By KBB.com Editors
As a division trying to re-establish its performance car credentials, Pontiac's decision to add the Torrent SUV to its line may, at first glance, seem a bit off the mark. But, given the public's appetite for smaller, more fuel-efficient SUVs and Pontiac's new-found knack for creating vibrant and youthful vehicles, the 2008 Pontiac Torrent's creation seems a logical approach to winning over younger buyers. Although the Torrent isn't really all-new (it shares its platform with the Chevrolet Equinox), it does offer a handsome and sporty exterior, a roomy interior with an adjustable rear seat, a standard V6 engine and the option of all-wheel drive.
When it comes to solid construction, the 2008 Pontiac Torrent reaches above the domestic SUV norm while delivering ample passenger space in front and rear. Buyers who wish to customize their Torrents can obtain a fair number of accessories in addition to factory-installed options.
If you're looking for an SUV that stands out from the pack, the Torrent's attractive shape barely pokes its head past the average mark. Some controls are not as logically laid-out as they might be, and the base vehicle isn't so different from its Equinox cousin in performance, handling or ride quality.
A new trim, the GXP, adds a potent new V6 engine and a performance suspension. Base models receive a revised ride-and-handling package which includes stiffer shocks and hydraulic bushings.
Driving Impressions Generally friendly and inviting, the quiet-running Torrent is easy to drive, stays on course easily and body lean through curves is less than for some of its competitors. All told,...the Torrent feels a touch more tightly-crafted and capable than its GM mates. Handling trails import-brand level, but it's a cut above many domestic SUVs. The ride is a little better controlled than some, yielding a reasonably comfortable around-town experience. Acceleration for passing and merging is satisfactory, but on the mild side. Well-behaved most of the time, the automatic transmission is tarnished by an occasional abruptness while downshifting at low speed.
Sliding Rear Seat
All you do is lift the long bar that runs along the front of the seat, and the seat slides forward to create more passenger legroom or rearward to provide more space for cargo.
Big Interior Space
This is classed as a "small" SUV, but the interior space puts many imports to shame.
With room for five passengers, the 2008 Pontiac Torrent has a fold-flat front passenger seat that accommodates long items. The "multi-flex" 60/40-split rear bench seat adjusts fore and aft and also reclines. The Torrent is one of the easier SUVs to enter, and the rear seat provides ample leg space even in its farthest-forward position. The generously supportive and comfortable seats, however, are nearly devoid of side bolstering. Pontiac's Solstice sports car provides the steering wheel's design, and the distinctively-colored instruments have Pontiac's "signature" red backlighting, which makes them easier to read at night than in daylight.Exterior
GM marketers promote the Torrent's "European-inspired" design, complemented by traditional Pontiac styling such as its familiar twin-port grilles. Pontiac claims the widest door openings in its segment to ease entry and exit, and the rear liftgate's defogger and wiper/washer aid with visibility. Sixteen-inch tires, a sport-tuned suspension, electrically-assisted power steering and wide (61.8-inch) track dimensions help with stability. Ground clearance approaches eight inches (seven on the GXP), with cleated skid plates and short front and rear overhangs to assure favorable approach and departure angles. Despite these heavy-duty features, the Torrent isn't intended for serious off-pavement treks.
The 2008 Pontiac Torrent features a 3.4-liter V6 engine, five-speed automatic transmission, manual air conditioning, power windows and locks with remote keyless entry, tilt steering, OnStar, daytime running lights, a rear spoiler, StabiliTrak stability control, a tire pressure monitoring system, driver information center with over 20 personalization and information features, roof rails, bodyside moldings and an AM/FM stereo with auxiliary input jack, MP3-compatible CD player and six speakers. Front-wheel-drive models come with standard four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) and traction control. The GXP adds a 264-horsepower V6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, performance tires, piano-black interior trim, leather steering wheel, heated seats and a 140-mile-per-hour speedometer.
Roof-rail side-curtain airbags are optional, and a multi-position adjustable rear package shelf may be installed. Additional options include leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats (with either cloth or leather upholstery), a power driver's seat, 17-inch aluminum wheels, a moonroof, steering wheel-mounted radio controls, DVD navigation, remote starter, a Pioneer premium sound system with seven speakers and subwoofer and XM Satellite Radio. Additionally, GM's Accessories Division can supply 19 extra items to suit owners who crave a custom look.
While the 3.4-liter V6 powering the Torrent is far from a cutting-edge design, it has more than enough horsepower and torque to provide a nice balance between good acceleration and reasonable fuel economy. The all-wheel-drive system doesn't seem to change the performance much. Pontiac's adaptive five-speed automatic transmission delivers near-seamless shifts and its fifth gear helps maximize fuel consumption at highway speeds. Those seeking more performance should look to the 3.6-liter engine, which features variable valve timing for better fuel economy and produces a healthy 264 horsepower.
185 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
210 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 17/24 (AWD)
264 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
250 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 (FWD), 16/24 (AWD)
By sammy2 on Friday, February 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 91,061overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "easy to drive, comfortable"
Cons: "not good in the snow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Loved this car when I bought it. Has a blind spot in the right rear and is not good on snow covered hills in the winter. Other than that, I would buy another one if they were still made. Have taken several weekend trips over the years and it was easy driving, road well, great gas mileage on cruise."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By bdkel on Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "excellent vehicle until about 70,000 miles."
Cons: "after 70,000 little things go & are costly to fix."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I loved mine ever since the purchase even through the hard times which I will get to. The interior is so comfortable that it feels like it was built for me (my legs, my back, my butt). I have black interior and at night it is pitch black in the vehicle except for the red dash lights (very soothing for a night drive). The power of the Torrent is excellent. I tell my wife all the time that when I get another vehicle it has to have the same feel and acceleration as the Torrent. I had absolutely no problem with the Torrent until about 60,000 miles I had to replace wheel bearings, I was told they go about every 15,000 miles or so and after 60,000 it did seem like it. Cost me about $300.00/bearing at Midas (dealer wanted $800.00/bearing), however, Midas took my backing plates off and did not tell me. Another garage said that was why I was going through the bearings so fast, because there was play in the bearings from the backing plates being removed and not replaced (wearing them out faster - never go to Midas). After about 90,000 miles it seem like a lot of little things started to go all around the same time and even the little things are expensive to fix. Like a vacuum pipe that they no longer make for the 2006 and you had to buy the 2007 and on part. It's a little piece of aluminum that was no bigger than the palm of my hand and should cost about .50 cents, but it was $59.00, however, the kicker was that the 2007 piece was smaller and you had to buy an adapter to make it fit that cost $300.00! So $359.00 to replace a piece of aluminum pipe no bigger than the palm of my hand & I did the work. It was right on top and front of the motor and 2 bolts. Also changing the thermostat??? Well you can get one bolt out and the other all the way until the last thread or so, then a pipe going to the manifold keeps you from getting the bolt all the way out. So for the dealer to change your $5.00 thermostat - $300.00!!! Tranny lines have had pin hole in them for about a year and a half. Ran fine but fluid has leaked just enough now that when it is cold out, I can feel it slip the first mile or so until it warms up. Since it has 120,000, I do not want to pay a lot to fix as I will probably get rid of it soon. All I want to do is add some tranny fluid so I can get another year or year and a half out of it, however, sealed tranny. No dipstick to add fluid. So, need to get a tranny transfusion - $188.00, however, they say my fittings are corroded so I need to replace the lines just to get the transfusion done. All I want is a half a bottle of fluid put into the tranny. I took to dealer to replace the tranny lines, they said that my oil dipstick is in the way and frozen/gaulded so they have to lift the motor to go around it and it will cost more. Total - $450.00! Barely any heat in the car, finding it common with this vehicle. Finding that the dash needs to be removed to fix and is expensive - will dress warm. Starting to get a little rust around the wheel wells in the rear, however, I do park on dirt driveway sometimes and the little bit of rot/rust may be my fault (as well as the tranny line, however, not being able to add tranny fluid is ridiculous). So long story kind of short, I still have my Torrent and love it. Love the drive, look, and feel of interior and exterior, however, in these later days, with all the repairs building up, it is hard to keep up with keeping it up. I mean I do not have an extra $350.00 to through at it every few months to keep it running with bearings, struts, tranny lines, rust starting, etc. and I just feel like it is (SADLY) time to get rid of it before it becomes too much of a money pit. BUT MAN, IF I WAS JUST STARTING WITH THIS CAR NEW - I WOULD BE IN HEAVEN - LOVED IT. If you are planning on buying one, I would suggest you do, however, just be prepared to put a little money ($400.00 - $600.00) dollars into it around 60,000 miles, and plan to get rid of it around 100,000 - 110,000 miles. Good luck."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Loueee on Tuesday, October 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Interior and exterior. Sports suspension."
Cons: "Fuel economy could be better. But not too bad."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this crossover suv used and it rides great! Have no issues so far. I love the design and performance. Also interior space is great. Overall a great suv!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Susan D on Monday, August 19, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 179,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "dependable, reliable, all-around great car!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned my 2006 Pontiac Torrent for 7 years (179,000 miles), and absolutely love this car! It's been super reliable and has never had any major issues, only minor wear and tear repairs. I recently upgraded to a 2011 Chevy Equinox, only because they don't make Torrents any longer (I wish they did). Unfortunately, the car dealer only wanted to give me pennies for my Torrent, so I'm working to sell it on my own. Someday, someone else will own my Torrent."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By BR on Monday, July 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 114,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Haven;t found one yet!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"One problem after another. You name it and it has broken or fallen off. Worst car I have ever owned. Small inside. Not comfortable front or back. No cargo space. Went from a Honda CRV to this; big mistake, CRV 10 times better in all areas, even room."
1 person out of 6 found this review helpful
By B on Saturday, July 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Bought mine used about a year ago. Been a great car. Comfortable, easy to drive and no repairs needed. I expected a little better gas mileage. I get 20 to 22 on the highway but other than that would recommend this SUV."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful