Without an entry-level vehicle for the past couple of years, Pontiac has decided to plug its lineup - at least partly - with a Chevrolet Cobalt derivative called the G5.

Whereas the Cobalt is available in both coupe and sedan, the G5 is available only as a two-door coupe. Pontiac appears to be relying on the G6 to fill the basic-sedan role. The G5 thus gets the Cobalt's engine/transmission options that go along with this front-wheel-drive platform.

The base model comes with a 148-horsepower 2.2-liter four-cylinder while the GT gets a 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Unlike with the Cobalt coupe, however, there is no high-performance supercharged four-cylinder G5 option. No matter the engine, you can opt for a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic.

Base models come with an assortment of power amenities - even air conditioning for your $14,400 - as well as MP3 portable music player hookup, while the GT adds a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch wheels (compared to the 15-inch steel wheels with covers for the base) four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, additional exterior trim, fog lamps, cruise control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant audio controls.


Base price: $14,400

Type: Two-door coupe

Base engine (hp): 2.2-liter DOHC I4 (148)

Optional engine (hp): 2.4-liter DOHC I4 (173)

Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel drive

Transmissions: Five-speed manual; four-speed automatic


Mileage (city/hwy): 25/34 (2.2, MT)

Safety: Front airbags, head-curtain airbags (opt.), anti-lock

?brakes (opt.)

Weight (lb.): 2,990

Basic warranty: 3/36,000

Roadside assistance: Yes

Web: pontiac.com