This car is similar in many ways to my other vehicle, a 1992 chevy cavalier, but the Sunbird is far less reliable. It has had a cracked cylinder head and several other fairly major problems. I work in the automotive industry and speak with many other owners of Sunbird's and I have yet to find any who really like their car.
I think it is a good beginners car. I find it very easy to control. It does have a little problem with speed when going uphill, but what do you expect with an older 4cyl car. Yes it is a little hard getting used to the fact there isn't much legroom for anyone but the driver but all in all I personally think its a great car.
We bought our Burgandy Pontiac Sunfire LE Sedan brand new off the lot. We took excellent care of the car, garaged every night, cleaned/washed once a week, annual service etc. After two and a half years of owning the car the rear shocks went, a month later the front grill busted and the headlight cracked from the cold. and two months after that i went out to start the car in the morning and it sounded like a tractor. The engine blew. My dad calls it the "Disposable Car"
My Sunbird has been my favorite car I still kept it after I bought another vehicle. This car with the right mods drive good. I am a fan of Noise so my sunbird is equiped with Flowmaster Exhaust, K&N Air filter, Hyper White lights, self built undercariage air scoop, and Cobra Eyes. All in all I LOVE my sunbird
This is my 2nd Sunbird. I abused the first one, and killed it outright. I have found these cars to be extremely reliable, as long as you babysit it. Regular maintenance on an almost religious schedule is imperative. The 2.0 will need a head gasket job at about 100000M, and do yourself a favor, and have an authorized GM dealer do it. I went ahead and replaced the head as well, and am happy I did. Overall, a great car, just needs a finely tuned attention to detail. I will drive mine til the wheels fall off. Parts are hard to find! If you can get your hands on one at a local junkyard, do so, and LOAD UP on as much as you can carry.