Full 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix Review
What's New for 2007
For the 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix, a tire-pressure monitoring system becomes standard and a couple of new wheel designs debut.
In the $20,000 to $30,000 midsize family sedan marketplace, the choices are plentiful. The age-old favorites of the class, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, are solid picks thanks to their high levels of refinement and overall quality. But some folks want their family wheels to have more pizzazz and performance -- maybe even some brash American attitude -- than those "appliance" cars. That's where the 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix comes in.
Bigger and more powerful than Pontiac's G6, the Grand Prix makes everyday driving entertaining thanks to brisk acceleration and competent handling. Each trim level has its own specific state of suspension and steering tune. The GXP even comes with a V8 engine, which is a rarity for this class of car. Alas, a big V8 and front-wheel drive are two qualities that don't typically go very well together. The GXP is cursed with torque steer (the tendency of a powerful front-driver to pull to one side under hard acceleration) and has too much weight in the nose to feel nimble through the curves. The GT, with its supercharged V6, is a more balanced performer and a better choice for the driving enthusiast.
For general use, the Grand Prix is competent but not much more. Inside, Pontiac has succeeded in creating a driver-oriented cockpit with materials that provide, at first glance, an upscale appearance. The actual quality of the materials is subpar, however, and the backseat isn't as roomy as the measurements for legroom and headroom might suggest.
Consumers who just want a powerful midsize sedan that's comfortable enough to drive to work during the week and roomy and sporty enough to take out a friend or two on the weekend might find the 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix to their liking. But given the car's shortcomings, you can probably tell that it wouldn't be our first choice. In this segment, you'll also want to check out the Grand Prix's main competitor, the rear-drive Dodge Charger, as well as import sedans like the Nissan Maxima and Volkswagen Passat.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix comes solely as a four-door sedan and is available in three trim levels -- base, GT and GXP. The base model comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, OnStar telematics, a CD player, cruise control, air-conditioning, power accessories and keyless entry. The GT adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, a remote vehicle starter and a trip computer. A Special Edition package, which features ground effects, body-color grille, bright exhaust tips and unique 17-inch alloys, is optional for the base and GT trims. The GXP features a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels with performance tires, an upscale audio system, heated front seats, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control and a head-up display. Most of these interior features are optional on the lower trims. All Grand Prixs can be ordered with the "Sun and Sound" Package that includes a sunroof and an in-dash six-disc CD changer. Other individual options include a navigation system and satellite radio.
Powertrains and Performance
Three engines serve duty in the front-wheel-drive Grand Prix. In the base model, a 3.8-liter V6 provides 200 horsepower and 230 pound-feet of torque. The GT has a supercharged version rated at 260 ponies and 280 lb-ft of torque. The 5.3-liter V8 in the GXP makes a healthy 303 hp and 323 lb-ft of torque. All engines come with a four-speed automatic transmission; the GXP has an automanual mode. Pontiac claims the GXP will run zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, but our testing resulted in a 6.7-second time -- with so much power going through the front wheels, a careful throttle foot is required. The GT makes more sense for the enthusiast. While still providing quick acceleration and strong passing power, the GT doesn't have as much torque steer and is rated at 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Those without a need for speed should be happy with the base V6, which earns fuel economy ratings of 20 mpg city/30 mpg highway while supplying peppy all-around performance.
A tire-pressure monitor is standard on all trims. Antilock brakes and traction control are optional on the base model and come standard on the GT and GXP. The GXP also has a stability control system. Front and rear side curtain airbags are optional on all models. In NHTSA crash testing, the 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix earned five stars (out of five) for its protection of the driver in head-on collisions. The front passenger position earned a four-star rating. In NHTSA's side impact tests, the Grand Prix scored three out of five stars (for front and rear occupants), but the car tested did not have side curtain airbags. In IIHS frontal-offset testing, the Grand Prix earned a "Good" rating, the highest out of four, while that agency's side impact testing (with side curtain airbags) resulted in a "Marginal" rating, the second lowest.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, there's a definite cockpit theme, as the center stack curves to meet the driver and the gauges and displays are all in red. Control layouts are simple and intuitive, even those for the trip computer. The front seats are broad and comfortable, though taller adults may find headroom limited. The backseat is cramped for adults and big kids due to the coupe-like roof line, low seating position and tight foot room. In-cabin stowage is minimal but at least there's plenty of cargo space thanks to a 16-cubic-foot trunk. For the occasional larger hauling job, the 60/40-split rear seats (and on the GXP, the front-passenger seat) fold flat, allowing long items to be carried within the car. That latter feature is optional on other trims as well.
On canyon roads, the 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix feels larger than most of its competitors, which is perhaps not much of a surprise when you consider that it's almost 10 inches longer than the Toyota Camry. In its favor, though, the Grand Prix is still fairly tight and tossable for a front-wheel-drive car. We are most impressed by the GT trim, as it strikes us as having the best balance of ride comfort and sporty handling dynamics. The steering has progressive weighting and a fair amount of road communication. The GXP, on the other hand, is not nearly as composed, as the heavy V8 in its nose blunts the ability of the car to turn in crisply and make quick transitions. In cruise mode, the V6 engines are noisier than those in more refined competitors, though fuel economy on long interstate drives is impressive.