By on June 4, 2014

09 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNow that we’re all about 21st-century Junkyard Finds this week, let’s admire another JF first: the Pontiac Aztek. A popular TV show really ended up muddying the cultural waters around the Aztek, in a process similar to what happened with the DeLorean DMC-12 in the late 1980s, so let’s try to remember back to a time when each of saw our first Aztek and thought what could The General have been thinking?
07 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI live in urban Denver, which means I’m surrounded by vast armies of backpackers, skiers, campers, rock climbers, snowboarders, and the like, and many of these folks thought that the Aztek was a vehicle perfectly suited to the stuff they wanted to do on weekends. There are at least four Azteks that live within a few blocks of my house (and a half-dozen VW Vanagon Syncros, which indicates a masochistic and/or delusional streak to go with the tolerance of ugly vehicles that your typical Denver Aztek owner demonstrates), and I see them on the street all the time. It was only a matter of time before they started showing up at self-service wrecking yards, and now that day has come.


“An aggressively styled, technologically advanced sport utility vehicle.”

“I’m all about working hard, standing out, and playing large.”

For the kind of people who eat baby carrots on road trips. I assume that GM had Avalanche ads running at the same time that showed dudes driving Avalanches over the skulls of endangered tortoises while knocking back Hog Blood Gushers™ and tossing M-1000s out the windows.

Sam and Kate like to swing to the beat.
05 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThat’s because the Aztek had rear sound-system controls, which worked pretty well at tailgate parties. Of course, once Bluetooth-enabled smartphones allowed you to control your car’s sound system from a device in your pocket, the Aztek’s setup became less useful.
01 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has been stripped of the tent and many of the options that made the Aztek so useful to outdoorsy types. All that remains is the ugly.
04 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, this was a better version of “hide the minivan” than most faux-offroader machines styled to look like military trucks. Who knows, maybe I’ll spot the notorious “bite the banana” Aztek in a junkyard one of these days.

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107 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2003 Pontiac Aztek...”


  • avatar
    multicam

    Cue the “but I have an Aztek and it’s the best car evar, I don’t think it’s ugly it’s just different” responses.

    No, that thing is hideous.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      No worse than the Juke.

      • 0 avatar
        Geekcarlover

        The Juke can be described as “quirky” or “different”. The Aztec brings to mind words like “malformed” or “mutated”. Sort of like that WTF reaction when you see some sort of fish that only lives below a depth of 10,000′.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          It’s the Juke that is misformed and mutated. Just try actually sitting in the back seat of one. The Aztek’s shape doesn’t hinder its utility.

          • 0 avatar
            Les

            I briefly considered a Juke. Small, 4wd, available manual, such a rare but wonderful combination these days.

            Then I actually got to sit in one, and after the driver’s side door refused to acknowledge my left arm’s right to exist I decided the Juke wasn’t the vehicle for me.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Juke gave me a WTF reaction the first time I saw it, I equate it with Aztec and Nissan Murano Vehicross (or whatever its called).

        • 0 avatar
          JEFFSHADOW

          A Nissan Murano had an affair with a Pontiac Aztek and the result is a Joke! (Juke?)

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s not so much that it’s ugly, it’s that it’s ugly and it sucks.

      It’s a GM U-Body minivan at it’s core, which is about as bad as it gets in that market. Take U-Body, remove a rear weat, worsen the fuel economy and make the already-truckish handling even worse and no amount of utility or beauty can help you.

      You could buy this. Or you save money, buy a Montana and have a better (in the loosest sense of the word) car that does what the Aztek does, only better.

      The Aztek might have had a chance if, eg, it was based on something like the contemporary Honda Odyssey. At least then it could be ugly but not ugly and terrible.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        I see some posts below saying the Aztek wasn’t that bad as a vehicle.

        Yes, it was.

        I remember too well getting stuck with one of these for a week-long vacation in an area with a lot of mildly hilly two-laners. The thing drifted around so much it was hard to keep in one lane at 45 mph. By the time I noticed GM’s bean counters had taken away the keyhole on the front passenger door, I was already disgusted. And that’s even though it did a terrific job of accepting four people and all their stuff.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Well, the breeding side of my family had three of them throughout the aughts and steering was never an issue. They were routinely maintained.

          What did annoy was the build quality and materials cheapness of the body, particularly those moisture-sucking headlight assemblies.

          But the drivetrains were solid and they did their jobs like the spawn/pet haulers they were meant to be.

      • 0 avatar
        turvo

        Ummm, there is a quasi Honda Aztek out there based loosely on the Odyssey, its called the Crosstour. That fat assed turd is about as hideous as it gets in the 2010′s. A true Aztek for the current age.

    • 0 avatar

      I never hated the astek, azetch, er, aztech….

      OK, the same minivan bits were below it, but they were going for the mini folks, a few years early.

      I wanted one, but the SO said no.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      GM spent a billion on its minivans, and had to write off most of that billion when potential drivers discovered that driving the dust-busters meant feeling like you were driving from the back seat.

      When it could, the dust-busters lost their snouts and the dinner table deep IPs, but GM was still behind the 8 ball trying to sell them.

      So, it makes perfect sense for GM to try and utilize these unpopular beasts by modifying them to fit an entirely different kind of vehicle. There was so much failure in the air surrounding the GM minivan that it didn’t seem possible to make their situation worse with experimentations like this.

      Consequently we got the Aztek and the Rendezvous, two minivans that had hatches and hunchback roof designs instead of the traditional squared off wagon styling of the minivan.

      For the Buick, the stylists decided to throw as much electronic gadgets and “luxury” items into it’s Quasimodo, and hide the hunchback behind a great deal of blacked out glass. What happened for Buick was that it’s elderly customer base discovered the Rendezvous as a higher, more easily assessable, different kind of vehicle to trade into from their traditional Buick sedans. Buick started presenting their Quasimodo as an American Lexus CUV competitor. It wasn’t, but the attempt still raised the perception of the Rendezvous to the Buick customer base. This worked for Buick well enough that when the GM minivan was restyled again, Buick got a version they called the Terraza.

      But the Quasimodo wasn’t a good fit for Pontiac. There was no reason for a Pontiac customer to choose the Aztek over the Montana minivan. Buick’s success was partially due to not having a showroom competitor for a full model year cycle, since Buick still didn’t have a minivan. Pontiac however, did. The Aztek needed to have hit its market to survive against the Montana, but couldn’t.

      The Aztek wasn’t useful compared to the minivan it was based on. Not having the extra squared-off wagon back end, meant that the Aztek lost tons of useful space a Pontiac customer would find in a Montana. Additionally, the Aztek was priced thousands higher than the other Pontiac in the showroom. The electronic gadgets and sporty gizmos pushed the price of the useless Aztek only making the Montana seem like the better deal.

      These vehicles had all the horrible driving characteristics of the GM minivan, but without the useful space of one. It was the worse of both worlds – boring minivan performance and useless hauling ability. Worse, they were more money than the minivans they were based on. Only Buick was able to find customers willing to drop money for their version of these vehicles, because Buick customers are a different cost market than Pontiac customers.

      When you consider what the attempt was in concept, both vehicles could have been successful and could have made a lot of money for GM. Minivans were already losing their popularity compared to where they were in the market fifteen years earlier. GM already had spent a monumental fortune on their minivans and needed something to recoup those losses. The easy money of the minivan was hard to let go for Chrysler, who attempted a very comparable vehicle at the same time – the Pacifica. There just seemed to have been during the late 1990s, a possible profitable niche between minivan and SUV, both GM and Chrysler attempted to find. GM out of desperation and Chrysler out of fear of losing their cash cows if their new minivan redesigns failed. The Pacifica was their attempt at the same market Pontiac and Buick were seeking.

      Bottom line – both vehicles are ugly because 80% of their styling was not meant to have a hatchback over the back third of it. Taking the Aztek concept design to a minivan didn’t work. The minivan was too tall and narrow for the Aztek concept to pull off. And it obviously failed. Even Aztek advertisements shot around the ugliness of this car. GM knew it had a Quasimodo on its hands, but also had enough lying marketers telling them that there were buyers wanting a Quasimodo.

      The Aztek is a failure for GM for many reasons. Sadly Pontiac suffered with both an Aztek and a Fiero in their models and both were incredible GM catastrophes.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Nice opinion piece.

      • 0 avatar
        JEFFSHADOW

        Buick got the Terraza in 2005 to replace the discontinued Oldsmobile Silhouette (one of the BEST minivans ever!).
        Ron Zarella, GM head honcho with the fake MBA, didn’t like the “Olds”-mobile name and killed it.
        It’s a shame what one idiot can do to destroy an entire brand…

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I hate to say it but Oldsmobile was dying long before it was killed off; the entire product line was screwed over to the point it was no longer recognized as the brand it was.

          Oldsmobile was what Buick is trying now to be while Cadillac seems to be trying to take over Pontiac’s position as the ‘sporting’ brand.

        • 0 avatar
          VanillaDude

          The redesigned Oldsmobile Silhouette became the Saturn Relay when the Oldsmobile division was axed, not the Buick Terraza.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            If that’s true then they grossly upsized it as well, as it started out no larger really than the first-generation Vue. I was certainly not a fan simply because the thing was so huge.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            @VanillaDude Developmentally, sure…but sort of an academic distinction given how similar the Relay and the Terraza were.

            @Vulpine – the only Silhouette anywhere close to the Vue in length was the 2nd-gen SWB — and even that was 8″ longer. The 1st-gen Silhouette, 2nd gen LWB, and Terraza/Relay were all much bigger.

            More importantly, the market for SWB minivans pretty much disappeared in the ’90s.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    I admire GM for having the guts to try something different. The problem was the production car was never as harmonious as the concept, and the half-hearted nature of GM’s treatment of it. GM did quickly do what they could to improve the looks in 2003, too. These are nice cruising vehicles (it’s platform mate, the Buick Rendezvous included) and have great utility. The Aztek interior was interesting. Does everything have to be a look-alike, super-fast, and handle like a GTI?

  • avatar
    Syke

    With my passion for: historical reenactment, F1 and MotoGP (plus any other for of fun that can be found at a track); and my fiancee’s love of NASCAR, we’re in the beginning stages of looking for an inexpensive ten-year-old minivan to use as a very basic RV. Remove the rear seats, haul our stuff on the roof, sleep inside the van on days when the weather doesn’t make life easy for a 6×12′ canvas wall tent.

    If I knew I could still find the tent option for the Aztek, I’d happily add one of those to my list (and probably the Buick Rendezvous, assuming the tent fits it, too). They’d be the only CUV’s I’d consider along with the usual suspects in the minivan category (Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Toyota, Kia).

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I remember seeing it the first time at the County Fair ~ it was the tent version and where you slept wasn’t even _flat_ for chrissakes , what the hell was The General thinking indeed ?! .

    Beyond FUGLY .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    A GM retiree once told me that an internal GM memo went out to GM management to stop bashing the looks. Not sure what GM Silo that would have come from. Classic GM “We don’t want to hear the truth.”

  • avatar
    brettc

    As Walter White might say about it, “I am the ugly”. Someone in our subdivision has a black Aztek and it still looks surprisingly good assuming it’s at least 9 years old. Never had a chance to talk to the owner but maybe someday before they dump it I will.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Interestingly enough, the concept car actually looked pretty cool. The proportioning was right. But the production version – particularly in the first the model years – was unforgivable.

    A shame, because it wasn’t a bad vehicle by any means.

    • 0 avatar
      rpm773

      I just did a side by side comparison and totally agree.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      Yeah, and that was the root cause of the problem – in the transition from concept to production, GM, in their infinite wisdom, put the Aztek on the already existing, ungainly, and more profitable minivan chassis, which pretty much doomed it from the start.

      Appearance aside, while the production Aztek was not a particularly bad vehicle, without a third row (due to the ‘sporty’ sloping rear window), the Aztek was actually less practical than the normal two-box minivan that GM was also selling at the time.

      The concept Aztek was received well. The production version? Not so much. But the absolute worst thing about the Aztek was how many regard it as the vehicle that eventually took down the entire Pontiac division.

    • 0 avatar
      bills79jeep

      I can’t help but see some Prius V in the concept.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “A shame, because it wasn’t a bad vehicle by any means.”

      Yes, it was.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Yeah it kind of is bad.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        No, it wasn’t a bad vehicle. It was utilitarian, practical and ran well enough. I never heard about any major reliability issues. People who had them liked them.

        Bad car in the Vega/first gen Hyundai Excel/Pinto idiom? No.

        But EYE-SEARINGLY ugly.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “No, it wasn’t a bad vehicle. It was utilitarian, practical and ran well enough. I never heard about any major reliability issues. People who had them liked them.”

          Okay, it wasn’t Yugo bad, but it was worse than the Uplander/Montana/Etc, which was worse than the Freestar, which was waaaaaay worse than the Odyssey and Caravan.

          Other than polarizing styling and the ability to convert the rear hatch into an (awful) tent, there was no reason to buy an Aztek over the mediocre van it was designed on.

          Now, you could make this argument about the Pilot or Highlander, but while they weren’t as capable as the vans they’re based on, said vans were actually pretty good.

          I can tell you that’s why I didn’t buy an Aztek.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    A coworker of mine has one of these in BRIGHT YELLOW. I feel your pain in having to look at one almost every day.

  • avatar

    The newer models replaced the giant black/grey plastic underbody cladding with body colored (like this one) which I think made them look a lot better. And I dig the tent. Not a big fan of the hatchback, though – part of the reason to buy an SUV/CUV is the space, and that needlessly cuts it off.

  • avatar
    rpm773

    I always thought that Honda (via the Element) and Nissan (via the 1st-gen Murano) ended up eating the General’s Aztek lunch

    It was hideous, underpowered (I believe), and the commercials were offensively stupid. But I think one could argue that it was ahead of its time, in a 70s AMC sort of way.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    That Aztek is broken. Bad.

  • avatar
    DDayJ

    These cars sum up GM perfectly; right idea, wrong execution.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    There’s no defending the looks, but I will meekly say that some colors looked a lot better than others.

    I rented one once for a week and thought it was an impressive do-it-all vehicle. It was an AWD version and handled well, with enormous space in the back.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnnyFirebird

      They’re charmingly ugly. I’m curious how the actual ownership experience was with these, beyond the stats game and crappy plastics. I’ve never met anyone who admitted to owning one.

      Some “bad on paper” cars, especially from GM, turned out to be relatively problem free and easy to live with.

      Has anyone ever actually used tailgate speakers? My Caliber SRT4 has them.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        “They’re charmingly ugly.” Nailed it. I always get a kick out of seeing these, because they’re just so bad. Although like Clams says, in certain colors, with no cladding, they have a certain quirky appeal. I recently saw one with a huge “AZTEK” decal running across the entire width of the tailgate, there was something awesome in how it just embraced the suck.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnnyFirebird

          I’d still get a VehiCROSS first. A better execution of a similar theme. Also the first generation Xterra.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Dude, I love the Vehicross!

            It looks like a concept car that somehow made it to production unchanged.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I like the VehiCROSS too, it was (and is) bold, and a stand-out design. There are two problems:

            1)It’s a Rodeo underneath.
            2)Prices are -still- quite high.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You’re the first person I’ve met who admitted to owning a Caliber.

    • 0 avatar
      Joebaldheadedgranny

      When I was working at GM in LA I was assigned a medium blue Aztek AWD for about six months. Oddly, my Newport Beach-bred wife liked it immensely and loved driving it so much we paid real money for a 2002 Rendezvous CXL since it had a third row. That car soldiers on 13 years later with minimum trouble.

      Still, the engine was tame pushrod blah. Element and XTerra put it all together better.

      I heard Bob Lutz called it an “Angry Kitchen Appliance” and “A fat boy with little shoes.”

  • avatar
    OzSRV

    I know a lot of newer cars have done it, but I still don’t understand how you can make a vehicle that attemtps to look modern and have some 21st century technological features yet still have rear drum brakes.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      There’s nothing really wrong with rear drums on a non-performance vehicle. You just don’t need that kind of stopping power, and drums are cheaper, last longer and aren’t subject to warping or debris damage.

      It is a little odd to see them on something this heavy, but this was ten-plus years ago.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I see a decent amount of these in the NY metro area and I have to say I do not think I have seen a POS yet, they must hold up well or their owners take good care of them. Like most GM stuff of that era it got much better towards the end of its run

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I would’ve guessed a Dexcool victim but it appears someone has pulled the 3.4 from under the hood. No odo pick? Do we know miles?

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Sarah was a walking, and now driving, stereotype.

    “No texting.”, said Sarah’s mom, handing her the keys to the ‘Tek. Sarah groaned at the distrust in acknowledgement, and grabbed them. Today was the day. Today, Sarah was getting a new phone.

    “What is taking so long?”, Sarah texted on her archaic iPhone 4S. “Almot ther”, her best friend Diane responded. The minutes that ticked by were nearly as arduous as when she was counting the days on her contract before this heavenly upgrade. Diane was winded from pedaling when she appeared. She jettisoned her brother’s BMX on the front lawn, and the two made haste to the Pontiac. Sarah squealed with delight, firing up the 3400 to it’s dull drone. Diane buckled up as the mute-ute rapidly backed down the driveway, pushing aside an illegally parked Powerwheels Jeep. A pickup full of landscapers and pulling a trailer silently went wide to the left to avoid the reversing psuedo minivan. “Why didn’t he stop?”, Sarah asked of her pal, “I thought they had to stop?” Diane only replied pleasantly with “Seat belt!”. Sarah buckled up. “Oh yeah.”

    The Pontiac droned it’s way through Westminster suburbia, bouncing lively on it’s supple suspension. The breeze through the open window wafted the sweet smell of old soft drink, GM upholstery, and post t-ball game sweat throughout the interior. Sarah helmed the wheel with one hand as the other open-palmed a speaker enabled iPhone “for safe driving”. “But what case should I get?” This was a decision of import, one which required more than 3 opinions. The discussion continued all the way down 80th ave and into the Target parking lot.

    There it was.
    The Samsung Galaxy S4. One of the first off the line, practically untouched by human hands aside from whomever attached it’s security cable. Some imbecile nearby asked “You think it’s better than the last iPhone?”, and was ignored. Sarah was on another planet.

    Soon, the girls were back in the parking lot, sitting in the sun-baked mini-ute while Sarah attempted to wrap her brain around the navigation of her new device. Frustration was compounded by the known to be inoperable air con, which was engaged anyway, blowing hot air in their faces. “There, I got it.”, Sarah said, placing the blaring mobile device in the console and shifting into drive.

    “It’s not even summer, why does the DJ keep on playing “Summertime Sadness”?
    After we go to the bathroom, can we go smoke a cigarette?
    I really need one
    But first,
    Let me take a selfie”
    [Beat drops]

    Sarah cut through the parking lot, and fumbled with the touchscreen in an attempt to turn up the volume. A few seconds later, Diane released a primal scream that could only mean one thing.
    “WHAM!”
    The front subframe of the Aztek bashed the rogue concrete parking block that seemingly appeared from nowhere. Sarah gathered herself off the middle of the dash in a daze. Her hearing was momentarily blown out from Diane’s airbag. “Are you okay?”, Diane asked. “I think so.”, Sarah responded, trembling in shock. Chainsmokers continued to blast from the Samsung somewhere back in the third row. It hammered home the utter stupidity of it all. Sarah started to cry, dabbing the slowly bleeding lump on her forehead. The two got out of the car. Sarah retrieved her phone from the back seat area. Once the idiotic song was silenced, she could hear the comments from those nearby.
    “What the hell?”
    “That car just NAILED that curb.”

    Paramedics were summoned immediately by Target staff watching the scene unfold on CCTV. Sarah’s parents arrived. A flatbed arrived to haul away the ‘Tek. Sarah didn’t appreciate that the operator had his flashers on, drawing even more attention to the circus of her epic screwup. “Is that really necessary?”, she thought while sitting at the rear of the ambulance.

    “Daaad, I didn’t even see it.”
    “Give me that thing!”

  • avatar
    Les

    I almost had one of these as my first car. I can remember first seeing it, the nice salesman telling my dad how safe it was, me thinking the built-in cooler was… well.. cool. Plus at the time age and cynicism had not yet broken the allure of the Pontiac brand with me, and the idea of it being a ‘lite off-roader’ (In need off-road capabilities to drive in snow in winter and on wet gravel roads in spring and summer) held genuine appeal.. I didn’t know about it at the time but I probably would’ve squee’d over the tent option.

    I just could.. not.. get-over how Ridiculous it looked on the outside.

  • avatar
    segfault

    How did they manage to set off the passenger’s airbag but not the driver’s? Another GM airbag nondeployment event?

    • 0 avatar
      namesakeone

      I don’t know either; I was wondering the same thing when I saw a Jeep Patriot (or Compass) in a Pep Boys parking lot that had run into something solid with its right front wheel (which was MIA, as was most of the suspension components); the impact managed to blow both side curtain airbags, but not the ones in the dashboard or steering wheel.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I don’t know what happened specifically, but it looks like the U-body platform was just ill-suited for the production Aztek. The Rendezvous wasn’t much better-looking…

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    The Aztek came out when I was in high school. I thought it was kind of a neat car. Seemed very practical, plenty of room, take camping, etc. I wanted one when I was 16, but of course, my parents could go out and afford a new car.

    Two years later I picked up a slightly-used PT Cruiser. By then the Aztek had already aged and lost a lot of it’s neat factor. On that note, the PT Cruiser was a great little car to get me through my college years (I really wanted a Impreza wagon, but anything decently-used was way out of my price range).

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I must’ve been under ten years old when it came out, so it wasn’t really on my radar. As for your story, sometimes we’re grateful that we can’t get a car when it’s just been released, because we come to dislike it. I really wanted a Chrysler Aspen around 2008-2009. Now? Can’t stand the sight of ‘em.

      • 0 avatar
        GiddyHitch

        The SUV that I lusted over in high schools was the 80-series Land Cruiser after car pooling to school in one and falling in love with the amphitheater seating and obvious quality touches after growing up around Malaise era Detroit products. Smash cut to me at the LA Auto Show seeing the $50k price tag and knowing that it was so far out of reach as to not even exist for a person from a rather shall we say, modest background.

        And yet, I still lust for one of these beasts (but in 100 series trim) for no good reason – big, heavy, fuel pigs that retain their value like T-bills.

  • avatar
    ixim

    I had a 2004 Rendezvous. Marginally better looking than the ‘Tek. Although the driving experience was akin to piloting a cabin cruiser, it was the most useful, versatile vehicle I have ever owned. Six or seven adults, check. Six people plus six carryons – no problem. Got 30mpg+ with all aboard. Zero defects over seven years and 100k. All within a Camry footprint. I still see a lot of them around north Jersey. ‘Teks – not so much, but when sighted, in great shape. Basically a tall CUV, no longer possible with today’s styling cues – sloping roof, high belt line, etc. If they revived it with a modern drivetrain…….

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Pontiac Ass-Tech (someone must have uttered those words in that meaning at some time. Having just finished the whole Breaking Bad series, I actually don’t think the car looks all that offensive anymore, now that there are BMW X6′s and Nissan Jukes out there, but I guess it was a bit of a sore thumb when it was released. As I will probably never see one over here, and will certainly never drive one, I can’t really comment on anything but the looks.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I’ve decided the 5-Series GT is more offensive than the X6.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        Definitely. The GT is an abomination, and would be offensive with any badge, doubly so with the roundel.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        As ugly as both the 3 and 5 series GT’s are, I don’t think they are offensive in any way. They blend very well in with among late 90′s Japanese and Korean hatchbacks over here. The X6 and Juke stick out a lot more, even if I really like the Juke, and get less offended each time I see an X6. (it would almost look good if it was only 2/3rds the size it is now)

        • 0 avatar
          mypoint02

          I actually like the GTs for their practicality and extra room. I’ve always liked the hatch / trunk configuration and the 5 GT is as big as a 7 series inside. I just wish the ass end of it looked better. I’d probably have one in my garage if it did.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I’m amazed the looks were considered so polarizing. To me it was just an offbeat looking crossover type SUV. The scorn this car received was deafening, it never really made sense to me.

    Compared to most of the vehicles in that segment, I actually think it’s better looking than most.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The outside is ugly, but GM really added insult to injury with that interior.

    Who ever designed Pontiac interiors from 1985-2010 should be DRAWN AND QUARTERED.

  • avatar

    Came here to link to “Bite the banana”, but you beat me to it.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    My neighbors had an Aztek and a Ferrari 456 a few years ago. They always kept the Aztek in their driveway and parked the Ferrari on the street. I could only theorize that they were afraid the Aztek would get towed for being an eyesore if left in the street.

  • avatar
    Thatkat09

    Almost bought a bright red one of these. Unlike everyone else, I like the way these look. But the base model has such itty bitty wheels. I also remember it having the same exact shifter as my Saturn sc2. Never drove one so i may actually hate it but from looks only, i think its not bad.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Why didn’t I buy an Aztek? I’ll admit I looked and even liked some of its advertised capabilities. However,…

    * Weak 6-cylinder engine. Ok, I may blame part of this on a transmission whose gears were just too tall for any real road performance.
    * Automatic transmission. To be quite blunt, a good stick would have helped this thing seriously–though if the gear ratios were the same as the automatic it wouldn’t have been enough.
    * Too small tires. Yet another example that they badly misjudged the drivetrain as they needed the small-diameter wheels just to get the thing moving–they certainly didn’t help its economy.

    In a test drive, I compared this thing to a 4-cylinder Pontiac Vibe, also with automatic. To be quite blunt, the 4 had more performance, and it was a dud too. That one NEEDED the stick and the dealership refused to have one shipped in unless I special ordered it.

    What did I end up with? A Saturn Vue, 4-cylinder stick that gave me 31 highway mpg and ran like it had an 8 under the hood. That thing was lively. Clutch plates lasted to 130,000 miles and my father-in-law loves the performance and economy–having used it to replace a 2004 Ford Explorer as his daily driver.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I find it interesting that someone removed the taillights, then left at least one in the rear cargo area. Did someone need the bulbs? The fasteners?

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Why didn’t GM also badge these as Chevys like they did as Buicks? Protecting Chevy minivans?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The mother of a girl I’m involved with just got rid of an MY05 gold colored one of these for a Traverse. She really misses it as she feels the Traverse is too big and more difficult to see out of, but the Aztec was beginning to fall apart from underneath (110Kish). I’m not sure how much it sold for, but I was told they had it sold in two days out of the Pennysaver. Somebody out there likes these.

  • avatar
    mypoint02

    I think what makes these things look so ridiculous at first glance are the puny wheels. They are disproportionately small compared to the body. No doubt the bean counters were behind this. Would it have killed them to put 17s on it though?

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    G6′s are now starting to appear in ‘U pull’ yards, soon a 2010 Aveo, ;-)

  • avatar
    crtfour

    One thing I noticed from the pictures, besides how ugly it is, is that it has rear DRUM brakes…in 2003? GM has got to be the all time king of cost cutting in the automotive world.

  • avatar
    Pebble

    Somebody get me an Aztek and a GMC Envoy XUV, stat!


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