For a very long period in the history of the industry, Pontiac is known as GMs division that produces top quality vehicles that would appeal to younger market bracket at a price very affordable to the common. This would include performance vehicles like the Solstice, GTO, Grand Prix, G6, and Vibe. But in 2001, at the height of the SUV craze, Pontiac ventured on the SUV division and created the Pontiac Aztek. Pontiac Aztec is a mid-size Crossover SUV which is uniquely styled, very unique in fact that it had generated both positive and negative reaction to the public. The design and marketing made the Astek sold for just over 20,000 units; just a third of what the General Motors has expected. The main cause was the design which was entirely re-made in the following years.
The four-door Pontiac Astek is offered in one body style with two basic versions: the front-wheel drive and the all-wheel drive. The latest Astek is offered in three option packes: the base, mid-, and top-level package. The base offers air conditioning, power windows and door locks and a CD player while the mid offers the additional cruise control, carpeted floor mats, multiple cargo tie-downs and storage nets and a removable console cooler. The top level package features first-class cloth interior, a trip computer, an overhead console, a tire inflation monitoring system, the OnStar communications system, a six-way power driver seat, steering wheel audio controls, a slide-out rear cargo tray and a theft deterrent system. Some options features include a DVD entertainment system, heated front seats, leather upholstery, XM Satellite Radio, a six-disc CD changer and a sunroof.
The Astek is equipped with a standard four-speed electronically controlled automatic, boasts a front independent strut suspension with coil springs and an anti-roll bar. It also comes with a tow package that can haul up to 7,000 pounds and a power-rack-and-pinion steering.
These additions are expected to boost the Astek sales. The out-of-the-box concept has not yet proved its worth but the General Motor is hoping that in 2005, Astek will gain its much deserving popularity.
When I was still taking my driving lessons, my instructor told me that while starting the ignition in my Pontiac Aztek, I should avoid holding my key in the START for more than 15 seconds. Why is that so?
Holding the key in the START for 15 seconds or more at a time can drain your car's battery sooner than expected. Also, the excessive heat that such action generates won't do your car any good; it will just damage the starter motor. If, at first try, your Aztek doesn't start in 10 seconds, wait for about 15 seconds before trying it again. In your next attempt, depress the accelerator pedal about one-quarter of the way down as you turn the key to START. You can try and try until the engine starts; just make sure to have 15 seconds interval between each try to save your battery from draining and the starter motor from getting damaged.
I know how dangerous it is to drive with an open tailgate or liftgate, but can I do it if I really need to transport a bulky cargo that prevents the liftgate of my vehicle from shutting completely? Is there something I can do to be able to carry that baggage without facing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning?
If you really need to drive with the liftgate/tailgate open, make sure that all the windows in your ride are shut. Then, turn on the fan of your A/C system in its highest possible speed on bi-level setting. This will help keep outside air, especially carbon monoxide gas from the exhaust, at bay. If your Aztek has other air outlets on or under its instrument panel, it is also advised that you open them all the way throughout the trip. If possible, take the shortest route there is to your destination.
The key of my Pontiac Aztek is stuck in off. I've tried to turn it many times, but to no avail. I'm sure it's the correct key I've inserted into the cylinder. Should I try turning it further? Or is there anything else I can do to take the key out of the cylinder?
Check first if the key is all the way in. If it is, try to turn your steering wheel left and right while turning the key hard. Just make sure, however, to only turn the key with your hands as using any tool to do this can cause the key or the ignition switch to break. If this method still doesn't work, take your Aztek to a repair shop. It's advisable to bring it to a certified Pontiac service center to guarantee that you'll be dealing with people who are knowledgeable about your ignition cylinder's configuration.
The airbag readiness light of my Aztek stays on. What does it mean? Should I still drive even with this light on?
This warning light normally comes on and flashes for a few seconds when you start your vehicle. But, it should go out after a few flashes, which means the system is up and ready to work. If the light stays on, there might be a problem with the airbag's electrical system, and it might not work properly when needed. The airbags can save your life should the inevitable happens, so do not ignore such problem; take you vehicle to the mechanic the soonest time possible.
Pontiac Aztek and Its Love-it or Hate-it Design and Personality
The Pontiac Aztek took pride in being the first crossover vehicle to be produced in the United States. Aimed for youthful, adventurous drivers, the Aztek seemed to be a happy medium between an SUV and a station wagon. It was built for people looking for an SUV’s versatility and toughness combined with a more car-like handling and excellent safety ratings.
But in a country and industry that focuses too much on appearance, it was kind of hard for a vehicle dubbed as “the ugliest car in American history” to survive. The Aztek was revealed to the American audience in 2001 as a grand prize for the first ever winner of Survivor. It was advertised to be "quite possibly the most versatile vehicle on the planet". But much like the Survivor, people either loved or hated the Aztek due to its strange looks.
While Aztek owners claimed that this mid-size crossover handled smoothly, was unbelievably comfortable, and with more storage space and capacity than a regular SUV, the public viewed it as a styling mess, resulting in very low sales and eventually in its demise after its 4-year run in the industry.
2001 Pontiac Aztek: An “active lifestyle” vehicle for the Generation X
Since it was marketed by Pontiac as a sport recreational vehicle for the Generation X, the Aztek came with numerous outdoor-oriented features, which were actually cool and sensible. It rode on GM minivans’ shortened wheelbase and was powered by a V-6 engine paired with a four-speed automatic transmission.
For 2011, the Aztek was among the vehicles in its class to receive the highest Customer Satisfaction Index. It also bagged the “Most Appealing Entry Sport Utility Vehicle” award from J.D. Power and Associates. In fact, Pontiac Aztek scored second highest, if not highest, in all the APEAL component measures, except for exterior styling.
In 2002, Pontiac introduced the optional Versatrak all-wheel-drive. Anti-lock braking system also became standard.
2003: Introduction of the sporty Rally Edition package
For 2003 model year, the optional Aztek “Rally Edition” was launched. The package featured a larger rear spoiler, lowered suspension, 17” chrome wheels, as well as a body-colored grille. This package marked GM’s comeback to the Rally name since the demise of the GMC Rally. Other features added to the option list were XM satellite radio, DVD entertainment system, as well as a tire pressure monitoring system.
2005 Pontiac Aztek: A vehicle with youthful personality
For its final model year, 2005, Pontiac maintained Aztek’s youthful personality but upgraded its On-Star system to hands-free operation. The model’s exterior color offerings were also altered. Despite these improvements, the sales were disappointing, leading to the discontinuation of Aztek’s production after 2005. It was on July 14, 2005 when the last Pontiac Aztek came out of the production line.