Junkyard Find: 2001 Pontiac Aztek AWD

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 2001 pontiac aztek awd

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.

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2 of 131 comments
  • 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!

  • Slyons My guess is they keep the 2.0 liter they have now with minor tweaks, and shoehorn in the 48V mild hybrid system that just debuted in the CX-90. Should allow for all the regular fun of wringing out the 4 cyl and bump the fuel mileage up at least a couple points. I don't think we'll see a major evolution of the drivetrain until the next next model (NF?).
  • 28-Cars-Later " as long as internal-combustion engines exist?"So... forever until society collapses, rebuilds, and then the Hunger Games begin?
  • Jeff S It would be a neat project but the 6k should include the parts car.
  • Kcflyer Why oh why does every manufacturer slop the roof so much on vehicles that are supposed to be utilitarian? Especially a three row people mover. Let the rear roof square off like an old volvo wagon for cripes sake! And get off my lawn. And don't give me the mpg noise. I'd happily give back a couple mpg for some utility in a "utility" vehicle.
  • Varezhka KISS, just like Miata always has. No exotic powertrain options, a simple 2L NA with MT with similar power output as Mazda3 and CX-30 would best match the car; as much as I have always dreamed of a rotary powered RX-5.That said, the Miata that I actually liked and driven the most was NC. It was just practical enough and comfortable enough over long distance that I can actually use it as my DD/road trip vehicle without losing the lightweight nimble feeling. ND as nice as it is lost some of that IMHO.The only other thing I'd like would be the new MazdaConnect which is so much nicer, and a less angry face.