Pontiac Sunfire

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Pontiac Sunfire
2003-2005 Pontiac Sunfire.jpg
Manufacturer Pontiac (General Motors)
Production 1995–2005
Assembly Lansing, Michigan, United States (convertible only)
Lordstown, Ohio, United States
Ramos Arizpe, Mexico
Body and chassis
Class Compact
Body style 2-door convertible
2-door coupe
4-door sedan
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform J-body
Related Chevrolet Cavalier
Engine 2.2 L 2200 I4
2.2 L Ecotec L61 I4
2.3 L Quad 4 I4
2.4 L LD9 I4
Transmission 5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 104.1 in (2,644 mm)
Length 1995–97 Sedan & 2000–05 Coupe: 182 in (4,623 mm)
1998–99 Sedan: 181.7 in (4,615 mm)
1995–99 Coupe & Convertible: 181.9 in (4,620 mm)
2000–02 Sedan: 181.8 in (4,618 mm)
2003–05 Sedan: 183.2 in (4,653 mm)
Width Convertible & 1995–97 Coupe: 67.4 in (1,712 mm)
1995–97 Sedan: 67.3 in (1,709 mm)
1998–2005 Coupe & Convertible: 68.4 in (1,737 mm)
Sedan: 67.9 in (1,725 mm)
Height 1998–2005 Coupe: 53 in (1,346 mm)
1998–2005 Sedan: 54.7 in (1,389 mm)
1998–2005 Convertible: 53.7 in (1,364 mm)
1995–97 Coupe: 53.2 in (1,351 mm)
1995–97 Sedan: 54.8 in (1,392 mm)
1995–97 Convertible: 51.9 in (1,318 mm)
Curb weight 2,605 lb (1,182 kg)
Predecessor Pontiac Sunbird
Successor Pontiac G5

The Pontiac Sunfire is an automobile that was introduced for the 1995 model year by Pontiac as the compact car to replace the Sunbird. Not only was the name changed, but dramatic styling changes were included as well. The new styling was shared with the redesigned Chevrolet Cavalier. Along with the fresh new look the J platform was updated structurally to meet more stringent safety standards for the 1996 model year.

The Sunfire could be purchased as a sedan, coupe, or convertible. All three variations came in the standard SE trim level. An upscale GT trim level was available on the coupe and convertible. The GT trim level came standard with the 2.3 litre LD2 engine in 1995 or the 2.4 litre LD9 "Twin Cam" engine (1996–2002), 16-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust, and a more aggressive looking front fascia. The SE trim was the standard for the Sunfire which included the 2.2 litre 2200 OHV Engine. The 2.3/2.4 DOHC Engine was optional. Both the SE and GT trim levels were dropped after the 2002 model year, along with the 2.2 OHV and 2.4 DOHC engines. The 2.2 litre Ecotec was the only available engine as of the 2003 model year.[1]

Originally the convertible was only in the SE trim level until the 1999 model year where it became only available in the GT trim. The convertible was discontinued after the year 2000. All Sunfire convertibles were assembled at the "Genesis" Lansing, Michigan Plant.[1]

At one point, Pontiac had a "special" trim model of the Sunfire available called the Sunfire AF, for "Absolutely Free", available exclusively on its website. The Sunfire AF was really a print-out of making a paper scale model Sunfire, customized with different colors, wheels, and other trim packages, although it was promoted as an actual model by Pontiac. In the years before 3D printing, the Sunfire AF had to be printed from a traditional printer and folded together by hand.[citation needed]

The Pontiac Sunfire went through two facelifts in its 11-year run. Once in 2000 which was a small redesign featuring the heavy plastic cladding look that was prevalent with Pontiac at the time, and more streamlined update in 2003. In the US, the coupe was the only model available from 2003 to 2005. The sedan continued to be sold in Canada and Mexico until the end of production on June 22, 2005. GM replaced the Sunfire with the G5 for the 2006 model year in Canada and the 2007 model year in the United States.


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Sunfire a Poor rating in its frontal crash test.[2]

2004 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Crash Test Ratings (coupe):[3]

Frontal Driver: 4/5 stars

Frontal Passenger: 4/5 stars

Side Driver: 1/5 stars

Side Rear Passenger: 2/5 stars

Rollover: 4/5 stars

2002 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Crash Test Ratings (sedan):[4]

Frontal Driver: 4/5 stars

Frontal Passenger: 4/5 stars

Side Driver: 1/5 stars

Side Rear Passenger: 3/5 stars

Rollover: 4/5 stars


2003 Pontiac Sunfire Ecotec engine
1997 Pontiac Sunfire Twin Cam engine
  • 1995 – 2.3 L (138 cu in) Quad 4 (RPO: LD2) I4, 150 hp (116 kW) and 150 lb·ft (203 N·m)
  • 1995–1997 – 2.2 L (134 cu in) 2200 (RPO: LN2) I4, 120 hp (89 kW) and 130 lb·ft (176 N·m)
  • 1998–2002 – 2.2 L (134 cu in) 2200 (RPO: LN2) I4, 115 hp (86 kW) and 135 lb·ft (183 N·m)
  • 1996–2002 – 2.4 L (146 cu in) Twin Cam (RPO: LD9) I4, 150 hp (112 kW) and 155 lb·ft (210 N·m)
  • 2002–2005 – 2.2 L (134 cu in) Ecotec (RPO: L61) I4, 140 hp (104 kW) and 150 lb·ft (203 N·m)

The base model had the 2.2 L engine from 1995 until 2002. The GT trim level had an optional, much more powerful 2.3 L Quad 4 engine in 1995, which was replaced by the 2.4 L LD9 engine in 1996. The 2.3 and 2.4 litre engines were optional in the 2 and 4 door LS trim level. In 2003, both the 2.2 L and the 2.4 L engines were replaced by the 2.2 L Ecotec engine, and would be the only powertrain available for the remainder of production. The Ecotec engine was also an option for the 2002 model year.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Pontiac Sunfire Review". Edmunds.com. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  2. ^ "IIHS-HLDI: Chevrolet Cavalier". Iihs.org. 2005-09-29. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ [2][dead link]
  5. ^ "2002 Pontiac Sunfire Review, Prices, Photos". New Car Test Drive. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 

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