Exterior styling is sleek. Great panoramic roof. Quiet, smooth, and agile.
Good amount of rear seat legroom.
Cheap light feeling in doors. Plastic abounds from steering wheel to dash.
Uncomfortable front two seats.
all heard by now how everyone on the Oprah show received free Pontiac G6
vehicles earlier this year. We were eager to review this brand new car from
the new revitalized Pontiac. GM has decided to refresh all of its cars and
Pontiac is one of the first brands to offer a model that looks and feels
like a modern stable vehicle. Our base G6 test car is soon going to be
followed by a 2+2 sports coupe, a convertible, and a high performance GTP
sedan, rounding out the G6 lineup into its own brand.
"The G6 is a game-changing car for Pontiac," said
Jim Bunnell, marketing general manager for Pontiac-GMC. "All the elements
came together in a way that emphasizes Pontiac's fresh design direction and
renewed performance spirit - and demonstrates GM's commitment to the
passenger car market."
"The benefit of the all-new
architecture allowed a clean-sheet approach, enabling us to design a great
looking, great driving car with outstanding performance, comfort and
utility," said Gene Stefanyshyn, GM vehicle line executive, midsize cars.
The exterior of the G6 is very striking. The angular clean
sheet metal does remind you that it is the year 2005. Styling is obviously
similar to the Honda Accord, but more pointed in the nose and larger in
back. Reflective-optic headlamps and projector beam fog lamps with clear
jewel like elements add flash up front. We noticed the tight fit of body
panels, and the flush kidney grille and lower bumper air intakes. The
beautiful design of the front end is perhaps the best part of this entire
G6. At the rear end tail lamps are also wedge shaped, accentuating the
slant in the body, they also glitter at night at the press of the brake
pedals. Door handles feel solid, and there is minimal wheel gap around the
tires. Overall the flush wedge shaped design is clean and quite beautiful.
The G6 is offered with a new 2.5 liter V6 engine producing 200
horsepower and 220 lb.-ft of torque. This is backed by the Hyrda-Matic
electronically controlled four speed automatic transmission without any
manual shift mode. The engine is powerful enough to move this car to sixty
in 7 seconds. We did not think the engine was as sooth as German cars, and
it good for GM workmanship. While working hard the engine is a bit brash.
We would like to see more gears on the transmission for better response
while driving. For the most part the engine is not very noticeable and the
ride is quite smooth.
We also had a chance to test
the car in wintry conditions close to zero degrees with wind chills 10 below
zero. Here the G6 did not seem like it had been tested by GM in the
winter. Wiper nozzles froze and many windows would not lower due to
freezing temperatures. The two outside rearview mirrors are also not heated
and so ice up quickly. ABS and traction control on our test car worked
well. The systems easily kept the G6 in line, cutting power at the first
hint of wheel spin and not allowing the wheels to skid or lock up.
offers a class leading 112.3-inch wheelbase, pushing the wheels to all four
corners enabling flat stable handling with minimal body roll. The front
suspension consists of a MacPherson strut design with aluminum control arms
and a direct acting stabilizer bar. The suspension is mounted on a cradle
isolated from the chassis by rubber mounts for even lower vibration and
harshness. In the rear a four-link independent suspension design is similar
to the front setup. Body roll is quite low and there is no bounce from the
shocks as was common in past GM products. The ride is also very smooth with
superbly low noise levels.
On the inside our tester was
certainly spacious. Rear seat legroom is quite good and the seats are firm
and upright. Up front the basic dash and flat cockpit layout was
disappointing. We wanted a flowing and flush design tilted towards the
driver a bit. The instrument cluster is clean and trimmed with chrome rings
just as the air vents are. The central dash with stereo and climate
controls was done in a very cheap flat plastic that we found ugly. The
stereo controls are also too much like old GM products, and the information
display was confusing with stereo and car functions built into one screen
with red text coloring.
Climate controls are simple
to use and laid out nicely but do feel cheap and overly plasticy. We did
like the touches of faux wood trim on the doors and shift lever, thankfully
these were there to make something of the interior. Vent controls do feel
solid and are not flimsy. The steering wheel in our base model was
definitely a disappointment, reminding us again of old GM products made of
plastic. This wheel was overly large and made of very cheap feeling
plastic. We would definitely order the optional leather wrapped steering
wheel. We also found that the front driver's door opens very wide which is
great for getting in but trying to grab it while you are in the drivers seat
is a bit hard.
We also did not like the
front seats, both were very uncomfortable on short and long drives. We just
could not find a good position in them. The backrest was shaped strangely
with a hard middle portion and a disappearing lower seatback cushion. The
seat bottom cushion was hard up front and very soft towards the back, making
it feel like a hole in the corner of the seat. The driver's seat did have
power height adjustment but the manual sliding function and manual backrest
should have been powered as well in 2005. We even played with the optional
powered pedals to find the perfect seating position but none of our drivers
could do so. The front seats definitely are the two items that will not
sell this car.
The G6's unique proportions
allowed many good details, including rear passenger door glass that rolls
down all the way and the available panoramic roof; a four-panel,
electronically operated sliding glass roof. Three of the four panels slide
rearward, creating a sunroof large enough for even the rear-seat passengers
to enjoy an open-air, almost convertible-like experience; the front panel
tilts up as an air deflector. A powered shade is also available to close
off the glass sunroof. Please take a look at our video showing how this
great feature works.
The optional remote start
feature came in very handy in our cold weather conditions. With a long 200
foot range, a simple push of a button on the key starts the car for 10
minutes warming things up nicely before you enter.
space is also at a maximum, with a large and wide opening and a deep storage
area. The G6 features gas-charged struts that do not interfere with cargo
when the trunk is closed. We did not like the exposed inner metal areas
especially on the trunk lid and think this should be covered. There is also
no grab handle so when the car is dirty you will get your hand dirty lifting
up the rear lid as it does not pop open all the way.
wheel drive vehicle is also quite safe with a safety cage protecting
occupants along with dual-stage front air bags, head curtain side air bags,
and seat mounted side airbags. Many of these are optional and so we would
expect you to add these to ordered vehicle. A new advanced automatic crash
notification system notifies OnStar operators which sensor has been
triggered letting them know of the severity of a crash instantly.
AACN transmits crash and location data to the
OnStar call center so that the advisor is aware of the severity of crash,
the direction of impact force, how many and which air bags have deployed,
whether multiple impacts were involved and whether the vehicle rolled over.
Our G6 6
cylinder starts off at a base price of $20,675. A premium value package
which includes 16 inch painted aluminum wheels, stereo with six disc CD
changer, and a panoramic roof for $2375. A convenience package includes
manual drivers lumbar adjustments, seatback map pockets, power height
adjustment of the driver's seat, power adjustable pedals, floor mats and a
convenience net all for $375. Front side impact airbags and head curtain
air bags are optional at $690. Brakes with antilock system and traction
control add $400. The remote starter system was only $150. This brings the
total of our test car to $24,695. This model also gives fuel economy of 22
mpg city and 32 miles per gallon highway.
Compared to cars such as the Nissan Altima,
Toyota Camry, and Honda Accord, the Pontiac G6 still does not match their
interior amenities and comfort levels. It is a great car with great ride
and handling characteristics. The interior dash and seats do need to be
improved if this car is going to compete against the Japanese rivals.
German comparisons such as the Jetta offer superior driving dynamics and a
very ergonomic interior with high quality parts and a heavier solid