The all-new Sunfire, Pontiac's entry-level offering for 1995 until its demise in 2005, replaced the Sunbird in 1994. Seeking to attract younger, sporty-oriented, price-conscious buyers, Sunfire faced a host of competitors, including Honda Civic, Dodge/Plymouth Neon, Ford Escort, Nissan Sentra/200SX, Toyota Corolla and corporate rival Chevy Cavalier.
Standard engine for early Sunfires was a 2.2-liter ohv Four that produced 120 hp with either a 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission. The optional engine was the 150-hp Quad Four, mated to a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. The all-new body structure had contained a steel safety cage that would cradle the passenger compartment, and ABS and dual airbags as standard equipment. Standard comfort and convenience features included a tilt steering wheel, variable-speed windshield wipers, tinted glass plus trunk and glovebox lamps. Uplevel seats had contained a lumbar adjuster, side bolsters and seatback storage pockets. Maintenance costs on all models were reduced through the use of aluminized stainless-steel mufflers and tailpipes. Automatic transmissions were factory filled with Dexron III transmission fluid, which never needed replacement under normal conditions. All engines were designed to run with minimum maintenance for 100,000 miles, requiring only regular oil and filter changes.
Early in the model year, Sunfires rolled out initially in just two models, the SE Coupe and SE Sedan. But a GT Coupe and SE Convertible debuted midyear, in early 1995. At that time, the Sunfire became America's least expensive convertible, replacing the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The SE convertible was also the cheapest convertible in America during this model year, at $16,764.
As of July 4, 1994:
- $11,074 (1995 Pontiac Sunfire SE 2DR Coupe)
- $11,224 (1995 Pontiac Sunfire SE 4DR Sedan)
As of August 1, 1995:
- $11,504 (1996 Pontiac Sunfire SE 2DR Coupe)
- $11,674 (1996 Pontiac Sunfire SE 4DR Sedan)
- $13,214 (1996 Pontiac Sunfire GT 2DR Coupe)
- $17,734 (1996 Pontiac Sunfire SE 2DR Convertible)
- $485 (1995 models)
- $495 (1996 models)