1997 Pontiac Bonneville Review

Pros & Cons

  • Full-size comfort, good value, excellent powertrains, can equip SE like go-faster SSEi for less
  • Dated overdone styling
List Price Estimate
$1,097 - $2,555

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Vehicle overview

If ever there was an American sedan that combined traditional full-size accouterments with European style and class, it is this edition of the Bonneville. Introduced in 1992, the Bonny competes with roomy offerings such as the Ford Taurus and Toyota Avalon, but kills the competition with full-sized seating for six, attractive styling and amazing performance capabilities for a big, front-drive four-door.

The Bonneville benefits from a powerful base engine; a 3800 Series II V6 that pumps out 205 horsepower and gets an amazing 29 miles per gallon on the highway. Optional is a 240-horsepower supercharged variant of the base V6. If you must have the supercharged engine but don't want all the goofy aero add-ons and wizardly doo-dads that come standard on the SSEi, you can get the blown motor in the base model. One stipulation exists, though; you've got to order the SLE package, which gives you some of the goodies that come with the SSE. Confused? Let's clarify the Bonneville roster.

Base model is the SE, and this is the only trim level to consider. Next up is the SSE, which is basically a sporty version of the SE. The SSEi is a package available on the SSE that includes the supercharged engine and flashy trim. Since everything you need to build a competent sport sedan is optional on the SE, we recommend you start there.

For example, an SE with the SLE package, performance suspension, CD player with premium sound, power moonroof, traction control and 16-inch alloy wheels easily runs less than thirty grand, and includes stuff like leather seats, antilock brakes, power everything and an anti-theft system. The Bonneville makes good economic sense, and doesn't punish you for spending less.

Pontiac carries the Bonneville over nearly intact for 1997. Supercharged models get a new electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. Order an SSE, and you can equip it with a new Delco/Bose premium audio system. The optional head-up display now has a motorized adjustment feature, and lap/shoulder belts are easier to release thanks to the relocation of the "eject" button to the end of the latch. Two new exterior colors debut, and interiors are newly available in Dark Pewter.

The Bonneville continues to provide excellent value for your full-size car dollars. If the Ford Taurus and Eagle Vision are a bit too loud for your tastes, the Euro-chic Bonneville SE should meet your requirements for a large, stylish and speedy sedan.

1997 Highlights

Changes for 1997 are few. Supercharged Bonnevilles get a new transmission, a new Delco/Bose premium sound system is optional on the SSE, and the EYE CUE heads-up display has a new motorized adjustment feature. Two new exterior colors, a new interior color and a new interior fabric visually liven up the aging Bonneville.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Pontiac Bonneville.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Sporty Look and Ride
Peachy,05/31/2005
Smooth ride, reliable car. Took a chance and bought used at 108K for $3K. Had to replace power steering pump and rack and pinion, because someone poured something in there. Cost $550. Relay switch burned out and interior fan would not cut off. Cost $125. Other than that..great car..good gas mileage and leather is holding up not too bad. Has a CD player and cup holder and back seat has a little fold out to put longer item in the trunk. It juts out into the back seat. Rear bumper paint worn, but all else good. Our color is plum. Driver side mirror loose, vibrates just a little. Dash lights are sporty red at night.
Jackpot
hosie,11/18/2004
My dear bonneville just crossed its 174000 mile mark. Not a single major repair since I owned it. I have driven this car for Boston to San Francisco and back. The most comfy ride ever. You can never go back to a smaller car once you have driven this. It gives me 26+ mpg. A no-fatigue drive. I have used and abused this car and it sure takes a beating. The car fits a 10 ft long piece of 2x4 lumber completely with the trunk closed. Highly recommended.
1997 Pontiac Bonny SE
hazenguy,05/02/2009
I bought my Bonny for a whopping $500. The guy thought the reverse was out on it, when their was no fluid in the trans. I put 3 qts in it, drove her home. My car has 268000 miles and looks great! Everything works on the car! I have tuned her up. She has been well maintained. I would recommend this car to anyone needing a good car on a budget. You can pick up a NICE one Cheap! The parts are common and there is alot of info on the "trouble spots" and "how to's" on the car. I usually would NOT buy a car with this mileage, BUT so far so good!!
Amazing car
BONNE FAN,04/19/2010
Absolutely amazing car especially the SLE with all the creature comforts. Steering Wheel radio controls and leather make this car extremely comfortable on the inside while the 205 HP V6 under the hood is more than enough to throw you back in your seat or squeal the tires. Overall it is a very good mixture between sport and luxury and in a 4 door package to make a sport luxury sedan. I have owned 4 of these cars over the last 12 years and I still have all of them if that isn't reliability IDK what is. These engine are bullet proof and currently I have 275,000 miles and still going on my car and it still runs like brand new no ticks or knocks or squeals or anything Best engine EVER!

Features & Specs

See all Used 1997 Pontiac Bonneville features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1997 Pontiac Bonneville

Used 1997 Pontiac Bonneville Overview

The Used 1997 Pontiac Bonneville is offered in the following submodels: Bonneville Sedan. Available styles include SE 4dr Sedan, SE 4dr Sedan w/Supercharger, SSE 4dr Sedan, and SSEi 4dr Sedan.

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Which used 1997 Pontiac Bonnevilles are available in my area?

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Pontiac Bonneville?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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