2009 Pontiac G3 Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Pontiac G3 Hatchback

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Pontiac G3 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.6 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 106 hp @ 6400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 27/34 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Pontiac G3

  • The subcompact 2009 Pontiac G3 is just as forgettable as its Chevrolet Aveo5 twin -- and pricier to boot. There are better choices in this segment.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Decent fuel economy, strong powertrain warranty.

  • Cons

    Meager power, paltry luggage capacity behind rear seats, questionable value.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Pontiac G3 is a new five-door subcompact hatchback competing in the U.S. market.

Full 2009 Pontiac G3 Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Pontiac G3 is a new five-door subcompact hatchback competing in the U.S. market.


When GM was casting about for a small economy car a few years back, it tapped its Korean subsidiary Daewoo, which was already making a little runabout called the Kalos. After a quick badge job, the Chevy Aveo was born, and it's been a fixture in the bow-tie fleet ever since. Apparently, GM was pleased with this rebadging effort, because it's done it all over again with the 2009 Pontiac G3. In other words, the G3 is an Aveo5 hatchback by another name -- and at a higher price.

Though far removed from Pontiac's "We Are Driving Excitement" days of old, the G3 does give the division a foothold in the increasingly popular subcompact segment. A low price and good fuel economy are prerequisites here, and the G3 technically has these bases covered with a sticker that starts under $15,000 and overall fuel economy rated as high as 30 mpg. However, the G3's $14,335 base price frankly isn't low enough for what you get. Like its cheaper Aveo5 sibling, the G3 fails to distinguish itself in any area, yet this pallid Pontiac costs almost as much as the vastly superior Honda Fit. The G3 is equipped with some basic convenience items and comes standard with GM's exclusive OnStar system, but its cabin is notably chintzier than the less-expensive Nissan Versa's. Three-door hatches like the Hyundai Accent and Toyota Yaris and are at once easier on the wallet and more pleasant to drive. The G3's combined 30 mpg (28 mpg with the automatic) isn't bad, but nor is it particularly impressive for such a diminutive car -- both the Yaris and Fit provide better gas mileage.

In years past, the Aveo has been a respectable sales success for Chevy, but choices for subcompacts have only gotten better. The same goes for the 2009 Pontiac G3, and it's not an ideal choice for this segment. You could even go with a base Aveo5 and save a couple grand, though of course you'll lose some standard equipment in the process, including side airbags. Overall, we recommend looking past the G3 to more enjoyable rivals like the Fit or Accent.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Pontiac G3 is a five-door subcompact hatchback available in a single trim level. Standard G3 equipment includes 14-inch steel wheels, foglamps, a rear spoiler, a tilt steering column, manual accessories, cloth seating, air-conditioning, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, OnStar and a six-speaker CD/MP3 stereo with an auxiliary input jack. The Preferred package adds power accessories, heated outside mirrors and keyless entry; the Cruisin' package tacks on cruise control, satellite radio and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls; and the Sport package provides 15-inch aluminum wheels and a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel. Stand-alone options include a sunroof and leatherette upholstery.

Powertrains and Performance

All Pontiac G3s are powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 106 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque. This engine is backed by a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. The former's EPA-estimated fuel economy checks in at 27 mpg city/34 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined, while the automatic drops to 25/34/28 mpg.


Front-seat side impact airbags and OnStar communications are standard features on all G3s. Antilock brakes are an extra-cost option, and side curtain airbags -- a feature increasingly common in other subcompacts -- are not available. In government crash tests, the G3 received a perfect five stars for frontal impacts and four stars for side impact protection. On the other hand, the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety deemed the similar '09 Chevrolet Aveo "Acceptable" (the second-highest ranking out of four) in frontal offset crash testing and "Marginal" (second-lowest) for side impacts.

Interior Design and Special Features

The interior of the five-passenger 2009 Pontiac G3 sports decent-quality materials adorned with metallic-look accents and several storage areas for small items. Climate controls are straightforward, though the stereo employs an array of buttons instead of more user-friendly knobs. Though the G3 offers a convenient 42 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded, that's nothing to write home about -- and the 7.1 cubic feet available behind the rear seats won't hold more than a few bags of groceries.

Driving Impressions

While the Pontiac G3 doesn't provide much in the way of vehicular entertainment, it's a respectable ride for knocking out errands or engaging the daily commute. The steering is responsive enough, and the ride is acceptable by subcompact standards. Unlike other cars in this class, we prefer the optional automatic transmission to the manual gearbox. Though the five-speed is rated as slightly more economical around town, its ratios are overly wide, and it's not especially pleasant to operate.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Cheap unreliable car

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac G3 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

My wife got this car new on a emergency.( Cheap and need it a car right away). Since she got it, it had problems with the electrical system. She took it to the dealer several times but they always give her excuses not to fix it, even thoug it was under guarranty. Car have 80000 miles and already need it a new tranny and radiator, which GM didn't want it to fix, even thoug it was under warranty, 100,000 miles power train.($5500.00 repair) at this point, the A/C is acting up, even thoug we took it to the dealer before the end of warranty, but they didn't want to fix it. So now we have a car with bad sensors ( four total at $150.00 a piece) plus airbag and tire sensors all acting up. Thanks GM!

Well...it's a cheap car

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac G3 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

I bought my G3 in August of 2009. I currently have 71,100 miles. I have not had any mechanical problems, however I have 2 camshaft position sensors go bad. This causes the car to sputter and lose power and causes a lot of jerking which is bad for the transmission. The ride is a little rough, about what you would expect in a sub-compact. Power is a joke, 12 seconds to 60 MPH, and fuel economy could be better, and other cars in it's class (from the same year model) get better gas mileage and still have better performance. On-Star never worked from the start and the dealership gave me the run around about fixing it, so it never was, not that I would subscribe to a nonsense service anyway.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Serios coil, plug and onbard

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac G3 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

DON"T BUY THESE CARS!!!! Yes, they look nicer than the Honda Fit and Yaris, and mine even came with power windows, moon roof, on-Star, sports interior and stylish wheels, BUT it is all show and no substance. The car is not even 3 years old and has had the PCM computer changed (the computer that controls EVERYTHING on the car - and would cost around $1000 if not covered by warranty, the ignition coil changed twice (each costing around $300 if not covered by warranty), and the oxygen sensors changed (each costing around $300 if not covered by warranty). Look online and the problems with the ignition coil, spark plugs and oxygen sensors are commonplace. I WILL NEVER BUY A GM AGAIN. Wake up GM!!

Love my g3

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac G3 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

I bought my g3 new july of 09, and love it, i have over 20,000 already have to have new tires :(. other than that i love it, i am a large size woman and when dealer showed me that car i laughed at him and said no way i can be comfy in that car, he proved me wrong. i only had i small thing wrong with it when i fisrt bought it. and since then it has been fine. i don't think i get that great of gas milage. but love the car.

Great car for the money.

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac G3 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

I've had this car since Sept 2009 and aside from a transmission cooler line not tightend enough at the factory (noticed the first couple of days I had it) I have had no problems. I have over 20,000 miles on it and it runs like a clock. I have not noticed any of the issues noted in other posts but I was dissappointed in the mileage I got out of the OE tires. I have already replaced them and the alignment showed everything was within spec. It's a bit of a rough ride but to be expected in this small of a car. Based on what I paid for this car brand new with full warranty I'm thrilled with it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Not a happy camper

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac G3 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

I have now had this car about a year in a half! Mind you it's my first brand new car! I thought i picked a great choice for my first new car. Well I was WRONG! My car has been to the shop 8 times! Front end problems pulling me to the left hard, driver side mirror shakes so bad i cant even see out of it when it rains or on im on the high way! Thermostat has gone out. And just yesterday i had to get the heater blower thing fix! I am trading this car in! They will not see me again!nor get my business again! It sucks gas! It doesn't ride smoothly! Worst choice i could have ever made buying that car!! I regret every day of it!

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Gas Mileage


  • 27
  • cty
  • 34
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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