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regfootball

In Praise of the Pontiac Aztek

44 posts in this topic

regfootball    234

TTAC

this should be interesting. i HATE the TTAC website. let's see what they have to say about my car.

The Aztek may have been a car lot pariah, but it was no Chevy Vega. There were no major recalls or horror stories involving melting engines. The model was as reliable as any GM vehicle of its time, cutting edge in many ways (CAD-CAM designed, red light dash, optional heads-up display), outdoorsy (could be converted into a camper, complete with built-in air compressor for your air mattress), lifestyle-oriented (racks for bikes, canoes, kayaks, etc.) and beloved (high scores on “CSI" owner surveys). Despite abuse from all quarters, the Aztek earned itself a group of passionate devotees. 

Even so, it bombed. So who exactly gets the blame for this so-called fiasco? Again, there's no denying that the engineers didn’t make it pretty, but they made it well. The UAW also gets a pass; GM built the Aztek (and Buick Rendezvous) in Mexico’s Ramos Arizpe plant. No, the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of GM's bean counters. That’s because the Aztek’s biggest problem wasn’t its confused looks (though they didn’t help). It was price

fair article overall. probably because it wasn't a Farago spouting off.

Edited by regfootball

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regfootball    234

55,000 miles in 26 months, no problems.....well ok, one problem. Replaced a wheel bearing under warranty. That's it.

otherwise, its probably been the best car we owned. We just put gas in it and drive it A LOT. It still has original tires and brakes. the tires may go to 65,000 miles. the interior flexibility is tremendous. its roomy and comfortable and quiet. The ride is very good. it gets good mpg for an SUV. it was inexpensive to buy. the interior is nicer than many vehicles today. The 3.4 v6 is gutsy in town, and they've got plenty of sound deadener in the thing, so its pretty quiet. The turning radius is tighter than many sedans. It feels solid like most north american GM products.

Shame its not the best looking because it excels in everything we've asked it to so far. My wife loves it and will likely never want to get rid of it.

Edited by regfootball

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hyperv6    774

Looks was the downfall of the Aztek As it really was a decent vehicle.

Pice had nothing to do with it as we considered buying one as they were marked down new to $15,000 with all wheel drive and we could still not briong ourselves to buy one just because of looks.

When it came to price it was a steal in it's segment but mu wife and myself just could not close the deal on it and make it look good enough in our minds to lay down the cash even at the firesale price.

I know several who did buy one and have been very very happy with them! It's a shame as if they had got the styling right this could have been a winner right out of the gate at a time when Pontiac needed it.

When I saw the protoype at the Detroit show I e mailed Pontiac as asked what the hell are you doing!!! I many not get all my predictions right but I saw this one coming from a long way off.

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CARBIZ    1

I think the Aztek is FUGLY, but I believe the vehicle was ahead of its time. Truly, is there any difference between the Element and the Aztek?

My partner, who is Brazilan, doesn't know a lot about cars, especially North American ones. When I spotted an Astek and a new Element side by side in a parking lot, he thought that the Element was a newer Aztek.

Of course, one has an "H" on the hood and one doesn't, so automatically it is better.

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mjdecker    0

I'm still trying to decide if the concept was worse or better :blink:

Posted Image

There's one modified Aztek out there that I've been trying to find images of.. it was dropped down a few inches.. had 19" or 20" rims.. all black body.

I actually think it made it good looking..

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regfootball    234

I think the Aztek is FUGLY, but I believe the vehicle was ahead of its time.  Truly, is there any difference between the Element and the Aztek?

  My partner, who is Brazilan, doesn't know a lot about cars, especially North American ones.  When I spotted an Astek and a new Element side by side in a parking lot, he thought that the Element was a newer Aztek.

  Of course, one has an "H" on the hood and one doesn't, so automatically it is better.

209011[/snapback]

I got an email from an ex coworker this morning (element owner)

Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2006 10:04 AM

To:

Subject: RE: My reply got bounced, will try again

Glad you’re liking the Aztek! I still like my Element, but it does get moved around by a side wind because of it being high profile and the suspension on Hondas being soft.

The mpg isn’t anything great, but what can you do with a box, right?

Other than that, it’s great!

Later,

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Intrepidation    846

I'm still trying to decide if the concept was worse or better :blink:

Posted Image

There's one modified Aztek out there that I've been trying to find images of.. it was dropped down a few inches.. had 19" or 20" rims.. all black body.

I actually think it made it good looking..

209063[/snapback]

Believe it or not, I dounf a GOOD looking Azek at the official fan site, it was gray, dropped, had 20" wheels and a body kit that rounded off the flat ass. It looked quite good! I only stumbled over it, so I dunno where it is now.

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The O.C.    2

If only the Aztek didn't turn out so ugly...

209028[/snapback]

.....or drive so poorly.....or have such a gruff, underpowered V6.....or have such tacky interior trim, fit, and finish.....or try to be an "SUV" built off of a minivan platform....

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HarleyEarl    1

Believe it or not, I dounf a GOOD looking Azek at the official fan site, it was gray, dropped, had 20" wheels and a body kit that rounded off the flat ass. It looked quite good! I only stumbled over  it, so I dunno where it is now.

209085[/snapback]

Can you post that photo or mention the site?...would enjoy seeing this. Always thought this vehicle would look good modified.

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!!!TED!!!    3

I'm still trying to decide if the concept was worse or better :blink:

Posted Image

209063[/snapback]

I'm still trying to decide if the camo-covered mule was worse or better :P

Posted Image

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!!!TED!!!    3

Believe it or not, I dounf a GOOD looking Azek at the official fan site, it was gray, dropped, had 20" wheels and a body kit that rounded off the flat ass. It looked quite good! I only stumbled over  it, so I dunno where it is now.

209085[/snapback]

The 665hp 7.0 V8 2003 "Ultimate Aztek" 8)

Posted Image

http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti...=73261155158085

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turbo200    6

.....or drive so poorly.....or have such a gruff, underpowered V6.....or have such tacky interior trim, fit, and finish.....or try to be an "SUV" built off of a minivan platform....

209400[/snapback]

for its time I think it was actually a pretty decent vehicle, especially in the price range it competed in. Sure it didn't really offer anything new, but its combination of value and utility were second to none. Now the exterior on the other hand.......

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turbo200    6

I'm still trying to decide if the camo-covered mule was worse or better  :P

Posted Image

209426[/snapback]

haha

camoed car wins!

Edited by turbo200

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i really think the Aztek couldve looked alot better with just a few minor changes

the grill setup... with the way the hood scoop things related to the grill... if they had just removed the seperation and made that all one big grill assembly... or...changed the hood scoop things...moved them further back towards the windsheild and out of alignment with the grill.. that wouldve immediatley gotten rid of the confusion that that area creates

the headlights..if it was just all one assembly instead of being split like it is... it would look awhole lot better

the rear... if they had gone with a slightly more conventional rear-roofline... with a less drastic angle from roof to rear end... and then rounded off the very square bottom... it wouldlook alot better

those three things... as well as lowering it a bit... would've made this car much more attractive and it probably wouldve been a larger success

and for the record... while i dont consider the aztek to be a beautiful car... i also dont really think its as ugly as most people do... i kind of like it... its got a weird sense of self about it... and ilike cars with an original personality...however controversial they may be... i do after all drive a FWD 6th gen Monte Carlo...

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The O.C.    2

for its time I think it was actually a pretty decent vehicle, especially in the price range it competed in. Sure it didn't really offer anything new, but its combination of value and utility were second to none. Now the exterior on the other hand.......

209433[/snapback]

Value and utility WERE great.

My problem has been that every Aztek (only a couple) or Rendezvous (quite a few as rentals) that I've driven have been somewhat dreadful to drive.

Floaty, boaty suspension tuning, truly shaky structures, gruff and unrefined powertrain, and cheap interior materials and fit-and-finish.

Granted GM doesn't build too many cars this dissatifying anymore....but I've NEVER thought Aztek and Rendezvous were anywhere NEAR competitive with their contemporaries in the marketplace.

Eye-opening was two back-to-back trips to the Bay Area one week to the next. The first week was a Rendezvous rental. The second week was a Highlander rental. It was SHOCKING how way more competent and quality-feeling the Toyota was over the Buick....and they are in the same price range and market segment. I can't think of ONE advantage the Buick had over the Toyota.....and Buick is (supposedly) an "upscale" nameplate.

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91z4me    0

the rear... if they had gone with a slightly more conventional rear-roofline... with a less drastic angle from roof to rear end... and then rounded off the very square bottom... it wouldlook alot better

209451[/snapback]

I agree with all the front end comments, suggestions whatever, but I rather like the production rear end. I especially like the glass area below the angle, like the old CRXs had, I think it makes visibility better and looks distinctive.

I also think that the 3800 Series II would have done a LOT to help with both performance and NVH of the Aztek and Rendevous. The O.C. can you shed some light as to why the 3800 was never offered in the vehicles in question?

All that being said I would like to pick up an Aztek in a few years to go camping with and stuff it just seems like a neat vehicle. BTW there are 3 students, out of 1000, that drive Azteks at my professional college.

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turbo200    6

Value and utility WERE great.

My problem has been that every Aztek (only a couple) or Rendezvous (quite a few as rentals) that I've driven have been somewhat dreadful to drive.

Floaty, boaty suspension tuning, truly shaky structures, gruff and unrefined powertrain, and cheap interior materials and fit-and-finish.

Granted GM doesn't build too many cars this dissatifying anymore....but I've NEVER thought Aztek and Rendezvous were anywhere NEAR competitive with their contemporaries in the marketplace.

Eye-opening was two back-to-back trips to the Bay Area one week to the next.  The first week was a Rendezvous rental.  The second week was a Highlander rental.  It was SHOCKING how way more competent and quality-feeling the Toyota was over the Buick....and they are in the same price range and market segment.  I can't think of ONE advantage the Buick had over the Toyota.....and Buick is (supposedly) an "upscale" nameplate.

209549[/snapback]

If I'm not mistaken, Aztek based somewhere around and pretty close to the 20k mark. In that arena we've got the CR-V, the Rav, Escape [that was later like '03, Aztek debuted '01], and maybe Xterra, I can't really think of anymore. Well, when the CR-V debuted in '02 it was considered the standard. Now I've driven the Rendevous but never Aztek, and I can say your opinion of it is pretty much what I felt, I would say it was quiet, engine power was adequate but nothing overwhelming, very soft boaty floaty, and an all around sturdy feeling but not tank-like like a German car would be. CR-V I would discribe as precise and direct, but engine power is only adequate nothing invigorating, it's not quiet, it doesn't feel as sturdy/solidly damped as the 'Vous did simply because this is where Honda saves weight, but the steering and handling are direct, just not particularly exciting since there's no engine power and the tinny wheels give up pretty soon. What's the point of all this, you say ;) ? Well, I think it was more than a good value, I think it was pretty well matched with its contemporaries in its class and price range. Highlander was above it, even though size wise the Aztek was probably a bit bigger, but you couldn't get a base Highlander for what you could get an Aztek, and certainly not when you factor in real world prices.

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The O.C.    2

I agree with all the front end comments, suggestions whatever, but I rather like the production rear end.  I especially like the glass area below the angle, like the old CRXs had, I think it makes visibility better and looks distinctive.

I also think that the 3800 Series II would have done a LOT to help with both performance and NVH of the Aztek and Rendevous.  The O.C. can you shed some light as to why the 3800 was never offered in the vehicles in question?

All that being said I would like to pick up an Aztek in a few years to go camping with and stuff it just seems like a neat vehicle.  BTW there are 3 students, out of 1000, that drive Azteks at my professional college.

209556[/snapback]

3800 in the minivans/Aztek/Rendezvous?

Well.....I thought I heard that it was a packaging concern. GM had that SAME problem with the GM-10 coupes when they were introduced. The 3.1L block was all that would fit in the new W-bodies.

Now of course they eventually brought the 3800 into the W-body program but now without some serious money spent to redesign the front cradle/structure, etc.

At Buick, we were especially butt-hurt that we had to introduce the new GM-10 Regal Coupe with a "non-Buick" 3.1L "underpowered" V6 instead of the 3800. Buick was one of the leading divisions to get the revisions approved so that the 3800 would fit.

Back to the minivans...I THOUGHT they had a similar problem.....however, obviously now they have the 3.9L engine....and the Rendezvous Ultra had the (large) 3.6L DOHC motor....so I must have been wrong....

Your guess now is as good as mine....perhaps Evok knows....?

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evok    0

Your guess now is as good as mine....perhaps Evok knows....?

210129[/snapback]

I do not recall but I think it would not fit. remember these were based on the international minivan platform.

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regfootball    234

Value and utility WERE great.

My problem has been that every Aztek (only a couple) or Rendezvous (quite a few as rentals) that I've driven have been somewhat dreadful to drive.

Floaty, boaty suspension tuning, truly shaky structures, gruff and unrefined powertrain, and cheap interior materials and fit-and-finish.

Granted GM doesn't build too many cars this dissatifying anymore....but I've NEVER thought Aztek and Rendezvous were anywhere NEAR competitive with their contemporaries in the marketplace.

Eye-opening was two back-to-back trips to the Bay Area one week to the next.  The first week was a Rendezvous rental.  The second week was a Highlander rental.  It was SHOCKING how way more competent and quality-feeling the Toyota was over the Buick....and they are in the same price range and market segment.  I can't think of ONE advantage the Buick had over the Toyota.....and Buick is (supposedly) an "upscale" nameplate.

209549[/snapback]

i like my interior just fine. the cloth is better than most cloth seats out there. the gauges are nice. the gray and black plastics look good together and shine less than my coworker's pilots, even if they are not leathery grained. the interior design and material quality is fine. its quiet mostly to drive, they've laden this car with sound deadener. the 17" wheels give a decently firm ride, not boaty. it steers quick, although feels is certainly not BMW like. the turn radius is insanely small.

You really are exaggerating. the rendezvoux may be boaty, but my aztek doesn't have a 'shaky' structure. unless you are on the rubicon maybe.

as a whole it drives a lot like last gen GM sedans. I also don't think comparing anything to a lowlander is wise. at least use the pilot or something repsectable if you are going to make comparisons.

everyone still projects their opinion on the looks to the rest of the car. yet everyone I've met who owns one like me, loves it, and not just becuase it hauls stuff. Everyone I know who's owned one says the same thing....comfortable, quiet, rides well, spacious.

yeah, its no BMW, it was never meant to be.

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