Pontiac Will Bring Fuel-Sipping G3 Compact to U.S.

By KBB.com Editors on September 18, 2008 2:59 PM

Hoping to lure a larger share of buyers seeking better returns on their beleaguered gasoline budgets, Pontiac plans to add a re-trimmed version of the Chevrolet Aveo to its lineup in the spring. Wearing a new front fascia highlighted by a signature Pontiac twin-inlet grille and other minor trim enhancements, the 2009 G3 five-door hatch shares all key mechanical components with its Chevy cousin, including a 1.6-liter/106-horsepower Ecotec in-line 4 that can be paired with either the standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. With EPA economy estimates of 27 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, the new G3 also adds one more player to Pontiac's "Over 30" mpg club, joining the Vibe, G5 coupe and G6 sedan.

Susan Docherty, vice-president of Buick-Pontiac-GMC, views the G3 as a much needed and logical addition to the Pontiac product mix. "The small car segment has literally exploded in recent months, with sales up nearly 33 percent in the first six months of 2008 alone. With proven success in other markets, we felt the time was right to bring the G3 into the BPG portfolio for our U.S. customers."

Pontiac currently sells versions of the Korean-built G3 in both Canada and Mexico. While even its staunchest advocates must concede that the car is somewhat removed from the performance division's longstanding "we build excitement" mantra, the G3 may fare considerably better in the equally critical "we sell cars" competition. That's something the highly-touted and hot-performing G8 has not managed to do. To further its chances for success with the econo-crowd, the G3 will come with an impressive list of standards, including air conditioning, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with auxiliary inputs, OnStar, fog lamps and a subtle rear spoiler.