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2009 Pontiac Solstice

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2009 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. Three years into production, the 2009 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 2009 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 Roadster 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 New for 2009

A hard-top Coupe joins the Roadster. It features a liftback glass hatch and a removable roof panel. New standard equipment includes StabiliTrak stability control, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and a limited-slip differential.

Driving the Solstice

Driving Impressions The 2009 Pontiac Solstice's 2.4-liter engine has excellent low-end torque for strong launch and passing performance, yet it happily revs to its 6600-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.

2009 Pontiac Solstice Details
2009 Pontiac Solstice photo Interior

The interior has a cockpit-style layout that angles the controls toward the driver and features motorcycle-inspired gauges. Unlike some small coupes, 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 taillamps have a premium, jewel-like appearance. Like most convertibles, the Roadster looks best with its manual top tucked away, but is also nearly as tasty with it up. On the Coupe, cargo space is greatly increased, while a contoured roof panel increases head room to 37.4 inches.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The comprehensive standard equipment list includes four-wheel independent short/long-arm suspension, Bilstein coil-over monotube shocks, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, fast-ratio rack-and-pinion steering, P245/45R18 all-season tires on alloy wheels, StabiliTrak stability control, limited-slip differential, 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 four 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; the Premium Package includes leather seating and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls; and the Club Sport Package features a singe CD stereo and performance suspension while deleting OnStar, XM radio and all other options save for a rear spoiler. The Club Sport can be considered a basic version designed to keep weight to a minimum. Other available options include air conditioning, 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,. 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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2009 Pontiac Solstice Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 261 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
    8.4/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Wouldn't buy if I had driven it for a week

By on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 125,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "nice to look at"

Cons: "no room and under powered with design flaws"

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

"I have seen toy cars with more usable trunk space it's tough to get a duffle bag in. Water has a tendency of getting into the engine compartment and doing electrical damage in ordinary rain storms. I have never had a car need new door latches until this car I had to replace them on both doors. Only one cup holder and it is flimsy. the street model I own although it can get up to speed is under powered, the turbo is a definite requirement. The good points it is great looking and it handles fantastic,"

8 people out of 12 found this review helpful

LOVE this car!

By on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Design, fun to drive, gas mileage, comfort"

Cons: "Manual convertible top"

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

"Out of the 5 vehicles I own, this car is my absolute favorite. The Solstice drives smoothly, and handles corners and turns exceptionally well. I initially was concerned about driving this car in the winter, considering it is RWD- and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it drove in the snow and ice compared to a Camero. This car makes people take a second look every time I take it for a spin; and on multiple occasions I have had strangers stop me to make an offer on my car (even though it is not for sale). Words cannot describe how happy I am with this car, and if I ever find another one again for sale at a good price- I would purchase another one just for investment purposes."

1 person out of 5 found this review helpful

luv it, bought for fun, it is! 65&71yrs

By on Friday, June 12, 2015

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
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "it is a very fun car. people smile"

Cons: "no storage, learning how to pack light , fun"

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

"had 1 year now, 6/12/15. love it, wife loves it! showed to cousin they purchased one! rides like the proverbial sports car, drives like it to! very stiff suspension, u want a smooth ride, look elsewhere. we test drove several for 2 - 3 years. great car for fun ride, not a family car! luv it on trips for maybe a week."

2 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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"

2 people out of 10 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."

5 people out of 6 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."

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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