2007 Pontiac Solstice

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2007 Pontiac Solstice Review


When Pontiac first showed the Solstice concept, both the public and the press had just two words for the people at GM: Build it. And build it they did. The Solstice roadster is an unqualified success, combining exotic good looks with a sturdy chassis and world-class handling. Despite the obvious use of in-house parts (the ventilation controls are borrowed from the Hummer H3 and the reverse lights from the GMC Envoy), the Solstice comes off as fresh and original. Visually, the Solstice easily rivals such legends as the BMW Z4 and Audi TT, yet it costs half as much. And while some may rightfully complain about the lack of power under the base car's hood, those critics will soon be silenced when Pontiac unveils the 260-horsepower GXP model later this year.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you covet fine four-wheeled automotive art and your idea of driving is a small, responsive and affordable two-seat sports car on a challenging two-lane road, the Pontiac Solstice is your affordable dream come true.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need ample interior storage and bring along more than a very, very small amount of luggage on the trip, you may be better off with a four-seat convertible like the BMW 3 Series or Audi A4. The Solstice provides precious little room for stuff in the cockpit and a mere 5.4 cubic feet of trunk space with the top up - and almost none at all with the top down.

What's New for 2007

The Solstice receives a two-way power driver's seat height adjuster and a Latte-colored cloth top. A rear spoiler is now available along with metallic pedals, and the optional OnStar telematics system can be configured to provide turn-by-turn navigation.

Driving the Solstice
Driving Impressions

The Solstice's 2.4-liter engine has excellent low-end torque for strong launch and passing performance, yet it happily revs to its 6,600-rpm redline when the driver's mood arises. The power rack-and-pinion...

... steering is crisp and accurate, the large four-wheel power disc brakes are strong and linear and the short-throw shifter gives smooth, precise gear changes. Due to the combination of a stiff chassis, a wide track, near 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution, perfectly tuned four-wheel independent suspension and big, handling-biased tires, cornering balance and performance are simply outstanding - even better, in some ways, than the well-respected Mazda Miata - yet the ride doesn't beat you up on lumpy surfaces. We also enjoyed the seat support and comfort and the surprising lack of road noise with the top up.

Just about everyone loves the looks of this car, and so do we.

Driving Dynamics
Despite its reasonable price, this is a truly outstanding sports car that loves the open road so much it hugs it tighter than your favorite teenage T-shirt.

2007 Pontiac Solstice Details
2007 Pontiac Solstice photo Interior

The design emphasizes a "back-to-basics, driver-focused theme" with a cockpit-style layout that cants controls toward the driver and features motorcycle-inspired gauges. Unlike some small roadsters, it has generous shoulder room and sufficient legroom for taller drivers. The "racing-inspired" bucket seats have small but useful storage pockets and ample bolsters for support during spirited cornering. We can't forget to mention that the thick, adjustable-rake steering wheel's diameter seems just right for serious driving. While some interior parts are borrowed from other GM products ( Chevrolet Corvette, Opel Corsa, Hummer H3) to save time and investment cost, every component is carefully integrated to complement the whole.

2007 Pontiac Solstice photo

Pontiac calls it "a modern American update of the classic roadster...inspired by the romantic era of sports cars." We call it near-perfect. The production design is true to the 2002 concept - taut lines, seductive curves, long hood, short rear deck, clean body sides, high belt-line, dual-port Pontiac grille and wide 18-inch wheels and tires pushed to the corners for a low, aggressive stance. It even retained its forward-opening clamshell hood. The trunk lid is rear-hinged to accept the folding top, integrated fairings behind the headrests recall racing sports cars of the past and the prominent headlamps and wrap-around tail lamps have a premium, jewel-like appearance. Like most roadsters, it looks best with its easy-operating manual top tucked away, but nearly as tasty with it up.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The comprehensive standard equipment list includes four-wheel independent short/long-arm suspension, Bilstein coil-over monotube shocks, four-wheel disc brakes, fast-ratio rack-and-pinion steering, P245/45R18 all-season tires on 18-inch alloy wheels, rake-adjustable steering wheel, power driver's seat height adjuster, leather-wrapped manual shift knob, AM/FM/CD six-speaker stereo, easy-to-operate manual cloth convertible top with glass rear window defogger and dual-stage front airbags.

Optional Equipment

There are three logically grouped packages: The Preferred Package includes power windows, locks and mirrors and remote keyless entry; the Convenience Package adds fog lamps, cruise control and a driver information center; and the Premium Package includes leather seating and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls. Other available options include a limited-slip differential, anti-lock brakes (ABS), air conditioning, carpeted floor mats, MP3-capable AM/FM/CD radio (with or without six-disc in-dash CD player) or premium Monsoon seven-speaker audio, GM's latest OnStar security and convenience system, XM Satellite Radio and a five-speed automatic transmission.

Under the Hood

Given the modest price, we were pleasantly surprised to see the 169-horsepower 2.4-liter variable valve timing (VVT) version of GM's all-aluminum DOHC 16-valve ECOTEC four-cylinder engine as standard in the Solstice instead of the 140-horsepower version from the compact Chevy Cobalt and other GM small cars. While we found this delightfully frisky engine perfectly matched to the athletic chassis, we eagerly anticipate the future arrival of the 260-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter in the upcoming GXP.

2.4-liter in-line 4
169 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
162 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 (manual), 22/26 (automatic)

2.0-liter in-line 4 Turbocharged
260 horsepower @ 5300 rpm
260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 (manual), 21/29 (automatic)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?