2006 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP, pontiac, grand prix

2006 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP

So, I was asked to write an article, a review for this website.  Hypemiling?  I have heard stories about guys trying to eke that last bit of MPG from their cars  Whether a hybrid or electric, guys actually competing to get better gas mileage than the other guy.  Stories of not running the A/C, heat or even the radio.  What truly is the point here I wondered?  Is there a prize?  Something other than sweating or freezing your ass off that proves you winner?  No?  OK, helping the environment is good enough for me.

What to write I asked myself.  Writers always say, “write what you know”.  And to top it off, I have a bit of a hot rod sedan.  A 5.3L V8 package of driving joy!  I LOVE MY CAR!  It’s a 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP.

It has a great rumble when you start it. 

A not overwhelming rumble as it sits and idles and a quietly assuring roar when you romp on it getting on the highway.  LOVELY!  I am the only owner of this car.  I started with Grand Prixs in high school.

1977 Pontiac Grand Prix, red, classic car, big red car, pontiac, grand prix

1977 Grand Prix – A boy’s first love

Before you green tree huggers start ripping on me, hear me out and read to the end.  Please bear in mind I will NOT be apologizing for this purchase, but I will explain a couple of factors in the decision making process.

When thinking on making this purchase I did price around.  The Leaf and the Volt and Tesla (like I could afford one of those) were not even available yet.  But the hybrids were.

To me, both the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic hybrids looked like crap.  I am still vain enough to care if I like what the car looks like.  They don’t handle well and actually got crappy open road gas mileage (20-24 Highway).  And cost more than most of the straight gas engine cars.  A factor for me.  The reported fuel savings for hybrid city mileage was not going to outweigh the price differential or save me enough on gas to pay for the difference.

Maybe my set of circumstances is the minority.  I live 30 miles away from work.  Half of that is open country type roads or highway.  My car IS a V8, with something called Displacement on Demand.  As soon as I get to a stable cruising speed, it seamlessly quits running 4 cylinders.  And when I press on the gas pedal the transition back to all 8 is again un-noticeable.  But on the open highway I am averaging 26-28MPGs.  The hybrids were nowhere close.  I am getting better than the EPA Estimated.  However, putting all 8 into action does immediately impact the MPGs.  Single digits ripping down an on ramp because I do believe in being at proper highway speeds to merge into traffic (if traffic allows).  A full tank of gas is 350 miles (according to my trip computer)

Price of the vehicle was the first, biggest factor for me.  I should mention the dealer was really itching to get this car off the lot and I made a screaming deal.  You’ll just have to believe me when I say it was cheaper than the hybrids.

The ride!  I have a long drive twice a day.  Having something that felt good to drive and be comfortable in for all this driving was important.  I was moving up from a smaller car and the difference in ride was amazing.  It was really evident how much a longer wheel base could make a difference.  See above why this car and not something of a lesser stature.

The mileage rating!  My very first car was a 1977 Grand Prix and I was happy to get back into a V8.  I actually wouldn’t have bought it if not for the displacement on demand, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to drive it gas price wise, and trust me, there have been a few times in the last ten years I really kicked myself for owning a V8.

The Estimated EPA ratings for highway driving was better than the hybrids and a lot of 6 cylinder engines.  I see the difference every time I drive the wife’s car which is a 3.4L V6.

OK, the power!  Sure, I’ll admit it, it’s exciting!  Hey, I live far outside of Phoenix, AZ and have to commute into town.  Not Phoenix proper, but one of the outlying cities.  I encounter jackasses frequently on the road.  I pointed out to my son one day while we were out and about, that I did not buy this car to drive like a jackass, I could if I wanted to, but to give me the ability to avoid situations that require a quick or even assertive response.

displacement on demand, V8, 5.3L, hot rod, fast car clean engine

5.3L V8, Pure Joy!

I still do all I can for my own gas mileage, because my commute costs enough money already  Some tips we should ALL practice to get the most bang for our buck and lessen our impact on the environment where we can.

Keep it lubricated!  Wheel bearings don’t like to spin when dry or full of grit.  Although I believe most hubs these days are sealed bearing assemblies, you can hear it when they start to go bad.  Don’t wait to have them checked/replaced.

Keep up on the oil changes!  Yep, engines run more effectively on good oil.  I use a synthetic blend on my engine.

Tire Pressure!  Honestly, tires don’t roll well if they are mushy.  Keep your tire pressure at manufacturer recommended levels.  This includes your wheel alignment as well.  Don’t waste your precious horsepower fighting your own car.

Keep it clean!  Seriously, wash that engine and radiator down once in awhile.  Allowing the engine to work cooler will be better for it in the long run.  Just make sure to hose it down when the engine is cool. And don’t forget injector cleaner in your gas tank.  I try to remember once a month.  Also change or clean your intake air filter on a regular basis.  I have a performance filter that has to be pulled, cleaned and recoated to allow my ponies to breath better.

Keep up on the maintenance.  My car’s age and required maintenance have suddenly caught up to me.  I finally passed 100K not long ago.  Needs the whole tune up process and a couple other fluids flushed and changed.  I have most of the know how, but little of the necessary tools, time and inclination to do it myself.  The pros are better and faster and usually notice things I would not.  And if you are dealing with a full on electric or a hybrid it might be better to let them deal with it.

Oh yeah!  Surprisingly, black cars seem to get hotter that other colored vehicles.  I heard this is urban myth/legend.  I know mine has to work it’s ass off to get cool if parked out in the sun.
  Fortunately it is in the garage during the day while I am sleeping so it doesn’t have to work as hard when I start my day.

WE all need to do our part with our vehicles to ensure their best operation which in turn will not waste so many resources.  But……….as when those new CFC light bulbs came on the market and EVERYONE had to convert only to find out we created a whole different environmental mess over mercury………does anyone know what kind of waste these new batteries create?  I don’t.  But batteries are toxic by nature in how they are produced.  I am sure disposing of the used ones will provide no problems……….

My car is in the shop at present due to being hit on an expressway off-ramp.  His fault, no one was hurt, except My Preciousssssssss.  I have been driving a little Chrysler 200 with a 4-cylinder engine and a 9 speed transmission.  It’s average fuel rating was not much better than my average fuel rating.  I had been thinking about getting a smaller, sporty type car, but I think I am over that now.

My final thought in this review is I love my car.   I would not trade the Grand Prix GXP for anything.  As evidenced by still owning it after 10 years.  When the time comes I will be sad to give it up.  If, when and until green machines are affordable and can handle a long range commute I see no reason to get one.

Oh yeah, most of my info is of my own observation and research, and some anecdotal retelling.—-Mike French

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I remember my first car 1977 Pontiac LeMans 4 dr silver with red interior with the enormous front vinyl bench seat. Lemans styling back (70’s) then remains one of my favorites. Here is a link https://youtu.be/kzjd8N9XRMc to that body style in a video where the grown children give their parents their first car that they had handed down through the family. No doubt there are many fans of these cars and shared that experience with family as well. As for my own Pontiac, I gave it to my younger brother who painted it black and added a red vinyl roof… Read more »