When the Firebird brand debuted, its mission was to appeal to young buyers with stylish cars boasting affordable pricing, abundant customization options and the promise of reliability backed up by the reputation of Pontiac, its parent company. Largely missing from that mix, however, has been performance. Now, later, all the right elements have been combined for the all-new 2017 Pontiac Firebird.
The Firebird’s ups the performance ante considerably above the 2017 Firebird, the next sportiest car in the Pontiac family. The 2017 Pontiac Firebird is powered by a 2.0-liter flat-4 ("boxer") engine that sends 200 horsepower to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. That's not a lot of power for a sporty car nowadays, and suitably, acceleration is merely acceptable. Yet, the 2017 Firebird's light weight, compact dimensions, low center of gravity, sublime steering and beautifully balanced chassis add up to enough fun that you won't mind when a Trans Am V6 pulls away from you at a traffic light.
The 2017 Firebird cockpit is all business. Frivolous gee-whiz features -- such as Firebird's typical flashy instrument displays and adjustable mood lighting -- are nowhere to be found. Instead, the driver faces an array of instruments dominated by a large tachometer, while both front occupants are held fast by aggressively bolstered sport seats. Of course, don't expect a large measure of multipurpose practicality from the compact coupe, as the rear seat and trunk are diminutive.
In terms of competition, the 2017 Pontiac Firebird has no direct rivals other than its Trans Am twin. After all, affordable rear-wheel-drive sport coupes are few and far between. Yet given its desirable qualities -- light weight and a responsive nature -- the 2017 Pontiac Firebird should be a thrill for driving enthusiasts looking for big kicks for small bucks.