Used 1996 Pontiac Sunfire Convertible

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1996 Pontiac Sunfire
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1996 Pontiac Sunfire

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Pontiac has a winner here. The Sunfire is poised to take on the Neon, Cavalier, Escort and import compacts by offering excellent value, sporty styling, and reasonable performance in one well-rounded package. For 1996, Sunfire is available in coupe, sedan and convertible body styles.

Dual airbags and ABS are standard equipment on the Sunfire. Base models are powered by a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine that was carried over from the old Sunbird. GT models get a twin-cam motor good for 150 horsepower. The twin cam is optional on the SE, and we highly recommend it, particularily mated to a five-speed transmission. However, one benefit of the automatic is the standard traction control system that comes with it.

Equipped with the twin cam and a five-speed manual transmission, the Sunfire is downright speedy; about as quick as the Neon Sport Coupe and Escort GT. The automatic raises acceleration times by about one second in the dash to 60 mph. Options on the Sunfire include sharp alloy wheels, a power sunroof, and a variety of sound systems, among others. Equip an SE Coupe to the gills and suddenly the Sunfire isn't such a value at $17,000. Creative fiddling with the options sheet should result in a well-equipped sport coupe priced under $15,000.

Though it's less than one year old, Pontiac has made several improvements to the Sunfire for 1996. The 2.4-liter twin-cam engine replaces last year's rare 2.3-liter Quad 4 motor, and the traction control-equipped four-speed automatic is new. PASSLock anti-theft is standard on all 1996 Sunfires. Ride and steering have been improved, and two new paint choices are available. Daytime running lights are newly standard, and buyers can now order remote keyless entry and steering wheel radio controls.

We think the Sunfire has what it takes to succeed in the crowded compact marketplace. If anything, the Sunfire makes a strong argument against purchasing its slightly larger stablemate, the Grand Am. If a sporty coupe, sedan or convertible is on your shopping list, check into the Sunfire.

1996 Highlights

Traction control, remote keyless entry and steering wheel radio controls are newly available. Old Quad 4 engine dumped in favor of new 2.4-liter twin-cam engine. Two new paint choices spiff up the exterior.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Pontiac Sunfire.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

1996 Sunfire Droptop,still a fun car
PaulCollen,03/29/2003
The 1996 Sunfire SE Convertible equipped with the 150hp and 5spd is such an underappreciated sports/economy convertible. It performs well in summer and handles the New England winters. The power top stays true and fit. The engine still gives great performance for a 4 cyl/150 hp. The gas mileage remains good at about 22/29. I wanted a car that was fun, good styling, convertible. My wife said it needs 5 real seats. This one more than fit the bill of fare. The trunk space is also quite generous. There are many other cars manufactured with stylish appeal. Some better. But for the dollars and sense of this rag top it was just right for me.
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Features & Specs

MPG
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 0
N/A
Gas
120 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 1996 Pontiac Sunfire Convertible features & specs

Safety

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 1996 Pontiac Sunfire
Used 1996 Pontiac Sunfire Convertible Overview

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Find a used Pontiac Sunfire for sale - 10 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $20,390.

Find a used Pontiac for sale - 10 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $15,160.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Pontiac Sunfire?

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 Sunfire lease specials