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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. May it rest in peace.
Powerful V6, spectacular V8, true muscle-car performance at a bargain price.
Boy-racer-in-gold-chains image, cheesy interior plastic, V8 nets sky-high insurance rates.
Available Firebird Models
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Entering its last year of production, the Firebird gets few changes for 2002. Power mirrors and a power antenna are now standard on all models, and Bright Silver Metallic replaces Blue-Green Chameleon on the color palette.
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. Dual airbags and antilock brakes are standard, and the optional traction-control system can be ordered on all models. Additionally, convertible versions of the Firebird and the Trans Am (but not the Formula) are available, for a corresponding boost in price. Performance from the Corvette-derived LS1 V8 is nothing short of astounding, with its standard 310 horsepower providing enough grunt to get the Firebird to 60 mph in just over 5 seconds. Want even more? The WS6 performance package available on the T/A adds a ram-air induction hood good for 15 extra ponies, a dual-outlet exhaust system, power steering cooler and a specially tuned suspension that makes use of 275/40ZR17 high-performance tires to keep the Ram Air Firebird planted to the ground. 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, which 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 quicker steering. A slick-shifting five-speed manual transmission is standard on the V6.
With a world-class powertrain, hot-looking sheetmetal and a low base price, the Firebird leaves Mustangs wondering what hit them. Problem is, Ford's beloved pony car is pummeling Pontiac's performance flagship in dealer showrooms, leading GM to drop the axe on its once popular muscle car coupe. So if you've always wanted to get behind the wheel of this American icon, you better act fast.
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