- The Washington Times - Friday, December 10, 1999

When you see the all-new 2000 Bonneville, you will immediately know who makes it. The aggressive styling, extrawide stance and powerful appearance are unmistakably Pontiac.
There are three models: SE, SLE and SSEi. With popular optional equipment, they range in price from $25,700 to $33,825. The SSEi is the focus of this report, for it has many nice extra features that are exclusive to this model. But even the base model is a punchy car with sophisticated performance.
The Bonneville is a full-size vehicle that has plenty of interior room with big, comfortable seats and better than average driver visibility. The new cars are a far cry from the antiquated 1992 models they replace. The interior noise level is much lower and they now have an excellent suspension system.
I am told the design philosophy was to make a luxury car that has an attitude. It does. This attitude can be seen in the way the front end slinks low and the rear stands tall, like it is an animal ready to pounce. With the body-side rib protrusions, I felt if I didn’t treat this car with respect, it would bite me.
Sixteen-inch wheels are standard on the SE, 17-inch wheels on the SLE and SSEi. The trunk has 18 cubic feet of storage space, and the SSEi comes with emergency equipment that even includes gloves for changing a tire.
The body stamping uses an exceptionally advanced method for assembly. The entire side, from headlamp to taillight is one piece. Not only does it have smooth lines and clean door channels, all the joint imperfections are virtually eliminated. The rear suspension, assembled elsewhere, is simply bolted to the undercarriage as the car moves down the assembly line.
Rubber bushings reduce road noise and harshness. Structural reinforcements provide a stiffer body, making for a better ride quality with less harshness, as well as passenger protection in the event of a crash.
With an aluminum hood and the battery under the rear seat, the overall weight is more equally distributed for better handling. Traction control is available, and the SSEi will have Cadillac’s StabiliTrak, Heads Up Display, plus OnStar, a navigation system that uses people for guidance and other areas of assistance.
The cockpit has buttons, dials and gauges for just about everything. The appearance is busy, like an airline cockpit. Yet, it was reassuring to know that I could be in control of just about anything I might encounter. The controls include such details as being able to monitor the tire pressure.
The remote keys can be programmed to accommodate the preferences of two drivers. Each remote will readjust to that individual’s preferences, including the seats, mirrors, and settings of each driver’s preferred radio stations. Programming the 18 functions was so easy I was able to do it on my first attempt with an engineer guiding me.
The sound from the Bose is topnotch. One nice feature is Radio Data System that displays the type of program, gives traffic announcements and sets the proper clock time. If traveling cross country, the radio searches for specific types of stations, plus numerous other things.
Under the hood are the tried-and-proven 3800 engines. The SSEi has the supercharged engine that produces 280 foot-pounds of torque. Linked to a four-speed transmission, it quickly responded to my acceleration demands.
Appearance is one thing as it serves as an attractive lure. Bonneville’s real appeal, however, requires sitting in the driver’s seat and starting the engine.

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