Our new 1995 Pontiac Sunfire had barely tooled into the downtown parking lot when two Generation X guys ran across the street to get a closer look. These young men, precisely the target audience for the Sunfire, were bowled over by the vehicle's look.
The amount of attention a new car draws is a good barometer for how well the designers did their job. It appears Pontiac designers were right on target with the Sunfire, a car clearly inspired by its stablemate, the Firebird.
The Sunfire replaces the 13-year-old Sunbird. Pontiac officials felt the car was so different from its predecessor that it deserved a new name. The Sunfire's cousin from Chevrolet, the Cavalier, has also been dramatically redesigned for 1995, but Chevrolet opted to retain the name.
For now, the Sunfire is available only as the SE sedan and the SE coupe. In mid-1995, Pontiac will add an SE convertible and GT coupe to the lineup. The GT coupe will be outfitted in Pontiac's characteristic racer look with dual exhausts, spoiler, black roof treatment and a revised 2.3-liter DOHC 16-valve Quad 4 engine.
Our test car, an SE coupe that goes for $13,550, came with air conditioning, cruise control, power windows and door locks, and an effective 3-speed automatic transmission.