2009 Pontiac G5 Coupe Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Pontiac G5 Coupe

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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 G5 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.2 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 155 hp @ 6100 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 25/35 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Pontiac G5

  • The entry-level 2009 Pontiac G5 and G5 GT deliver a decent amount of functionality and above-average economy, but not much else.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Favorable fuel economy, smooth and quiet ride.

  • Cons

    Lacks the interior fit and finish of its competitors, cramped rear seating, limited storage space, lethargic handling.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Pontiac G5 GT drops last year's 2.4-liter engine, opting for the base model's 2.2-liter inline-4 that receives a slight increase in power and fuel economy. Bluetooth and iPod connectivity are also available for the first time.

Full 2009 Pontiac G5 Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Pontiac G5 GT drops last year's 2.4-liter engine, opting for the base model's 2.2-liter inline-4 that receives a slight increase in power and fuel economy. Bluetooth and iPod connectivity are also available for the first time.


More than any other automaker, General Motors is a big fan of taking a model and rebadging it for another brand -- the automotive equivalent of re-gifting, you might say. Sometimes, this can work to a brand's advantage. Pontiac's well-received G8, for instance, actually hails from Australia as the Holden Commodore. The 2009 Pontiac G5 was also subjected to this process. But in the G5's case, the re-gifting process is about as successful as last year's fruitcake.

The G5 is virtually identical to Chevy's largely unloved Cobalt. This adaptation is unsuccessful at filtering out the less-than-desirable traits of the original and falls woefully short compared to its compact-sport-coupe competition. While the G5 is slightly more attractive than its relative, its styling still lacks the "excitement" that Pontiac strives for.

Furthering the G5's shortcomings is this year's discontinuation of the GT variant's more powerful 2.4-liter engine. Previously, this engine gave some needed spunk to the car. Instead, Pontiac has made the 2.2-liter engine standard across the board. A disappointment, to be sure, though there is a silver lining -- the 2.2-liter engine now has variable valve timing and this, in addition to a variety of other minor tweaks, has raised the G5's fuel economy by a few miles per gallon. You might be a bit surprised to learn that the G5 is just as fuel-efficient as a Honda Civic.

Even with better mpg, however, the 2009 Pontiac G5 is largely rental-fleet fodder. There are just too many faults, such as its lifeless handling, depressing interior and overall lack of sophistication. If you're looking for an inexpensive and sporty coupe, models such as the Honda Civic, Saturn Astra, Scion tC, VW Rabbit and even the turbocharged Cobalt SS would be better choices.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Pontiac G5 compact sport coupe is offered in a base model as well as a slightly upgraded GT version. The base-model G5 comes standard with 15-inch wheels with plastic covers, air-conditioning, full power accessories, keyless entry, split-folding rear seats, OnStar and a CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. The G5 GT goes a step further with standard 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, sport rocker moldings, a revised front airdam with foglamps, cruise control, Bluetooth, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a more powerful Pioneer speaker system. When equipped with the standard five-speed manual, the base G5 is known as an XFE.

Optional on the base model is the new My Link Package, which includes 16-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded stereo with an iPod-friendly USB port, Bluetooth, enhanced OnStar features, cruise control and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. Base models can also be equipped with the Pioneer speaker system. Optional on both trims are remote vehicle start and a sunroof. For G5 GTs, Pontiac also offers the USB-port stereo and heated front seats with leather upholstery.

Powertrains and Performance

All Pontiac G5 models are propelled by a 2.2-liter inline-4 that produces a respectable 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. For both variants, the front wheels are driven by a standard five-speed manual transmission with an option for a four-speed automatic.

As expected from any entry-level compact sport coupe, performance is far from inspiring -- but for that sacrifice, you get very good fuel economy. The base G5 XFE with the five-speed manual and 15-inch wheels achieves a best-in-class 25 mpg city/37 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined. Opting for larger wheels or the four-speed auto drops those numbers, particularly the highway figure, with an auto-equipped G5 GT with 17-inch wheels achieving 23 city/32 highway and 26 combined.


Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are available as an option for the base Pontiac G5 and come standard with the GT. Full-length side curtain airbags are standard on both models, and the addition of a passenger-sensing system for 2009 improves front airbag deployment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the 2009 Pontiac G5 a four-star (out of five) crash rating for driver protection in head-on collisions. It earned five stars for front passenger protection. In side-impact testing, both front and rear passenger protection earned it four stars.

Interior Design and Special Features

The interior of the Pontiac G5 is simple and understated, with tasteful metal accents, but remains unimpressive -- due in no small part to its flimsy plastic surfaces. Unlike the class leaders, this cheap car has an interior that looks and feels the part of an inexpensive sport coupe. White-faced gauges are both easy to read and attractive, while the information gleaned from the trip computer (outside temperature, fuel range/consumption) proves useful. As reported by our editors, seat comfort is lacking -- even with the leather seats, and especially in the cramped rear quarters.

Driving Impressions

While the 2009 Pontiac G5 offers enough power for the average commuter, handling will most likely disappoint, particularly on the base model. An abundance of body roll and numb steering limit the driver's overall connection to the car -- but to the G5's credit, the ride is both smooth and quiet. In the sport-coupe segment, which leans towards driving enjoyment, the G5 trails far behind the competition.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Dependable good gas mileage

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac G5 GT 2dr Coupe (2.2L 4cyl 5M)

I bought the bright red Pontiac G5 GT coupe with automatic transmission new. I purchased it with every available option, (IE: leather, sun roof, Pioneer XM stereo, heated seats, remote start, 17 inch tires). I drive a lot of highway miles to work and I wanted a car that got good highway gas mileage and looked sporty. I now have 135,000 miles. Original tires lasted to 98,000. Replaced rear brakes at 120,000. I haven't had to replace the front brakes yet. I change oil every 4,000 miles and have most routine maintenance performed. This car has met all my expectations.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

This car is freaking amazing.

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac G5 2dr Coupe (2.2L 4cyl 5M)

Wow, whoever wrote a bad review is totally wrong and has no idea. It made me realize that a lot of people out there will never be pleased no matter what. The Pontiac G5 is the best car I've ever owned, and my previous car was a six cylinder Lexus ES300. The G5 is small for sure, but it packs a serious punch that I never expected out of a car with a 4 cylinder engine. It's faster than my Lexus was and is way more fun to drive. In my opinion it's the best economy car on the market. Seriously, the dudes (or dudettes) who wrote bad reviews need to get their heads checked because the G5 is amazing. Just wish they were still being made. I would get a new one without any type of reservation.

G5 is fun to drive!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac G5 2dr Coupe (2.2L 4cyl 5M)

Not only for teens, being a 60+ guy who wanted to try a stick shift again. Bought new, there is now over 18,000 miles on my G5 - all of it put on by me. It's a blast to drive. I'd forgotten how much punch a manual transmission provides compared to the non-premium automatics. The freeway on-ramps are fun again and driving in traffic is even much more interesting than driving an automatic. I've had absolutely no problems with the car. Mileage is over 28 mpg in town and over 35 on the highway - with regular gas and a fairly "heavy" foot. The ride is fairly quiet and comfortable. Finally, my wife loves to go out with me in our "sports car!"

I love my car

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac G5 2dr Coupe (2.2L 4cyl 5M)

The pontiac g5 is the perfect car for a teenager whos trying to save some money on gas, and still drive a nice car.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

I love my g5!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac G5 2dr Coupe (2.2L 4cyl 5M)

My dad purchased me this car because I was transferring to a university and I needed a reliable car and I absolutely love it! I have had no problems (other than the steering defect recall which GM is replacing). This car is very fun to drive, handles well, and gets great gas mileage. It doesn't have the greatest horsepower, but will get and go. When it was purchased it had about 23,000 miles and it now has around 26,700. Nothing has been replaced. I plan to keep this car until it won't go anymore. I would recommend this car for a teenager/college student or just anyone who loves a small reliable car! I wish Pontiac didn't go under!

Unhappy with the g5

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac G5 2dr Coupe (2.2L 4cyl 5M)

My 1st new car and it's been to the dealership 3 times for a clunk in the front end, which started around 7,000 miles. After replacing the rack and pinion, it still had the noise, it went back again and this time the inter. shaft and steering column was replaced, it no longer makes the noise (for now), but I have found 2 items not put back together correctly. I am not happy with the car, or the dealership I have it serviced at. The car handles bad and has since I got it, even with new tires it just doesn't handle well, I can see why the company went under!

Talk About The 2009 G5

2009 Pontiac G5 Discussions See all Started By

I don't get what you mean when you say you actually "built" your G5? But all those problems make me nervous, as my biggest complaint from my 2009 G5 is that it's leaking water through the tr...

Due to issues with the salesman being well, for lack of a better word, an [non-permissible content removed], we went to the GM dealership where I was looking at a G5....

Pontiac G5 2.9% 2.9% 2.9% - Or $1,500...

Gas Mileage


  • 25
  • cty
  • 35
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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