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2008 Pontiac Solstice

Overview
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2008 Pontiac Solstice Review

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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)

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?

2008 Pontiac Solstice Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 256 Ratings for the 2006 - 2009 models.

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

car garage kept,fun to drive

By on Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,485

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fun to drive"

Cons: "has a cup holder"

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

"it also has a hard top(painted same silver)has a spoiler (you paint n put on)has a calif.car coverlow mileage,all fuilds are synecthic looks like showroom quiality"

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

This is an inexpensive roadster thats fun to drive

By on Sunday, March 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Handling, Looks, Stability. Low cost maintenance"

Cons: "Not good for the big folks."

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

"Its not built like a tank but it handles Very well. Spunky responsive and fast. Very much an eye catcher. Contrary to KBB's assessment of the trade in value, this car will sell for 13-14k all day and I have dealers offering as much as 10.5k trade in."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Fun to drive auto. Will attract wolf whistles

By on Friday, February 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun sports car to drive"

Cons: "limited room for baggage"

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

"This auto very fun to drive and it is a true sports car. This car bought by my late wife and although I have driven it in the summer only I decided to sell the car. It has been stored in my garage during the winter from Nov. to April every year."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Fun to drive & sexy styling

By on Saturday, January 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Economical to drive & SO much fun!"

Cons: "Get used to double checking side mirrors!"

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

"I LOVE my Solstice. It's great looking and fun to drive, sort of a mini muscle car in a sexy body. I get tons of comments from real "car people." The interior is comfortable but not plush, and that's okay with me. It isn't my first roadster, and I understand the need for simplicity. The only drawback in my experience is limited rear and side visibility with the top up. Check your mirrors an extra time before changing lanes, though, and you're good."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Ferrari performance GM budget

By on Friday, November 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "everything!!!"

Cons: "loss of blue book value"

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

"Bought this car due to beauty and performance. Still love this car due to its beauty and performance. Sad to see the blue book value drop so far down. It's still a head turner and still out performs the Porsche Booster ($40 k) and is far far better lookin. Have had no mechanical issues."

15 people out of 19 found this review helpful

It is great fun to drive; I enjoy the GXP power.

By on Sunday, October 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "It has a lot of power and that sports car feel."

Cons: "Very little trunk space."

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

"I just turned 72; this sports car makes me feel young again. The sports handling makes me feel like I am in full control going through the curves. The G forces of the GXP power system give me a thrill. It has 45,000 miles and has not had any issues since minor things were done during the early warranty period."

12 people out of 23 found this review helpful

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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?