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Although were not thrilled by the cheap plastic interior and poor visibility, the Firebird never fails to serve up plenty of cheap tire-smokin' fun.
Powerful V6, spectacular V8, true muscle-car performance at bargain price.
Boy-racer-in-gold-chains image, cheesy interior plastic, V8 nets sky-high insurance rates.
Available Firebird Models
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New wheels, exterior and interior colors and engine revisions for improved emissions and better throttle response on manual transmission-equipped cars top the list of Firebird changes for 2000.
The Pontiac Firebird is a car meant to convey sex appeal. Its blend of angular greenhouse lines and softly bulging sheetmetal creates the automotive equivalent of a supermodel in a silk nightgown. Unfortunately, the bespoilered Trans Am (with its aero skirting, decklid "batwing" and louvered side scoops) ruins the effect. Not to worry; the midlevel Formula provides all of the T/A's hardware and go-fast goodies in a more restrained-looking, lighter, less-costly package.
The Firebird's cockpit is a futuristic blend of style and function, and is better executed than that of its corporate twin, the Chevrolet Camaro. Dual airbags and antilock brakes are standard, and the optional traction-control system can be ordered on all models. Additionally, convertible versions of Firebird and Trans Am are available (but not as a Formula), for a corresponding boost in price.
Performance from the Corvette-derived LS1 V8 is nothing short of astounding, providing enough grunt to get the Firebird to 60 mph faster than your 10-year-old can get to 40 yards. The pushrod 5.7-liter that comes standard on Formula and Trans Am makes 305 horsepower, and a more-important 335 foot-pounds of tire-blistering torque. Want even more? A Ram Air WS6 performance and handling package for the Formula Coupes and T/A is available, featuring twin hood scoops that force cool air into the engine, resulting in 15 extra ponies. WS6 suspension tuning and 275/40ZR-17 rubber keep the Ram Air Firebird planted to the ground, while a dual-outlet exhaust system is the last thing most poor souls trying to catch you will see.
All V8 models come standard with a four-speed automatic transmission; a six-speed manual is a no-cost option. Base Firebirds are powered by a 3800 Series II V6 that makes a peppy 200 horsepower, and can be optioned with a performance package of their own. This "insurance special" includes bigger tires, a limited-slip differential, dual exhaust and uplevel steering. A slick-shifting five-speed manual transmission is standard on the V6.
With world-class powertrains and hot-looking sheetmetal at a low base price, the Firebird fries Ford's Mustang, not only at the stoplight but also at the racetrack. Problem is, Ford's beloved pony car, freshened last year, is pummeling Pontiac's performance flagship in dealer showrooms, outselling this GM F-body at better than a 3-to-1 clip. While Mustang's packaging and refinement may have earned it a wider audience, Firebird wears its modern-day muscle-car crown well.
If this powerful pony car legend has been on your wish list for a while, the time to act is now. The current F-body's days are numbered. If the Camaro/Firebird nameplates live on into the new millennium, look for them to be reborn in a vastly different form on an all-new platform.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.