2009 Pontiac G5

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2009 Pontiac G5 Review

By KBB.com Editors

Kinship between Pontiac and Chevrolet models is nothing new. Back in 1967, for instance, when Chevrolet launched its original Camaro, Pontiac followed with a Firebird. This time, it's the 2009 Pontiac G5 compact coupe that is related to Chevrolet's Cobalt. Consisting only of coupes, Pontiac's G5 model lineup offers fewer choices than Chevrolet's Cobalt group and lacks the latter's supercharged top-end entry. Built on GM's global small-car platform and considered an "entry-level" model, the front-wheel-drive G5 comes in two trim levels, each sharing an improved 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, but with differing suspension setups. A standard rear spoiler suggests Pontiac's sportier nature.

You'll Like This Car If...

If small cars light your fire and you prefer to "buy domestic," Pontiac has an attractive answer estimated at 37 miles per gallon on the highway. Youthful buyers, in particular, are likely to gravitate toward the 2009 Pontiac G5, lured by its curvy two-door profile and frisky performance, even in base-model form.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're searching for full-bore small-coupe performance, you might be happier with Chevrolet's Cobalt SS Supercharged model, or with other higher-output compacts.

What's New for 2009

Improvements to the 2.2-liter engine yield better fuel economy without any loss of performance. New features include an iPod-compatible USB port on the radio and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity as part of the standard OnStar 8.0 package.

Driving the G5
Driving Impressions

Like its Chevrolet counterpart, the 2009 Pontiac G5 is a friendly little coupe. With the 2.2-liter engine and automatic transmission, the frisky G5 responds enthusiastically to the gas pedal, while...

... starting off or at speed. The four-speed automatic-transmission shifts are crisp but smooth, and downshifts come promptly. Ride comfort is good on smooth highways but less so on rougher pavement, even with the base suspension. Though not quite flat in quick curves, this coupe can deal with the corners quite capably. Thick pillars and miniature quarter-pane windows hinder visibility.

Powertrain with Automatic Transmission
GM has added Variable Valve Timing (VVT) to the G5's 2.2-liter engine, bumping up both horsepower and fuel economy. The 155-horsepower engine delivers the goods with performance that beats many small cars, which typically lose energy when fitted with an automatic transmission.

Sport-style Front Seats
No, they're not true sports-car buckets, but snug side bolstering and an assertively firm seatback almost give the impression that you're sitting in a real sport machine.

2009 Pontiac G5 Details
2009 Pontiac G5 photo Interior

In theory, at least, five occupants can squeeze into the G5's cozy cockpit on cloth-upholstered front buckets and a split-folding rear seat. Back-seat riders had better be young and/or small, though, as heads can easily hit the roof and elbow and leg space isn't much better. Pontiac has long been the "sporty" member of the General Motors family, so white-faced sport gauges are no big surprise. Carpeted floor mats come standard, along with four cupholders, with two in front and two in back. The GT coupe also includes a cargo net. Seat bottoms are quite short, with somewhat hard cushioning but excellent support.


Built on a 103.5-inch wheelbase, the 2009 Pontiac G5 is 179.8 inches long – close to the Cobalt. Familiar Pontiac styling cues include the twin-port grille. Foglamps are included on the GT and available for the base car. Base models ride on 15-inch low-rolling-resistance tires, while the GT gets 17-inch rubber on polished aluminum wheels. A "touring" suspension is installed on the base model, but the GT gets a "Sport-Tuned" setup that delivers a firmer and more direct feel and ride.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Both G5 models are comparatively well-equipped. The base G5 includes air conditioning (with air filtration), power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, XM Satellite Radio, head-curtain side airbags, a CD player with MP3 capability, tilt steering wheel, OnStar and touring suspension. The G5 GT adds all-disc anti-lock brakes (ABS), sport rocker moldings, fog lamps, cruise control, a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel with touch controls, StabiliTrak, a Pioneer audio system, 17-inch wheels and a Sport-Tuned suspension.

Optional Equipment

Many of the items that are standard on the GT coupe are optionally available with the base model, including ABS, leather seats and the Pioneer audio system. Additional options include leather-appointed seats (GT), remote start and an in-dash six-CD changer. A sunroof is part of the base coupe's Sun and Sound Package, while the GT offers a sunroof as a stand-alone option.

Under the Hood

Standard on both the base and GT model is a newly-improved 2.2-liter four-cylinder Ecotec engine producing 155 horsepower, driving a five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. Last year's 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter engine is no longer available.

2.2-liter in-line 4
155 horsepower @ 6100 rpm
150 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/35 (manual), 24/33 (automatic), 23/32 (automatic, GT), 25/37 (XFE)

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