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December 2004
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2005 Pontiac G6

The Good: Exterior styling is sleek. Great panoramic roof.  Quiet, smooth, and agile. Good amount of rear seat legroom.

The Bad:  Cheap light feeling in doors. Plastic abounds from steering wheel to dash.  Uncomfortable front two seats.

            We have 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.

            The G6 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. 

            Trunk 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. 

            This front 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 feeling. 

 

PRICING INVOICE RETAIL
Base Pricing 18,917 20,675
Destination 625 625
Convenience Pkg  Includes 4-Way Power Driver's Seat Adjuster, Power Adjustable Pedals, Cargo Net & F&R Floor Mats. 333 375
Premium Value Package includes Power Glass Moon Roof or Power Panoramic Roof & AM/FM Stereo w/6-Disc CD Changer in Dash.
Base Includes All Models Equipment Plus Painted Cast Aluminum Wheels.
1,579  2100 1,775   2375
Remote Starter System 133 150
Braking System, Anti-Lock • Base
(Std GT) Includes Traction Control.
356 400
Head Curtain & Front Side Impact Air Bag 614 690

 

 

  2005 Pontiac G6
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
2005 Honda Accord
LX V-6 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5A)
2005 Mitsubishi Galant
LS V6 4dr Sedan (3.8L 6cyl 4A)
2005 Nissan Altima
3.5 SE 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
2005 Toyota Camry
LE V6 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5A)
MSRP $20,675 $23,800 $22,499 $23,800 $22,380
Invoice $18,918 $21,417 $21,197 $22,011 $19,916
Basic 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi.
Drivetrain 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 10 yr. / 100000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi.
Base Engine Displacement 3.5 liters 3.0 liters 3.8 liters 3.5 liters 3.0 liters
Valvetrain 12 Valves
overhead valves (OHV)
24 Valves
single overhead cam (SOHC)
24 Valves
single overhead cam (SOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
Horsepower 200 hp @ 5600 rpm 240 hp @ 6250 rpm 230 hp @ 5250 rpm 250 hp @ 5800 rpm 210 hp @ 5800 rpm
Torque 220 ft-lbs. @ 3200 rpm 212 ft-lbs. @ 5000 rpm 250 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 249 ft-lbs. @ 4400 rpm 220 ft-lbs. @ 4400 rpm
Tires P215/60R16
all season
P205/60R16
all season
P215/60R16
all season
P215/55HR17
all season
P205/65TR15
all season
Wheels steel rims
16 in.
steel rims
16 in.
steel rims
16 x 6.5 in.
alloy rims
17 x 7.0 in.
alloy rims
15 x 6.5 in.
Power Door Locks remote power door locks remote power door locks remote power door locks remote power door locks remote power door locks
One-Touch Power Windows 2 1 1 2 1
Heated Driver Mirror Not Available Not Available Optional Optional Not Available
Heated Passenger Mirror Not Available Not Available Optional Optional Not Available
Adjustable Pedals Optional Not Available Not Available Not Available Optional
Universal Remote Transmitter Not Available Not Available Not Available Optional Not Available
Anti - Lock Brakes 4-wheel ABS - Optional 4-wheel ABS 4-wheel ABS 4-wheel ABS 4-wheel ABS
Traction Control Optional Standard Standard Optional Optional
Side Air Bag dual front - Optional dual front dual front dual front - Optional dual front - Optional
Front Headrests 2 2 2 2 2
Rear Headrests 2 2 2 2 3
Xenon Headlights Not Available Not Available Not Available Optional Not Available
Headlight Dusk Sensor Standard Not Available Not Available Standard Not Available
Anti-Theft Alarm System Not Available remote anti-theft alarm system anti-theft alarm system - Optional remote anti-theft alarm system Not Available
Navigation System Not Available Not Available Not Available DVD navigation system - Optional Not Available
City 22 21 mpg. 19 mpg. 20 mpg. 20 mpg.
Highway 32 30 mpg. 27 mpg. 30 mpg. 28 mpg.
Exterior G6 Accord Galant Altima Camry
Length 189 in. 189.5 in. 190.4 in. 192.3 in. 189.2 in.
Width 70.6 in. 71.5 in. 72.4 in. 70.4 in. 70.7 in.
Height 57.1 in. 57.1 in. 57.9 in. 57.9 in. 58.7 in.
Weight 3420 lbs. 3349 lbs. 3560 lbs. 3274 lbs. 3340 lbs.
Wheel Base 112.3 in. 107.9 in. 108.3 in. 110.2 in. 107.1 in.
Front Headroom 39 in. 40.4 in. 39.6 in. 40.8 in. 39.2 in.
Rear Headroom 36.5 in. 38.5 in. 37 in. 37.6 in. 38.4 in.
Front Shoulder Room 55.4 in. 56.9 in. 57.3 in. 56.3 in. 57.5 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 55.4 in. 56.1 in. 57.1 in. 56 in. 56.7 in.
Front Hip Room 52.7 in. 54.6 in. 54.4 in. 53 in. 54.4 in.
Rear Hip Room 51.9 in. 53.5 in. 52.9 in. 54.5 in. 54.1 in.
Front Leg Room 42.2 in. 42.6 in. 42.6 in. 43.9 in. 41.6 in.
Rear Leg Room 37.6 in. 36.8 in. 37 in. 36.4 in. 37.8 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 14 cu.ft. 14 cu.ft. 13.3 cu.ft. 15.6 cu.ft. 16.7 cu.ft.

 

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