Used 2001 Pontiac Sunfire Coupe

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2001 Pontiac Sunfire
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2001 Pontiac Sunfire

Pros

  • Racy styling, comfy interior, rev-happy twin-cam engine, good value.

Cons

  • Option list can overpower low price, body roll apparent during hard cornering.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A ghastly looking attempt at a low-budget sport coupe, the Sunfire is hopelessly outclassed by both its foreign and domestic competition.

vehicle overview

Pontiac's Sunfire is supposed to take on the Cavalier, Focus ZX2, Neon and assorted import compacts by offering value, sporty styling and capable performance in a well-rounded package. Sunfire is available as a coupe or sedan SE (base) trim, and as a coupe in the GT (uplevel) series; the convertible is no longer available.

Dual airbags, ABS and an anti-theft system are standard equipment. Base models come with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine. Power is rated at 115 horsepower, and can be fed through the standard five-speed manual or optional three- and four-speed automatics. GT models get a slightly larger 16-valve four-cylinder, good for 150 horsepower. The GT's 2.4-liter, twin-cam motor is optional on the SE, and we highly recommend it, particularly if mated to this year's new, smoother-shifting Getrag five-speed manual transmission.

Equipped with the bigger engine and a stick shift, a Sunfire is downright speedy when compared to other four-banger compacts. The automatic raises acceleration times by about a second in the dash to 60 mph. Options on the Sunfire include sharp alloy wheels, a power sunroof and a variety of uplevel sound systems, including the 200-watt Monsoon unit. Equip an SE Coupe to the gills, watch the price soar to the mid-18s, and suddenly Sunfire isn't such a hot deal. But fiddling with the options sheet should land you a sporty, well-equipped coupe priced at around $16,000.

The move to more aggressive-looking fascias and rocker-panel moldings was intended to boost Sunfire's image with young buyers. That goal also fueled the move to better sound systems, as well as improvements in interior functionality, features and storage space for things like compact discs or cassettes. And Pontiac even makes the racy decklid spoiler standard on all models for 2001.

Our only complaint about driving the Sunfire is that when it is pushed to its limits, it tends to exhibit an excessive amount of body roll. We think the GT model should offer a more sporting suspension to back up the car's sporty looks and powerful engine. On the plus side, all the well-equipped models we've tested so far carried an affordable price tag.

We think the Sunfire has merit in the crowded compact marketplace. Feature for feature, Sunfire makes a strong argument against purchasing its slightly larger stablemate, the Grand Am, or its more pedestrian twin at Chevy dealers, the Cavalier. Although the lack of a convertible detracts from its sporty image, the coupe and sedan are still capable and fast cars that deserve a look.

2001 Highlights

A standard rear spoiler and a new exterior color are the only new additions to the Sunfire for 2001. The GT convertible is no longer available, leaving the sedan and coupe versions as the only available body styles.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2001 Pontiac Sunfire.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Great car, lots of power, fun to drive.
Jamie LinerMan,03/19/2002
This car is great its a good handling car, very good pick up and isn't hard on the wallet. Only thing i would change is the quality of some of the interior pices they ratal a little bet at high way speeds.
BEST CAR GM HAS EVER MADE
eric andres,09/20/2017
I bought my sunfire in 2001 brand new. It is now 2017 and i still have it! It currently has 217,000 miles on it. Only thing i have ever had to do to this car is change the oil and put new brakes and tires on it when needed!! Everything else is still original including the water pump, fuel pump and even alternator! It is the cheapest new car i have ever bought but has been the best! I wish they still made them! I still drive it back and forth to work everyday and leave my new car in garage mostly! The sunfire still runs perfect and doesn't even burn oil yet so that's why i drive it instead of the new car. Trying to shoot for 300000 miles now! The old sunfire should make it since it still running like a new one!! Put 75 miles day on it still from driving back n forth to work!
I love my black 2001 Sunfire
Zeak Harbors,03/26/2010
I got my car new with 5 miles and have had it up to this point. I drove the hell out of that car. It's fast with good acceleration has a sporty look that is totally unique and I enjoyed the interior design. Comfortable ride. It handles well as i drive like a maniac and it has had minor problems (oil leak, fuel pump) but is a solid car. It's a tank in the winter. The FWD got me through many awful WV winters. I would run this car until it explodes if the value wasn't so low. I know some have problems but mine was built well enough to last my teenage rambunctiousness and get me though college as well as take me on many vacations. For the price it is the best there is and I would buy it again...
Best. Car. Ever.
selinamarie,09/27/2014
For my first car, I chose this cute little 2001 Pontiac Sunfire. I had no idea what I was getting into- it was a Craigslist find. I started out with 140 k miles, and now it is at 151 k and still running pretty well. Several cars I've looked at that are newer seem to have issues at this point in the odometer stats. The only major problem I've ever had were the brakes as well as my gear shifter becoming loose. My CD player sucks, and the window motors are going bad, but this is an easy fix. The previous owners said this little champ got them to Arizona and back from New York!
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Features & Specs

MPG
20 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
115 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
19 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
150 hp @ 5600 rpm
See all Used 2001 Pontiac Sunfire Coupe features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver1 / 5
    Passenger2 / 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
    Poor

More about the 2001 Pontiac Sunfire
Used 2001 Pontiac Sunfire Coupe Overview

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Should I lease or buy a 2001 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.

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