Used 2008 Pontiac Torrent SUV Used 2008
Pontiac Torrent SUV

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KBB Editor's Overview

By Editorial Staff

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.


You'll Like This SUV If...

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.

You May Not Like This SUV If...

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.

What's New for 2008

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 It

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.

Favorite Features

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.

Vehicle Details


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.


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.

Notable Standard Equipment

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.

Notable Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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.

3.4-liter V6
185 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
210 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 17/24 (AWD)

3.6-liter V6
264 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
250 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 (FWD), 16/24 (AWD)


Pricing Notes

The front-wheel-drive 2008 Pontiac Torrent's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $23,500, while the all-wheel-drive model starts just over $25,000. The sporty GXP starts around $28,000 and can run as high as $35,000 fully loaded. To avoid paying too much for your Torrent, be sure to compare pricing with the Fair Purchase Price, which shows what others in your area are paying for their vehicles. The Torrent is expected to retain its value on par with other domestic vehicles, such as the Ford Escape and Jeep Compass, but trails the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Tucson.

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