Used 1998 Pontiac Sunfire Coupe

1998 Pontiac Sunfire
List price range
1998 Pontiac Sunfire

Pros

  • Racy styling, great value, rev-happy Twin Cam engine, comfortable interior

Cons

  • Body roll in corners

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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 assorted import compacts by offering excellent value, sporty styling and reasonable performance in one well-rounded package. For 1998, 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, which receives a boost in low speed torque for 1998. GT models get a twin-cam motor good for 150 horsepower. The twin cam is optional on the SE, and we highly recommend it, particularly mated to a five-speed manual transmission. However, one benefit of the four-speed automatic is the standard traction control system that comes with it.

Equipped with the twin cam and a manual transmission, the Sunfire is downright speedy; about as quick as the Neon Sport Coupe. 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 about $18,500. Creative fiddling with the options sheet should result in a well-equipped sport coupe priced around $16,000.

Pontiac hasn't changed much for 1998. All coupe models get a rear spoiler this year, and one new color is available. In an effort to appease youthful buyers, a new six-speaker sound system is available.

Recently, we drove a Sunfire SE Convertible for a week, and only had complaints about excessive body roll, an ineffective climate control system when the top was down and the windows were up and very weak stereo speakers (perhaps the new sound system will cure this malady). Otherwise, our twin-cam five-speed test car was a hoot, prompting a friend with a 1991 Mustang LX 5.0 automatic to quip, "I better get some different gears in this thing. I can't have Sunfires keeping up with me." Best of all, our well-equipped test car was very affordable.

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, or its more pedestrian twin at Chevy dealers, the Cavalier. If a sporty coupe, sedan or convertible is on your shopping list, check into the Sunfire.

1998 Highlights

All coupes have a rear spoiler, a new six-speaker sound system is available, the base four-cylinder gets some additional low-end punch and Topaz Gold Metallic is added to the paint color chart. Second-generation airbags are added as standard equipment.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Pontiac Sunfire.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Fun To Drive
Bizkit,11/07/2004
Cannot crack windows open in the rain or I get wet. Radio volume knob is a bit annoying. Other than those 2 things though it is a great car. Shifts smooth and handles the curves very well. Strong 4 cyl. engine with just enough HP for a small car.
Best GM Car owned to date
'Happy',08/10/2006
Very impressed with reliability, gas mileage and exterior paint (red). Have only changed front brake pads, battery and tires after eight years. The car shines almost as good as new. My highway mileage at times exceeds 500 miles to a tank of gas(5 speed manual). What else can you ask for?
RECALL,RECALL,RECALL!
jNybody,04/18/2002
Car is much less relaible to the Cavalier(2 family members own and BEAT on theirs but ours that is BABIED is a rolling Recall!)...seems weird since same j body family BUTT Pontiac VERY UNRELIABLE.Many problems.... but biggest safety problem is:Dealer failed to perform recall on headlight switch before delivery. It eventually failed along with most of the 97-98's and has been broken over ONE YEAR NOW!! Problem is the manufacurer of switch (Wells) has not supplied the parts to ANYONE! This supply problem is SO bad the NHTSA actually audited/shut down Wells last month for a whole week to determine what the Heck they were(not) doing (our lawyer told us this)
Was a great car
wasgood,11/07/2008
I just sold my Sunfire in order to buy a Grand Cherokee. That little car was awesome. I had it for over 5 years and it took me all over. It always started first turn, had plenty of pep, ran on pennies, and all I ever had to do to it was change the front pads twice and the rotors once before I sold it. It had 260,000 k's on it and would of went for a lot more. The shocks needed replacing but that's a wearable part. I felt like I was selling my dog, when I sold it, only because of how reliable it was. Great cheap car.
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Features & Specs

MPG
20 city / 30 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
150 hp @ 5600 rpm
MPG
21 city / 31 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
115 hp @ 5000 rpm
See all Used 1998 Pontiac Sunfire Coupe 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 1998 Pontiac Sunfire
Used 1998 Pontiac Sunfire Coupe Overview

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Find a used Pontiac Sunfire for sale - 8 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $24,211.

Find a used Pontiac for sale - 9 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $24,383.

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Should I lease or buy a 1998 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