Used 1996 Pontiac Grand Am Sedan

1996 Pontiac Grand Am
List price range
1996 Pontiac Grand Am

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Pontiac's perennial sales leader returns for 1996 with much needed exterior and interior updates to keep this compact competitive.

The big news this year is evident inside the Grand Am. A redesigned interior sports dual airbags and pillar-mounted 3-point seatbelts. The new soft-touch instrument panel features revised analog gauges, and a console-mounted parking brake replaces the anachronistic floor-mounted pedal of the 1995 model. Two new interior colors and fabrics debut. Improved cupholders and controls complete the interior redo.

Under the hood, a new twin-cam 2.4-liter engine is standard on all models. Pontiac claims that the new engine improves zero to 60 mph times by one second over 1995 models. A 3.1-liter V6 is optional, but requires an automatic shifter. Traction control is included with the automatic transmission this year. Fresh styling tweaks update the Grand Am's sheetmetal, and new alloy wheels compliment the new look. Four new paint colors are available.

Daytime running lights have been added to the Grand Am for 1996. A single key operates the ignition, as well as all door and trunk locks. PASSlock theft deterrent is standard on all Grand Ams. Variable effort steering, formerly found only on the GT, is available on both trim levels this year.

After five years on the market, the Grand Am is Pontiac's best-selling model, and it's not hard to see why. The Grand Am offers stylish good looks and reasonable performance, yet remains a decent value. The SE model is our pick, because it can be equipped to GT specs without the false performance pretensions and higher price of that premium trim level. Budget minded shoppers may want to investigate the twin-cam Sunfire, which offers more equipment for less money.

1996 Highlights

New styling, a new base engine, dual airbags and body-mounted seatbelts.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Pontiac Grand Am.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Decent for 13 year old car
I bought this car for $600 last January. I took it to a mechanic before buying it so that I would know there were not any major issues and what to be prepared for in the future. The transmission, motor (although it does need a new motor mount)and other major components seem to be doing well. In the past year I have had to replace the tie rods, CV joints ($500) heater core (300) and serpentine belt. I do not feel that this is to much work to put into an other wise reliable car for the cheap price I paid. I now have 188,000 miles and expect it to continue going strong. I think people who have had back experiences with this or any car did not do their homework or mechanic check before buying
96 Grand Am disappointing
Ken Stufflebeam,02/21/2006
I bought this car for my teenage sons to drive, 98k, SE model, 4-door, 4 cyl, auto. Thought it would be economical and practical transportation. Trans failed at 108k, no heater now - core failure, many repairs required, gas mileage not great for a 4 cyl, 21 city 26 hwy, squeeks, creaks, rattles. In all fairness it was worn out when I got it and you get what you pay for.
Not a bad little car
This is a really nice car. The design for price is a plus. It's inexpensive and yet doesn't look like a box. With a little four cylinder engine it can really move too.
Sandra Poppell,04/29/2002
I bought this car, a demo, from a dealer with less than 3000 miles on it. This car is on it's THIRD totally new, transmission at 62,000 miles. All of the window motors and door locks, the coil housing unit (twice), the catalytic converter (twice), power steering unit, water pump and both oxygen sensors were replaced within three years. There have been numerous repairs to gauges, fans, and pressure lines. I've had the car towed twice this year because it starts and then chokes off immediately. They can't find the problem. I got a recall notice today from GM stating a "starting" problem that could cause fire. Great!! I wouldn't recommend this car to anyone.
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Features & Specs

20 city / 30 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
150 hp @ 6000 rpm
20 city / 30 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
150 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 1996 Pontiac Grand Am Sedan features & specs


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
    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

More about the 1996 Pontiac Grand Am
Used 1996 Pontiac Grand Am Sedan Overview

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Pontiac Grand Am?

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 Grand Am lease specials