Junkyard Find: 2001 Pontiac Aztek AWD

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

It takes a lot for a 21st-century vehicle to make it into this series, and the Pontiac Aztek has no problem qualifying. Here in Denver, you see Azteks all over the place, presumably because they make sense for the outdoorsy lifestyle that’s so big here (you also see a lot of Vanagon Syncros, presumably because there are lots of masochists here). That means that they’re going to break something not worth fixing and show up at the local self-serve wrecking yard, and I will photograph them. Today’s Junkyard Find Aztek is in excellent condition and appears to have every single option available when new, from heads-up display to air-mattress-inflation compressor. Let’s check it out.

If you’re going to go into the mountains in the winter, you want your Aztek to have Versatrak AWD.

This must be the first letter of the Aztek Alphabet.

The owner’s manual is still here.

This is the sort of “we’re-gonna-tow-this-heap” form used by angry apartment-building managers.

I’m tempted to pull a heads-up speedometer display out of a GM car of this era, just to tinker with it. The dash on the Aztek is so deep, however, that it seemed like too much hassle to break out the tools.

The interior is very nice for a 14-year-old car that was sufficiently unloved to get towed away and junked. I couldn’t check the odometer, because it’s digital.

Yes, the Aztek came with an air mattress. This one doesn’t have the tent, though perhaps I didn’t look hard enough.

Seems like this thing really would be good for camping trips. Too bad about the ugly.










Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Mechaman Mechaman on Feb 18, 2015

    Being a mechanic is a lot like being a school teacher. If you get the schedule-maintained cars/prepared and motivated kids, you have to really be a bust to fail. If you get the rattletrap junks/kids with wack family situations, you gotta be REALLY good to shine.

  • Chee- Chee- on Jan 23, 2023

    I think that Aztek was worth saving. It had so many cool things in it!

  • Bd2 I wonder how TTAC is celebrating this JuneTeenth? Rolling around naked in hyundai flavored mud somewhere like they usually do?
  • Wjtinfwb I'd like to see a Ford/Mazda relationship restarted. Both companies have some car guys keeping the flame alive and could develop a sports car slightly bigger than a Miata and pick and choose from each other's parts bin to put together some attractive powertrain combo's. Even a Mazda 3 AWD with the 300HP EcoBoost 2.3L, manual and AWD from the Focus RS would be welcome. Even better, a factory Miata V8 with the 480 HP Coyote (i know it wont fit...) and a manual gearbox. And how about a CX-5 with a 2.7L EcoBoost V6 with AWD and an chassis tuned for sport. Lots of possibilities.
  • Blueice Patient 28, sorry, but it is Oktoberfest. Bring a kegof Kraut beer and we will 50% you.
  • Bd2 Probably Toyota, Hyundai is killing them these days.
  • Wolfwagen If Isuzu could update this truck and keep the cost between $25K - $30K they would sell like ice pops on dollar day in a heat wave.
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