Used 1999 Pontiac Firebird Hatchback

1999 Pontiac Firebird
List price range
1999 Pontiac Firebird

Pros

  • Powerful V6, spectacular V8, true muscle car performance package at bargain-basement price.

Cons

  • Boy-racer-in-gold-chains image, cheesy interior plastic, sky-high insurance rates for V8 models.

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vehicle overview

Except for a small period of time during the early '80s, the Pontiac Firebird has been synonymous with performance since it debuted in 1967. When considering famed Firebirds from the past, the blue-striped Trans Am from 1969 comes to mind, as does the 1974 SD-455. How about the 1977 black-and-gold 455 T/A abused by Burt Reynolds in the original Smokey and the Bandit movie, or the gold 78 Firebird Esprit piloted by James Garner in TV's The Rockford Files? And when any Firebird history is written, the 1987 turbocharged Indianapolis 500 Pace Car version will deserve mention, as will this, the current iteration of Pontiac's F-body.

The 99 Firebird, in base form, is 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 Amwith its aero skirting, decklid 'batwing'' and louvered side scoopsruins the effect. Not to worry; the mid-level Formula model provides all of the T/A's hardware goodies in a more restrained, 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 now be ordered on all models. Additionally, convertible versions of Firebird and Trans Am are available, for a corresponding boost in price.

Performance from the Corvette-derived LS1 V8 is nothing short of astounding, providing enough power 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 pounds feet of tire-blistering torque. Need more power 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 275/40ZR-17 rubber keep the Ram Air Firebird planted to the ground, while a new dual-outlet exhaust system offers a meaner look than the old twin pipes on the same side setup.

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 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.

Pontiac has further improved the breed for '99, making traction control available for all models, including the V6. To further help in the traction department, a Torsen II limited-slip differentialonce an exclusive option on the WS6is now standard on V8 cars and V6 Firebirds with the Performance package. Fuel tank capacity has been increased (16.8 gallons) for extended range, an oil life monitor is now standard, and two exterior colors have been added. Convertibles get the eight-speaker Delco/Monsoon sound system standard, while a Hurst shifter is optional on cars equipped with the six-speed stick. And autocrossers take note: a power steering cooler is now available on V8-powered models.

With world-class powertrains and hot sheetmetal at a low base price, the 1999 Firebird fries Ford's Mustang, not only at the stoplight but also at the dragstrip or racetrack. Problem is, Ford's beloved pony car, now newly revamped for '99, is pummeling Pontiac's performance flagship in dealer showrooms, outselling the F-Body at better than a 3-1 clip. While Mustang's packaging and refinement may have earned it a wider audience, and the once-mighty performance coupe empire is drying up, Firebird wears its modern-day muscle-car crown well. Just stay away from the over-adorned Trans Am, because the Formula provides all the performance and image you need, yet keeps your budget well in the black.

1999 Highlights

Electronic traction control is now available on all models, with a bigger gas tank and an oil life monitor standard. A Torsen limited-slip rear axle comes with V8 models (and V6 cars with the performance package), while an eight-speaker Delco/Monsoon sound system goes into the convertible. A power-steering cooler is now available for V8s, and a Hurst shifter is optional on the six-speed manual transmission. The Ram Air WS6 package now sports dual outlet exhaust, and two new exterior colors debut, Pewter and Medium Blue Metallic. The 30th anniversary Trans Am sports an extroverted paint scheme that features two blue stripes running over the hood and deck lid.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1999 Pontiac Firebird.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Lots of Work
Cruzincool,06/04/2010
I owned a 1997 Firebird before I bought this one and sold it with 167k and never had a single issue out of it, so naturally I bought another one. This one has been nothing but a headache. After having the vehicle for a week, my check engine light came on. Misfire due to bent valve and my automatic tensioner was bad. $1300 to fix. Three weeks later, car started running rough, then not at all. I had to replace all three coil packs and ignition module. Chrome rims had some sort of defect where they would not hold air, so I had to buy another set. Then yesterday it started the same rough running as before. Also, the electrical systems randomly quit operating and turn signals burn out in 2 days.
1999 3.8L V6 automatic
abcizdaman,06/07/2011
I just recently went on a road trip from the Hi-Desert, CA to both Phoenix and Prescott, AZ. The care handles very nicely and is fun to drive. The only thing is it made my back sore after driving 300 miles. It's not really a car built for comfort, especially for a tall person like me who's pushing 6'3". It has awesome styling and pretty good acceleration for a V6. It gets alot of head turns, especially at night with its stylish headlights. Without any additions it tops out at 118 to 119mph. I'm sure with a supercharger and/or turbo it would max out around 130 to 150mph. I'm just guessing though. It comes standard with a crappy stereo system that has alot of issues. I changed it out
Love my Bird
Truckin2001,03/08/2005
I bought my Firebird used with 73,000 miles on it. I have had now for about 1 month and so far so good. I have had one head light motor go about. But think about it. The gear on the inside of the motor is plastic... stupid yes but that is what it is. You can go out and buy metal replacement gears for both motors for half the cost of buying a new motor from the dealership. So those of you who complain of light motors going out look at other cars out there with flip up lights... I am sure if you ask their owners they have had problems with theirs as well. Yes the Firebird is a sports car. Who buys a sports car for rear seat room and trunk space? If you want that go out and buy the Grand Prix.
love the car
bill,08/02/2006
The car's great, except for the headlight doors. I had an earlier model and it had the same problem.
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Features & Specs

MPG
16 city / 22 hwy
Seats 0
N/A
Gas
305 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
17 city / 28 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
200 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
16 city / 22 hwy
Seats 0
N/A
Gas
305 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 1999 Pontiac Firebird Hatchback features & specs

Safety

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
    0

More about the 1999 Pontiac Firebird
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Should I lease or buy a 1999 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