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 Marilyn on Monday, November 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice outward appearence, remote control start"
Cons: "No automatic- windows, locks, and side mirrors"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I bought this car used in the summer of 2014. She's had some trouble with the Cadillac converter and her tires after I bought her. Now hitting towards the snow time of the year, she's doing well so far. I am concerned about her steering a bit on slippery roads, but overall it's been great. She does lack a few interior things. She doesn't have automatic windows, or locks. She also has cloth seating that has stains from previous owners.And she doesn't have much leg room in the back, but as a single 5'6 girl, there is plenty of space in the front.Despite these little issues she does have remote start, and large trunk space and fold down back seats. I love my car. She's a great starter car, and I'm hoping she'll last for a long time."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By tinka on Monday, September 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 156,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"love this car - bought it new in 2007 - get 33mpg at 70mph and it has alot of pep. So sad that Chevrolet canceled the Pontiac name. This car today is ahead of anything new they make - General Motors has lost a customer. I want another one"
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Proud Owner on Friday, July 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 129,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun, sporty, comfortable and affordable to drive"
Cons: "No cruise control and extremely small rear window"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had it for almost 4 years. One accident where I had not seen the car out the back window. Very small window. The vehicle was purchased because I weighed close to 300 lbs and needed a car which I could ride comfortably for long distances. I traded comfort for cruise control. The two negatives = small rear window and no cruise control. I have been very happy with this choice. I now have my first major repair at 129,000 miles. The timing chain has to be replaced. Until this last month I was getting 32 and 33 miles per gallon. Again - great car."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Preacher Dave on Wednesday, March 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sporty feel, great gas mileage"
Cons: "passing vision"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We bought this knew for my wife and other than the recalls and regular service, it has not given us any trouble. It drives very tight and sporty with a little better comfort than most economy cars have. We like its appearance, performance and reliability even if it is a little plain. Would rather have it than any of the imports that are in its class that cost more. Personally, I think it is under rated because it is not an import. Gauges are nice and simple although 160 MPH is a little unrealistic, stereo read out is easy and large enough to see. Only complaint would be the lack of clear vision through the back windows whenever I go to pass and change lanes, but that is true to most two doors. we got the manual transmission version and added cruise and 16" allow wheels. Really sporty look and feel from that. Tires and oil changes are all we have had to do in 60,000 miles and 7 years. The sticker was 16 grand new and worth it, but we paid a little less. Books for about half that retail now. not too bad an investment for an economy car that gets an average of 30 MPG. Will tow my Harley Softail on a small trailer and get low 20s and cruise at 70 and get as high as 40MPG. love the standard tranny."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By jkenn0922 on Monday, March 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, drives well"
Cons: "little leg room, not good for tall people."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Is very reliable, I've driven this car to and from DC and to and from SC several times and the only issue it ever had was when the ignition locked up in "on" position but the local dealer fixed it up at no cost to me because it was covered under warranty/recall. I would not recommend it for tall people though; I am 5'3" and I love it, it's the perfect size. My now husband though is 6'1" and he hates the size, says it's too short and too cramped."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Average Joe on Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "quick, responsive, affordable sporty, economy"
Cons: "Reputation - perspective, not realistic."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We are the original owners with 60,000 miles. I am a retired and Certified auto tech in 5 of 8 auto fields with current certifications. I know cars. Pros - So far, no problems. Oil changes and tires are all it's required other than a little gas. $15,000 and change new, seven years, and it is worth about half that now. 1 recall without the symptoms (leaky fuel injector), but GM changed it out with a fast friendly attitude just in case. Sporty little car. I have the 5 spd manual by choice. Peppy for 140 horses and fun to drive. Insurance has been very reasonable for fill coverage. It even still has the original battery! Stereo is wimpy but ok unless you are an enthusiast. Spoiler is positioned perfectly to block the headlights of those idiots out there who get way to close to your bumper - yes, you know the ones I mean! I had an aftermarket orange moving and towing company put a hitch on it to tow my 500lb trailer and my 800 lb Harley. No problems even in the mountains of TN. It does lower the MPG down to low to mid 20's but that is normal in any towing situation. The owners manual says it is ok up to 1500lbs. my experience confirms that. Cons - back side windows offer little vision for lane change, as is true for most coupes. Headlight covers are yellowing a little early from oxidation - could be the Florida sun, not sure. A $20 kit and some elbow grease will fix that. Personal opinion - American cars get a bad Rep. Too many people think that foreign cars are better. How many recalls did "Toyo" cars have lately? Uh-huh! I rest my case on that. Perception! I have had 5 brand new GM vehicles since mid 90s and all of them went over 100,000 miles without stranding me at the dealership before i decided to buy a new car (I like new cars). I have had two foreign new cars. Currently the wife drives a 2011, $30,000 Rogue with two recalls in less than 23,000 miles. We are lucky to get mid 20's mpg and its already lost over 30% of its value! Nice ride, but that value of paying so much for it doesn't stack up for me. I root for the home team even when they they don't bring home the championship title. cars should be the same way. Why send the majority of profits to Japan owners instead of our own troubled economy. We make a decent car too."
7 people out of 8 found this review helpful