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Opinions needed: Trade in Bonneville GXP for an Imp SS?
I currently drive a 2004 Pontiac Bonneville GXP with 85,000 miles on it. I love the exterior styling of the car and the sound it makes, but it's not terribly comfortable and there are absolutely no upgrading options.
I like FWD v8's (I can only afford one car, love v8 power but need it to be safe in the NY snow), so I was looking at some Impala SS's (2006+) and found an 06 just under $11,000 with 27,000 miles on it.
I asked the dealership that I purchased my Bonneville from to look into it as I would want to buy it from them after they bought it from this out-of-state dealership. My dealer said that there were two accidents on the vehicle history, but they checked into it further and found that there was no frame damage and that the accidents were nothing major (both cars traveling the same direction and made contact and the other was a minor front fender-bender). I trust them because they're on the hook if they bring it up here for me, I buy it from them and then I find out that it has issues.
So, I want your opinions on this. I'm pretty young and inexperienced-- I want to make sure that I'm not just getting caught up into a bad deal.
The pros of the Impala:
-~60,000 fewer miles
-Better safety ratings <-- Very important to me
-Better fuel economy
-LS series engine-- modable (although I know a lot of people don't see the good in modding a FWD car) and sexy-sounding
-Better platform for my car audio installation
-2 years newer
-Only increasing my monthly payment by $10-$25
-Potential to have nicer seats
-Did I mention ~60,000 fewer miles?
-I'll be getting it for around it's trade-in value even after dealer mark-up for transportation and profit
-The 2 accidents could hurt my resale value
-Potential residual electrical issues from the accidents
-The weak-*** transmission
Discuss and let me know what you think! Thanks in advance!
I enjoy my 2006 Chevy Impala SS. The FWD is good with the strut bar in the rear, 255/45/18 Nitto 555r Extremes, and new KYB GR-2 struts. The car will try to drive just like a RWD. Likes to be pushed in curves. The next mods I am working on is a transmission cooler and a LS2 intake with a tune.
Youre gonna get a ton of comments requarding the garbage Trans in those cars...
Ive always liked them though, I say go for it...
Would you be looking into Selling the car in the short term? if youre planning on putting 70 or 80 thousand miles on it, it wont be worth anything anyways... so the accident shouldnt hurt you too much IMO.
1994 Trans Am
Dark Green Metallic | Leather | M6 | Stock...ish
I only know what I posted about the accidents-- one was a parallel impact from being cut off and the other was probably a parking lot collision because there was no police report.
I'm planning on putting many, many miles on it. I'm not looking to flip this car, so it's really true that the value will be so low when I'm looking to sell it that most won't be concerned about a few accidents that happened around ten years from that point.
I have read quite a bit about the tranny issue-- I would be looking to purchase an extended warranty. I also won't ever be shifting the car like a clutchless manual, so I might have better longevity than others. As long as I can put kids with their Eclipses to shame stoplight to stoplight, I'll be more than happy. This won't be a drag strip queen or a show car-- it's already seen some winters so I don't see value in that.
I really love the sleeper styling. I might debadge it, buy some non-SS wheels (man are those ugly) for it, maybe change the intake and potentially do some exhaust work... I don't have a lot of extra money kicking around, so I need relaibility over strip-level power. I'm not, however, willing to buy something without a V8 rumble in favor of reliability.
I'm definitely having my dealership bring it up here so that I can at least take a look. The way I look at it, if I can get it for $14,000 including a warranty, I'll be more than pleased.
I purchased my 2007 SS brand new taking advantage of a huge discount that year that was offered on those left on the lot. I got it more for its 4 door family car personality rather than its ability to "pound Eclipses at stoplights" LOL. The sleeper element of my SS just adds to the fun. And strangely, I actually like the FWD part of it. All my other cars are RWD and are unable to get up the hills here when we get the occasional snow event.
The transmission is the weak point as many here will attest to. I had no troubles until I hit 69K. The typical shudder, RPM oscillation etc...started happening then. Last month I had the torque converter replaced under warranty plus the fluid changed and everything is working fine now. Hopefully there was no residual damage.Still, I wouldn't let the transmission issue deter you from picking up a good deal on one of these. It wouldn't be a bad idea though to have $2500 hanging around to get a TEP built replacement transmission just in case.
The interior is nice and understated. Some may say it's cheap "car rental" quality, but I say: Meh, it's fine with me. The seats are strangely flat, but very comfortable on long journeys, and the heated seats are fantastic.
I plan on keeping my SS for a long time. It's paid for and serves its primary purpose superbly. If you are looking into modding one of these extensively, you may be surprised at your options: not many. If you do want to modify this, just get a turbo and be done with it! LOL. For me, stock power is fine.
You may want to bargain with your dealer by mentioning the transmission thing. Still you really can't go wrong with these cars at the current prices.
2007 Impala SS - stock
2002 Mustang GT - almost stock
1991 MR2 Turbo - HKS Stage 3
Thanks for the insight figleaf. I'm feeling pretty good about this car. My dealer says that they spoke with the other dealer and it's entirely good to go. I feel really good about it because they wouldn't buy it if they didn't feel like they couldn't sell it of I didn't want it.
I feel like the impala ss is just like the bonne gxp-- it's a connesour's car. You need to have a particular taste for it. I will definitely be happy with the stock HP.
And my buddy said the same thing about accidents, it's tough to find an older car without accidents, and the nys lemon law will give me 4000 miles of protection before an extended warranty would be needed. Pretty sweet deal I think.
There are tons of things u can do to the engine btw.. for the most part its just like any other ls engine. Heads can be worked, cam, intake manifold swaps, headers, nos... Mine is pretty much stock except for the most basic bolt ons and a tune.. I ran neck n neck with an ls1 m6 gto with a small shot of nos today i was impressed, he was pissed
I have no problem with the ss badging as long as it doesn't get my car broken into ( not that I ever really park in high crime areas). I have a thing for the sleeper look, though, and wouldn't really be interested in a v6-- they're a dime a dozen.
I didn't mean to say eclipses-- I meant pre-2010 mustang gt's. I've never had a car that could beat one and the kids who drive them think that they're just the cat's pajamas.
You're going to need some expensive mods to beat the 2011+ 5.0s. That or some spray will do the trick
If you're looking at modding it I'd start with completely redoing your intake(including the manifold) and your exhaust. That with a tune will give you a hefty chunk of power for the money. Once you open up your flow then you can do all your internal engine work if you want.