2001 Pontiac Sunfire Review

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List Price Estimate:$793 - $1,835
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Pontiac Sunfire model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Racy styling, comfy interior, rev-happy twin-cam engine, good value.
  • Option list can overpower low price, body roll apparent during hard cornering.

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 Used 2001 Pontiac Sunfire.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4.38 out of 5 stars
great car
Tom,03/30/2008
SE 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M)
I have owned this car for 5 years. I bought it used with 35,000 miles and now has 225,000 on it. Only problem was the fuel pump went out at 150,000. If all cars were this reliable then auto makers would go out of business. Awesome car. The 2.4 L is very peppy and 32 mpg. What more could I ask for? Did I mention this car is an automatic?
4.13 out of 5 stars
Satisfied with Sunfire
satisfiedwithsunfire,12/17/2007
SE 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M)
I purchased my Sunfire 09/2000 and it has been a very dependable car. I'm extremely pleased with it. I took it on a long trip and couldn't have been happier. The gas mileage is great, the ride is good for that price range. The interior could use a little more quality, but the outside is attractive. I would recommend this car to anyone looking for dependability with a little sporty look. My car is paid for and I have no intentions of getting rid of it. I'll probably keep it till it dies. It's my baby.
5 out of 5 stars
BEST CAR GM HAS EVER MADE
eric andres,09/20/2017
SE 2dr Coupe (2.2L 4cyl 5M)
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!
4.63 out of 5 stars
Excellent Car!
john_y,04/10/2012
SE 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M)
Got this car at 120,000 and now is at 150,000 and running stronger than ever! Beastly in all weather, I can get through a foot of snow without a problem and with good handling too. Decent gas mileage (24-27 mpg). Only ever need to perform minor repairs (exhaust, shocks, oil changes, spark plugs). Ice cold A/C, and engine warms up quickly on those cold days. When I got it the two lowest fan blower settings didn't work, but easily fixed by replacing blower motor resistor. Roomy trunk, I can fit a Tuba in it with a bit of room to spare. Not the fastest car in the world (could only get it up to 105) but it gets you where you need to go. Comfortable seats for road trips.

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 Overview

The Used 2001 Pontiac Sunfire is offered in the following submodels: Sunfire Sedan, Sunfire Coupe. Available styles include SE 2dr Coupe (2.2L 4cyl 5M), SE 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M), and GT 2dr Coupe (2.4L 4cyl 5M). Pre-owned Pontiac Sunfire models are available with a 2.2 L-liter gas engine or a 2.4 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 150 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2001 Pontiac Sunfire comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual. The Used 2001 Pontiac Sunfire comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2001 Pontiac Sunfire?

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Which used 2001 Pontiac Sunfires are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2001 Pontiac Sunfire for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2001 Pontiac Sunfire.

Can't find a used 2001 Pontiac Sunfires you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

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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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