Pontiac's answer to the Mazda MX-5 Miata is the Pontiac Solstice. The Solstice is available as a roadster and in a new coupe body style. The turbocharged GXP is a high-performance trim level. Similar cars include the Honda S2000 and Audi TT.
(Skip to details on the: Solstice GXP)
New for 2009
Changes for 2009 include the addition of a coupe body style in base and GXP trims. Antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and a limited-slip differential are standard for all Solstice models.
Sporting a hunkered-down look with a long hood and short rear deck, the Solstice has Pontiac's characteristic dual-port grille. The new coupe has a fastback appearance with a sleek roofline. The coupe has a removable center section for an open-air driving experience, but the removable center section must be left at home because there's no storage space for it in the car.
- 18-inch silver-painted wheels and all-season tires
- Optional rear spoiler
- New paint for 2009 includes Merlot Jewel
- Convertible soft-top comes in black or tan
The Solstice seats two. The wraparound instrument panel has deeply recessed round gauges with red numerals. Function follows form in terms of cargo capacity: The 5.4 cubic feet of trunk volume, available when the top is up, is in a strange horseshoe shape that limits its usefulness. When the top is down, the trunk becomes almost useless. Coupes get a storage area that's located behind passengers at shoulder level.
- Standard OnStar with Bluetooth
- Driver's seat with power height adjustment
- Tilt steering wheel but no telescoping
- Optional leather upholstery
- CD stereo with XM Satellite Radio
Under the Hood
The base Solstice is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing.
- 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 167 pounds-feet of torque
- Standard five-speed manual transmission; optional five-speed automatic
- Four-wheel-independent suspension with forged-aluminum control arms and monotube shock absorbers
For 2009, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are standard on all Solstice trim levels. The Solstice doesn't have side-impact airbags, and the car has not been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Like other Pontiac GXP trims, the Solstice GXP is performance-oriented, with more power and handling capabilities than the base model. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with direct injection makes 260 hp and 260 pounds-feet of torque, up 87 hp compared to base models. Oddly enough, the quicker car has better gas mileage than the regular Solstice when equipped with the manual transmission. The GXP is rated at 28 mpg on the highway; the regular model gets 26 mpg.
On the inside, GXP models get aluminum sill plates, embroidered floormats and a leather steering wheel. Standard on the GXP but optional on the base Solstice are steering-wheel stereo controls, cruise control, fog lamps, and power mirrors, windows and locks, with remote keyless entry. Exterior differences are minimal and include different front and rear styling, dual exhaust, and 18-inch polished alloy wheels with summer performance tires.
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