the mileage, but 180k is not extreme mileage for that car if properly cared for. If the dealer can produce maintenance records it might give you a better idea of the mechanical condition (this goes for the Bonneville too).

As with any used car that has over 100k miles on the clock, you should be prepared to budget for a couple major repairs in addition to the price of the car - at this age the engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, electrical systems and body may all require significant attention in the near future. Don't expect a car of this age to run like a top for years without plenty of preventative maintenance and a repair or two.

My first car was an '86 Toyota pickup. Built like a tank, and it needed to be the way the teenage version of me drove it. :rolleyes:

Good luck with the purchase.
 
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