1998 Pontiac Grand Am Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Sporty style for pocket change. Decent performance with manual transmission.
  • Aged chassis. Uncomfortable seats. Chintzy interior plastic.
List Price Estimate
$809 - $2,077

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Vehicle overview

Recently, Pontiac gave the Grand Am a fresh exterior look and an all-new interior. It's understandable then that this year, the car is carried over sans changes. Despite the Grand Am's seven year old design, it is one of the hottest sellers in the GM stable. We doubt the dearth of updates will cause sales to nosedive in 1998, though news of an all-new 1999 model that mimics the look of the hot Grand Prix might make buyers take pause.

Under the hood of the 1998 Grand Am, a twin-cam 2.4-liter engine is standard. A 3.1-liter V6 is optional, but requires an automatic shifter. Traction control is included with the automatic transmission, and antilock brakes are standard equipment. Daytime running lights were added to the Grand Am two years ago, and they remain for 1998. You can defeat them by pulling up the hand brake handle one notch, though when we did this during a road test of a Saturn SL2, the brake engaged ever so slightly. Be sure you aren't damaging your parking brake using this DRL-disabling method. PASSlock theft deterrent is standard on all Grand Ams. Variable effort steering is available on both trim levels.

Recently, we drove a Grand AM SE and weren't impressed. Nose-heavy handling, uncomfortable seats, and a generally displeasing interior were to blame for our malaise. The twin-cam engine, though boomy at higher revs, was a fun motor to rev, even when connected to an automatic transmission. We came away from our test drive non-plussed, unable to understand what makes this car so popular, aside from its low price.

In its seventh year on the market, the Grand Am is sure to remain Pontiac's best-selling model. It offers stylish good looks and reasonable performance, yet remains a decent value. These attributes combined can be the only explanation for the Grand Am's continued popularity. 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 and better performance for less money.

1998 Highlights

Second-generation airbags are newly standard, and option groups are simplified.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Pontiac Grand Am.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Gauges
baybays4,12/03/2011
I have a 98 pontiac grand am while driving it ALL the gauges stopped working, turned it off and let it sit for a few weeks, started car let it run for about 30 minutes, and guages still not working.
Style Great Engine Stinks
Leia,01/13/2010
I purchased the car with 100,000 miles on it. Within the first year I had to park the car and replace the intake manifold gaskets and the fuel pressure regulator. A year later I had to park it again to find out why the car wouldn't go into park anymore. After taking of the solenoid from the shifter I was able to drive it again only to find the tranny leaking and a major rack and pinion leak. Over all I only got 20,000 miles out of it and sold it as fast as I could. I loved the body style and it was wonderful to drive but to fix it you have to have deep pockets. It's a money pit. I will stay a ford girl after this. Change the engine and I might come back.
A Maintenance Nightmare
Speedracer1021,10/30/2006
Bought this car after wrecking my 97 Civic. Have only had car for a few months and it has put me down 3 times. Already replaced broken motor mount that caused car to "growl" when accelerating, bad alternator that drained battery and left me stranded in the middle of nowhere, temp sensor and thermostat because car kept overheating, front shocks b/c car started squeaking and bouncing over even the smallest bumps, keyless remote, front brake rotors and brake pads. Right now I am having numerous electrical problems with the car. I really like the car, but I have to get rid of it because I can't afford the maintenance. Wouldn't recommend buying one unless you have the money to maintain it.
Pontiac Grand Am
jessay123,03/08/2012
I baught my 98 Grand Am almost a year ago with 120k miles. The fitst couple of months were great. Then heater core went out, water pump, timing chain tenion thing, window motor, a rubber on the engine mount and now it's leaking either trans fluid or power steering fluid. Other than the reaccuring problems the car drives great. Also the pick up is pretty decent for a 4cyl.

Features & Specs

See all Used 1998 Pontiac Grand Am features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver1 / 5
    Passenger3 / 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 1998 Pontiac Grand Am

Used 1998 Pontiac Grand Am Overview

The Used 1998 Pontiac Grand Am is offered in the following submodels: Grand Am Sedan, Grand Am Coupe. Available styles include SE 4dr Sedan, GT 2dr Coupe, SE 2dr Coupe, and GT 4dr Sedan.

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Should I lease or buy a 1998 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.

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Check out Pontiac Grand Am lease specials