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 Jaynie (IL) on Thursday, November 21, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Price, Fun to Drive, Reliable, Gas Mileage"
Cons: "No Cruise Control although it's fully stocked"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've had my G5 for three and a half years now. It's been driven quite a lot, and been taken on many long distance trips. It's been serviced regularly, and it has never once broken down or proven to be unreliable. I'm about ready to buy a new car, and no matter how much nicer, this car will always have a place in my heart."
By Deedee (CA) on Sunday, November 17, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"This has been a very dependable car. Good mpg and to cast to maintain. Sad to see the Pontiac band discontinued."
By Samantha (FL) on Friday, September 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value, fun to drive, sporty, good first car"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Love this car!!! So much better than the Cobalt! It speeds up well and looks sporty. Very dependable car. Good fuel mileage."
By smalltowngirl (CA) on Monday, August 12, 2013
I owned and sold this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, perfect first car, pretty"
Cons: "Small back seat- not ideal for families"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I got this car when I was 16 and had only been driving for 6 months. I could not have asked for a better first car! It lasted through my last two years of high school and 5 years of college. The back seat is small but 2 people have fit back there (although college students will put up with a lot to split gas prices). The trunk opening is small, but I have fit pretty much everything I own in that car going home on summer breaks and such. The rear folding seats help a lot in that situation! The gas mileage is fantastic and it whips around town and can get into some tiny parking spots. Downside is that it did not come with cruise control but I just put an after-market one in and it worked like a dream! Also, it is a sporty looking car. A good wash and some polish makes it look more expensive than it actually was! Now I am moving to Mexico and it will not survive on the bad roads there. I am sad to part with it but I know it is making the new owner very happy!"
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By inkdcowgirl (UT) on Wednesday, July 31, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Drives, mileage, comfort, reliable, sporty"
Cons: "Cramped interior, A/C doesn't blow hard"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I've had my G5 a year and a half now and I've had no problems with hit. For a small engine it has good acceleration. Fuel economy is between 32-40mpg highway. The car gets better mileage at higher speeds than it does in city. Drives great, takes corners good, great for road trips. Have taken it cross country from Utah to Michigan and back and it did great!! Interior is that of a sports car-- meaning it doesn't have alot of room inside. The backseat really serves no purpose :-) Trunk has TONS of space! Decent Pioneer stereo system. I tinted the windows and put black rims on it and it looks amazing! Handles winter driving better than expected."
By Suddsy (MA) on Thursday, July 18, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, great on gas, good price."
Cons: "Mine had no cruise which was odd."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This is a great car that I would recommend to anyone to start out with or for just an affordable little car to cruise around in. Other than standard repairs and the rare big deal it's been very easy to deal with and is comfortable to drive. It has a nice sporty feel when your driving despite only being a 2.2 4-cylinder. Overall I'd have to say I've been a very satisfied G5 owner."