By KBB.com Editors
Kinship between Pontiac and Chevrolet models is nothing new. Back in 1967, for instance, when Chevrolet launched its original Camaro, Pontiac followed with a Firebird. This time, it's the 2008 Pontiac G5 compact coupe that is related to Chevrolet's Cobalt. Consisting only of coupes, Pontiac's G5 model lineup offers fewer choices than Chevrolet's Cobalt group and lacks the latter's supercharged top-end entry. Built on GM's global small-car platform and considered an "entry-level" model, the front-wheel-drive G5 comes in two trim levels, each with its own four-cylinder engine and suspension setup. A standard rear spoiler suggests Pontiac's sportier nature.
If small cars light your fire and you prefer to "buy domestic," Pontiac has an attractive answer to your quest. Youthful buyers, in particular, are likely to gravitate toward the 2008 Pontiac G5, lured by its curvy two-door profile and frisky performance, even in base-model form.
If you're searching for full-bore small-coupe performance, you might be happier with Chevrolet's Cobalt SS Supercharged model, or with other high-output compacts.
Base models receive XM Satellite Radio, head-curtain side airbags and a tire pressure monitoring sytem, while the GT trims receive OnStar and StabiliTrak stability control.
Driving Impressions Like its Chevrolet counterpart, the 2008 Pontiac G5 is a friendly little coupe. Even with the base engine and automatic, the frisky G5 responds enthusiastically to the gas pedal, while...starting off or at speed, making the GT's engine less compelling. Automatic-transmission shifts are crisp but smooth, and downshifts come promptly. Ride comfort is good on smooth highways but less so on rougher pavement, even with the base suspension. Though not quite flat in quick curves, this coupe can deal with the corners quite capably. Thick pillars and miniature quarter-pane windows hinder visibility.
Powertrain with Automatic Transmission
Even the 148-horsepower engine delivers the goods with performance that beats many small cars, which typically lose energy when fitted with an automatic transmission.
Sport-Style Front Seats
No, they're not true sports-car buckets, but snug side bolstering and an assertively firm seatback almost give the impression that you're sitting in a real sport machine.
In theory, at least, five occupants can squeeze into the G5's cozy cockpit on cloth-upholstered front buckets and a split-folding rear seat. Backseat riders had better be young and/or small, though, as heads can easily hit the roof and elbow and leg space isn't much better. Pontiac has long been the "sporty" member of the General Motors family, so white-faced sport gauges are no big surprise. Carpeted floor mats come standard, along with four cupholders, with two in front and two in back. The GT coupe also includes a cargo net. Seat bottoms are quite short, with somewhat hard cushioning but excellent support.Exterior
Built on a 103.5-inch wheelbase, the 2008 Pontiac G5 is 179.8 inches longclose to the Cobalt. Familiar Pontiac styling cues include the twin-port grille. Foglamps are included on the GT and available for the base car. Base models roll on 15-inch tires, while the GT gets 17-inch rubber on polished aluminum wheels. A "touring" suspension is installed on the base model, but the GT gets a "Sport-Tuned" setup that delivers a firmer and more direct feel and ride.
Both G5 models are comparatively well-equipped. The base G5 includes air conditioning (with air filtration), power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, XM Satellite Radio, head-curtain side airbags, a CD player with MP3 capability, tilt steering wheel and touring suspension. In addition to a larger engine, the G5 GT adds all-disc anti-lock brakes (ABS), sport rocker moldings, fog lamps, cruise control, a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel with touch controls, OnStar, StabiliTrak, a Pioneer audio system, 17-inch wheels and a Sport-Tuned suspension.
Many of the items that come standard on the GT coupe can be installed in a base model at extra cost, including ABS and the Pioneer audio system. Additional options include leather-appointed seats (GT), remote start and an in-dash six-CD changer. A sunroof is part of the base coupe's Sun and Sound Package, while the GT offers a sunroof as a stand-alone option.
In the base-model G5, a 2.2-liter four-cylinder Ecotec engine produces 148 horsepower, driving a five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. A 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter engine that uses premium-grade gasoline goes into the GT model.
2.2-liter in-line 4
148 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
152 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 (manual), 21/29 (automatic)
2.4-liter in-line 4
171 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
167 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 (manual), 21/29 (automatic)
By commuter guy (IN) on Saturday, March 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"work car-just what's needed are oil changes-have yet to replace brake pads. worried about cost of fuel."
By Phil (CA) on Sunday, February 10, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "On-Star, great mpg, appearance, handling and XM"
Cons: "Small back seat area, will hold 1 adult+2children"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Average 34 mpg on the road and 29 mpg local driving. This driver very happy with this and its overall performance. Ride is smooth and quite, On-Star is a must, with the capabilities of obtaining assistance, point to point directions verbally and on screen. A monthly report on all systems from lights, tire pressures ea. tire, oil percentage of use and needed servicing reminders. Sound system is a 5 CD multiple MP3 and Sirius/XM radio. Trunk is surprising spacious with netting. Display is choice of current mpg, outside temp F or C indicating possible icy conditions, low Fuel/estimated miles left with tank supply, miles traveled, 2 trip readings, oil change needs as a percentage, Lt/Rt tire pressures, low indication and Cell phone inclusion by buying minutes and voice activation. Steering wheel has controls for volume/channel plus Sirius/XM as well. Achieves Highway speed rapidly and passing is a boost with quick acceleration response. Lighting inside and out is more than adequate with Fog lights a part of the system. Exterior paint is actually one of the pearl types with blue and red colors under different views and lighting."
By Ben (KS) on Sunday, September 30, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Cons: "Agility, fit and finish and overall value."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Relatively economical car however low quality and performance. Engine is sluggish and the automatic transmission is clunky. Handling is sloppy for a car of that size but controllable. The 2.2L 4cyl is relatively efficient however the gas gauge is inaccurate. There is 1/8th of a tank above the full line, goes about 35mi, and the last 1/8 drops in roughly 22 miles. I'm averaging 29mpg highway but the lack of cruise control makes for painstaking long trips. Its convenient for my wife and she enjoys it for her around town trips. I would only recommend this for a high school/college age girl who needs a relatively reliable car. I would consider an older Civic or Corolla."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Chris (CA) on Sunday, September 23, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good price, sporty, good acceleration, Reliable"
Cons: "Poor clearcoat above windows on doors"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"A resonably priced vehicle and has been extremely reliable to me. i have driven it across the west coast twice now had no problems with it ever. Its a GM product if you take care of it it will take care of you!!! with a few mods here and there it can be turned into a more sportier and way more reliable car then the 2.4 lt GT edition! The only thing i can say is that it was a poor clear coat of paint on the upper portion of the doors. i has peeled and faded off of mine and i have seen it happen to quite a few others. This is a great first car to buy for a student. Or a great car to have your first loan out on. Or just a great commuter!"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By James (Canada) on Sunday, September 16, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,709overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good price and a great ride"
Cons: "If I could change one thing it'd be the interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have never had any problems and the car is up to 50K miles. This car has been very reliable. Driving the car is a lot of fun because it's very light and pretty quick for a 2.2L i4. I never get left behind in traffic, this cars got a lot of get up and go for it's little engine. I really like the exterior of the car, the interior not so much but you get what you pay for I guess. The stereo in this car is absolutely thrilling, it came with a sub woofer in the back and it works great. The quality of the interior is not so great, a lot of plastic but it's not as bad as you think. Riding in the car is very comfortable and it is also very good on gas."
By MacKadoO (AZ) on Friday, August 17, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "good price"
Cons: "small car for people my size"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have a 2009 G5 and I love it. the down falls for me is im 6 foot and the car isnt really ment for some one of my size i do fit and i do have confort but there cant be anyone behind me. there was never a day where the car didnt want to start altho there was a day it didnt want to turn off but that was due to a problem that was cought a fixed"