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Pontiac: What's new for 2009

New small car, faster G8, and the Soltice gets a solid roof


2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe

2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe

Photo © General Motors


G3: (photo) Pontiac's new small car (well, new to us; they've been selling it in Canada and Mexico for a while now) is essentially a clone of the Korean-sourced 2009 Chevrolet Aveo5 with a Pontiac-specific grille and more standard equipment (including air conditioning and a CD/MP3 player). So far, Pontiac has only announced a 5-door hatchback for the US market, but they do sell a sedan version in Mexico.

G5: The 2.4 liter engine has been dropped, but the 2.2 gets a new variable valve timing system that increases both power and fuel economy. All G5s get low-rolling-resistance tires, Bluetooth connectivity, and an iPod-compatible USB port on the stereo.

G6: A 6-speed automatic transmission is now optional on the four-cylinder G6 sedan (a 4-speed automatic remains standard). XM satellite radio is now standard on all G6s, four new paint colors are available, and option packages have been shuffled.

G8: A new G8 GXP model (photo) debuts for 2009, with a 402 horsepower verison of the 6.2 liter V8 found in the 2008 Corvette, which will drive the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. A racy body kit and 19" wheels differentiate the GXP from the 361 hp G8 GT. XM satellite radio is now standard, Bluetooth phone connectivity is optional, and four colors have been added to the G8's palette. An El Camino-like pickup version of the G8, to be called the G8 ST (for Sport Truck), will be introduced for the 2010 model year. The G8 ST will get the 6.0 liter 361 hp V8 engine from the G8 GT, and will be able to haul 1,000 lbs. in the bed and tow a 3,500 lb. trailer.

GRAND PRIX: Discontinued. May it rest in Prix. (Thank you, I'm here all week!)

SOLSTICE: A new fastback coupe version of the Solstice (photo) makes its debut in mid-2009. The Solstice coupe features a removable transparent roof similar to the one found in the Corvette coupe. All Solstices get standard antilock brakes, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, and a limited-slip differential, while the OnStar system gets Bluetooth phone connectivity.

TORRENT: The Torrent gets side curtain airbags and XM satellite radio as standard; Bluetooth phone connectivity is optional, and the Torrent is available in three new colors.

VIBE: (photo) 2009 brings an all-new version of the Vibe, the 5-door mini-wagon designed in conjunction with Toyota (which sells their own version, the Matrix). The new Vibe gets sleeker styling and a full complement of safety features, including standard electronic stability control and optional all-wheel-drive.

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