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2008 Pontiac Solstice

Overview
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2008 Pontiac Solstice Review

By

When Pontiac first showed the Solstice concept, the public and the press had just two words for the people at GM: Build it. And build it they did. The 2008 Pontiac 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), and the less-than-user-friendly convertible top mechanism, the Solstice comes off as fresh and original. Visually, the Solstice easily rivals such stylish competitors as the BMW Z4 and Audi TT, yet costs half as much.

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 2008 Pontiac Solstice is your 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 Significant About This Car?

New standard features include an acoustic headliner, MP3-compatible stereo with auxiliary input jack, XM Satellite Radio, Driver Information Center (DIC) and OnStar.

Driving the Solstice

Driving Impressions The 2008 Pontiac 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, 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.

Styling
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 with an exceptional level of handling response and capabilities.

2008 Pontiac Solstice Details
Interior

The interior has a cockpit-style layout that angles the 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, and 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.

Exterior

Pontiac calls it "a modern American update of the classic roadster...inspired by the romantic era of sports cars." We call it near-perfect, with taut lines, seductive curves, long hood, short rear deck, clean body sides, high beltline, dual-port Pontiac grille and wide 18-inch wheels and tires pushed to the corners for a low, aggressive stance. 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 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 alloy wheels, rake-adjustable steering wheel, leather-wrapped manual shift knob, OnStar, XM Satellite Radio, two-way power driver's seat adjuster, AM/FM/MP3-compatable CD six-speaker stereo, 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 enhanced Driver Information Center controls; 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, StabiliTrak stability control, carpeted floor mats, premium Monsoon seven-speaker audio, GM's latest OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation system and a five-speed automatic transmission.

Under the Hood

Given the modest price, we were pleasantly surprised to see the 173-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. Acceleration is strong up to about 60 miles per hour, but then drops off. If you're looking for more than just a comfortable touring car, the turbocharged GXP is the model you want.

2.4-liter in-line 4
173 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
167 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25(manual), 19/24 (automatic)

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Buying this car?

2008 Pontiac Solstice Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 246 Ratings for the 2006 - 2009 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Great riding sports car

By on Monday, June 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
7/10

Cons: "View limited by side mirrors and hump in trunk"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I have truly enjoyed driving my Solstice convertible! My reason for trading is because I'm older and the car sits pretty low to the ground, like all sports cars, limiting my ability to get in and out smoothly. The Solstice GXP has great power and accelerates quickly. The gas mileage is good getting about 22 miles a gallon. It's a beautiful car and lots of fun to drive. In the five years that I've owned my Solstice I've replaced the tires, master cylinder and fan motor (which was the most expensive at $537). It uses synthetic oil so you change it about every 4-5 months."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

own this car for 4 years. no problems ..

By on Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "looks,performance,like a big go-kart ."

Cons: "speeding tickets ..."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"love driving this car, did the fact. turbo up-grade, magna-flow exhaust, pushing 325 hp. scary fast."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Love it! And Will Never Sell It!

By on Tuesday, May 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

At a local car show

"I have had it for almost two years now, unfortunately I have gone thru a few things with this car..A new clutch(Not Common $1,500 Priv Mechanic, $1,800 Dealer), Emergency brake calibration(Super Common $150-250 Dealer), Passenger Air Bag re-calibration (Common Dealer $650), and a Passenger door handle ($15 Fix it yourself 10-30min). Even tho I have had those 3-4 Problems THAT IS THE ONLY problem that anyone in the world is really going thru with these cars. I also did a tuneup myself(Spark Plugs, Thermostat, Brakes, Oil Change, and Coolant Change) it was super easy. The Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky forums are amazing when It comes to getting information. And the community is really responsive & supportive! Highly recommend the car! I crack a lot of heads I have a "brazen inferno orange" color and all my friends & family love it! Nice convertable, Nice overall Ride."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

At a local car show

also has the hard top,painted same as car

By on Sunday, March 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"car is garage keeped no winter driving on this car looks like it just come off the line.also i bought the hard top n painted it the same as car (silver)have a spoiler but did not put it on comes with car."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Great summer vehickle and highly tuneable

By on Saturday, January 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
6/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I started with my car back in 2008 as a second owner vehicle and the reviews had come back in for the GXP and the value of the new car had worn off. I really loved it from the beginning. I had my dealership install the stage 2 turbo upgrade and boosted the GXP's performance to 290HP and then went to my local tuners and they were able to download a tune for the GXP that took us to 398HP with 410LBS of torque. Caution this voids any warranty on the car. Now I have a smaller version corvette at nearly half the price and boy what a gas this thing is to drive. This engine is still readily available in the new Mercedes CLA class and the CTA from Cadillac. Have fun with the drive!!!"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

love the gxp

By on Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "handles like a vette. Great acceleration."

Cons: "Noisy engine(high pressure fuel pump)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"The solstice is a great sports car. The gxp is exceptional. With a little massaging 300 hp is a reality.That's 13s all day long. With 0-60 in 5.3,and that my friends is SPORTS CAR!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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