We have seen Pontiac's problem, and it isn't cladding. Although its 2004 Grand Prix appears scantily ribbed, it is still slavishly obeisant to Pontiac's past. The new Grand Prix rides into the sporty family segment on its laurels, a little underprepared for the competition. It uses the 1997 car's platform, and while the new car is a big improvement over the last, it is still a rehash. Critical gains in areas such as headlamps, engine, and structure can't mask that this car is a baby step toward greatness, not the quantum leap we were expecting. GM claims the car is 80 percent new. We'd say it's more like 20 percent old.
And in the intervening seven years since the last Grand Prix came out, the front-wheel-drive family sport-sedan category has changed dramatically, going from a few playersthe Grand Prix and the Nissan Maxima stand outto a fully rounded segment with offerings as competent and diverse as the Nissan Altima, the Volkswagen Passat, and the Mazda 6.
In light of this stepped-up competition, we confined our driving to the GTP Competition Group edition of the Grand Prix.... Read full article