|Trim||Engine||Drive Type||Trans.||0-60||1/4 Mile||Mpg EPA C/H/Observed||Source|
2009 Pontiac Solstice
|GXP Coupe||2.0L Turbo I-4||RWD||5M||5.2 sec||13.7 sec @ 102 mph||19/28/23 mpg||Car and Driver|
|GXP Coupe||2.0L Turbo I-4||RWD||5M||5.4 sec||14.0 sec @ 100 mph||19/28/---- mpg||Motor Trend|
2007 Pontiac Solstice
|GXP Roadster||2.0L Turbo I-4||RWD||5M||5.6 sec||14.2 sec @ 98 mph||19/28/18 mpg||Car and Driver|
|GXP Roadster||2.0L Turbo I-4||RWD||5M||5.5 sec||14.1 sec @ 98.7 mph||19/28/23.2 mpg||Motor Trend|
|GXP Roadster||2.0L Turbo I-4||RWD||5M||5.8 sec||14.4 sec @ 97 mph||19/28/---- mpg||Motor Week|
|Mallett LS2 V8 Roadster||6.0L V8||RWD||5M||4.4 sec||12.8 sec @ 112 mph||----/----/---- mpg||Car and Driver|
|Roadster||2.4L I-4||RWD||5M||6.7 sec||15.4 sec @ 89 mph||17/26/23 mpg||Car and Driver|
|Roadster||2.4L I-4||RWD||5M||7.2 sec||15.8 sec @ 87 mph||17/26/16 mpg||Car and Driver|
|Roadster||2.4L I-4||RWD||5M||6.7 sec||15.3 sec @ 89.6 mph||17/26/19.6 mpg||Motor Trend|
|Roadster||2.4L I-4||RWD||5M||7.0 sec||15.6 sec @ 88.2 mph||17/26/---- mpg||Motor Trend|
About Pontiac Solstice
The Solstice first made its appearance as a concept car back in 2002. It received a lot of public interest and enthusiastic reviews at the North American International Auto Show held in Detroit. That told the Pontiac bigwigs that they had a potential winner in their hands. At the time (and for many decades, in fact) Europe and Japan were lording it over the affordable roadster niche of the automotive industry. Now America is joining the fray.
When it entered the arena in 2006, it made quite an impact among buyers and insiders. It offered a very distinctive look with its sensuously fluid lines, retro front end, and huge alloy wheels. Demand was immediate, and in fact it received 7,000 orders in just 10 days. Pontiac only planned for a 1st year production of 7,000 but they soon had 6,000 more orders. Throughout its run, it was the top-selling roadster in the US
Its popularity was also bolstered by nominations for the North American Car of the Year award and Design of the Year award from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).
Should You Buy a Solstice?
The problem with buying any Pontiac is that you may have problems with spare parts availability in the future. The Internet can help with that, and of course General Motors will help as well.
So what about the Solstice in particular? It’s a shame that it didn’t have just another generation to refine its issues. If it had that extra time, the various quirks may have been eliminated.
As it is, for the most part you get undeniably gorgeous styling. But the performance depends in which Solstice you get, and there’s a good chance you’re going to have problems with quality and reliability. So it’s a gamble, and but some gambles (like the 2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe) are better than others.
Features of the Solstice
For the most part, the Solstice stayed true to the traditional roadster definition. It offered rear wheel drive, a front-mounted 4-cylinder engine, 4-wheel independent suspension, and a front to rear weight distribution that’s almost perfectly balanced. In general, it also offered a convertible soft top that was manually operated. The exception to this was the coupe in 2009 which had a targa roof. For those who don’t know what this is, it’s like a T-top without the bar in the middle.
In base model Solstices, you get a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine under the hood. It’s true that this came with variable valve timing, dual overhead camshafts, and an aluminum block. But it didn’t really give a sports car engine vibe. It seemed slow to rev up, due to the tall transmission gearing and a general lack of responsiveness. And the sound of the engine seemed ingloriously subdued, even when approaching redline.
Your better option is the GXP version, which radically boosted the acceleration due to the robust dual-scroll turbocharged, gasoline direct-injection 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. With this you get 260 HP and 260 pound feet of torque. The base Solstice took about 6.7 to 7.2 seconds to reach 60 mph, and 15.3 to 15.8 seconds to complete a quarter-mile. With the GXP roadster that was cut t0 5.5 seconds to 60 mph and a 14.1-second quarter mile. The GXP coupe from 2009 was best, with 5.2 seconds and 13.7 seconds.
The GXP also had high performance tires, more powerful brakes, and sports-tuned suspension. Its cargo space was also marginally better, and there wasn’t any frustrating convertible top to operate.
The handling for these Solstices was excellent. But precision of the Miata was superior to the base Solstice, and the Honda S2000 was better than the GXP.
Pontiac also chose to go cheap with the interior materials and you don’t get enough interior storage space for modern mobile accessories like cellphones and wallets. The small trunk for both the base and even the GXP wasn’t really all that usable.
The convertible was cursed with a top operation process that was too finicky and involved too many steps. With the coupes, the main problem was the poor visibility towards the rear.
Additional features were added during the Solstice run. In 2008, both the base and GXP versions had OnStar as standard equipment. A Club Sporst package also became available, and this offered firmer suspension tuning along with silver-painted wheels. In 2009, standard equipment for all models included stability control, ABS, and a limited-slip rear differential. Bluetooth also became available.
In many ways, the Solstice is a great roadster. It’s actually perfect for those USA fanatics who are reluctant to get foreign imports. For all its exotic looks, the Solstice is a true-blooded American.
It’s probably not going to beat the Miata and the parts for the Solstice may become harder to find eventually. But so what? Buy a 2009 GXP coupe now, and when you sell it you’re probably going to end up with a profit.
To learn more about Pontiac automobiles, visit the official Pontiac website.
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