1998 Pontiac Firebird Review

Used Firebird for sale
List Price Estimate:$1,093 - $2,542
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Pontiac Firebird model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Astounding bang for the buck factor, better styling than Camaro.
  • Gold chains image, crappy interior plastic

Vehicle overview

Except for a small period of history during the early '80s, Firebird has been synonymous with performance since 1967. When considering top Firebirds from the past, the blue-striped Trans Am from 1969 comes to mind, along with the 1974 SD-455, the 1978 black and gold 455 T/A abused by Burt Reynolds in "Smokey and the Bandit," the orange 1978 Firebird Esprit driven to fame by James Garner in "The Rockford Files," the 1987 turbocharged Indianapolis 500 pace car, and this, the current iteration of Pontiac's F-car.

The Firebird, in base form, is a beautiful car. The blend of angular greenhouse lines and softly bulging sheetmetal creates the automotive equivalent of Kim Basinger 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 Formula provides all of the T/A's hardware goodies in a more restrained, lighter, less costly package.

The Firebird's cockpit is a nice blend of style and function, and is much better executed than that found in its corporate twin, the Chevrolet Camaro. Dual airbags and antilock brakes are standard, and Firebird Formula and Trans Am can be equipped with an optional traction control system. Additionally, convertible versions of the Trans Am model were introduced in 1994, so if top-down motoring is preferable, for a boost in price it is yours.

Performance from the Corvette-derived V8 is astounding, providing enough power to get the Firebird to 60 mph faster than your ten-year-old can get to 40 yards. The new-for-1998 LS1 V8 is good for 305 horsepower. Need more than that? A Ram Air WS6 Performance and Handling Package for the Formula and T/A is available, featuring twin hood scoops that force cool air into the LS1, resulting in 15 extra ponies. WS6 suspension tuning and P275/40ZR17 tires keep the Ram Air Firebird planted to the ground. Ram Air is available on coupe and convertible editions of the Formula and Trans Am. Base models are powered by a 3800 Series II V6 that makes 200 horsepower, 45 more than rival Ford Mustang.

Pontiac has improved the Firebird's looks for 1998, in addition to its V8 engine. Styling is revised front and rear, but changes are most dramatic forward of the windshield. Designers chopped several inches from the Bird's beak and the result is a tighter, more cohesive profile. Driving lights are standard on all models this year. Also new are two exterior colors, Gold and Navy.

With world-class powertrains and hot sheetmetal at a low price, the 1998 Firebird fries Ford's Mustang. Stay away from the well-optioned Trans Am, because the Formula provides all the performance and image you need, and keeps your budget well in the black.

1998 Highlights

Firebirds get a minor restyle that is most evident from the front end. Also on tap for Formula and Trans Am models is a detuned Corvette engine making 305 horsepower without Ram Air induction. Base models can be equipped with a new Sport Appearance Package, and two new exterior colors debut. Second-generation airbags are standard.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1998 Pontiac Firebird.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4.88 out of 5 stars
Formula 2dr Hatchback
Power, Fun, Exciting. Theres is nothing more to say when it comes to this car.
5 out of 5 stars
Just amazing!
American Muscle,03/31/2007
Formula 2dr Hatchback
Words cannot describe how truly amazing this car is. Having owned many other sport cars in the past I didn't think I was going to get much better. Boy was I wrong! The Formula has an extemely powerful LS1 engine which is the same engine in the Corvette. The engine is incredibly smooth and sounds great. Also, I get 26 miles per gallon highway! I ran 13.48 at 105mph (stock) and I have the conservative 2.73 gears in the rear end. I am not one to insult the inports but those cars (300zx turbo, 3000gt vr4 and rx7 turbo) have nothing on this car when it comes to straight line acceleration plus it handles very well. The only import car I would put up against it is a Supra TT. Drivers race!
4 out of 5 stars
Trans Am Ram Air
Trans Am 2dr Hatchback
Love this car! Fun to drive and the 5.7 liter coupled with a six speed tranny is pure throwback American muscle. All the horsepower and torque of higher priced cars is readily available under your right foot! It's really hard to beat this car in the bang for your buck category.
4.25 out of 5 stars
The hot rod has arrived!
Mach 5,07/04/2009
2dr Hatchback
This car is awesome! It is my first car and I would not trade it. there is zero room in the back. The T-tops are awesome, but they can get cumbersome and annoying to take out and put back in. But this car is Amazing, if you can, get the Ram Air version. This is a fun and sweet ride.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • 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

More about the 1998 Pontiac Firebird

Used 1998 Pontiac Firebird Overview

The Used 1998 Pontiac Firebird is offered in the following submodels: Firebird Hatchback, Firebird Convertible, Firebird Trans Am. Available styles include Formula 2dr Hatchback, 2dr Convertible, 2dr Hatchback, Trans Am 2dr Convertible, and Trans Am 2dr Hatchback. Pre-owned Pontiac Firebird models are available with a 5.7 L-liter gas engine or a 3.8 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 305 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1998 Pontiac Firebird comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual.

What's a good price on a Used 1998 Pontiac Firebird?

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Which used 1998 Pontiac Firebirds are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1998 Pontiac Firebird for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1998 Pontiac Firebird.

Can't find a used 1998 Pontiac Firebirds you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Pontiac Firebird for sale - 6 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $14,397.

Find a used Pontiac for sale - 12 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $19,180.

Find a used certified pre-owned Pontiac Firebird for sale - 8 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $16,438.

Find a used certified pre-owned Pontiac for sale - 5 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $19,913.

Should I lease or buy a 1998 Pontiac Firebird?

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.

Check out Pontiac lease specials
Check out Pontiac Firebird lease specials