November 10, 2009
The G8's cabin reminds me of my older brother's basement. Descend those stairs and you'll find that the room is a bit messy, and some of the furniture looks like it belongs in a time capsule. But the couches are comfy and the vibe is mellow -- all in all, it just feels right.
So it is with the Pontiac. The car's cabin looks dated in some respects, but the seats offer just enough support and I love the way the steering wheel feels in my hands. Now if only it had pay-per-view and a Wii...
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 34,170 miles
October 19, 2009
It was nice having the 2008 Pontiac G8 GT as my weekend ride. I could comfortably transport my friends to bbq parties, safely stow away beer in the trunk thanks to the cargo net, so very easily pass slo-mo drivers on the freeway and handle my favorite 30-mph on-ramp at fun speeds.
The only thing I wasn't too crazy about -- and it's not a big deal by any means since I'm sure owners of this car will adapt accordingly -- was that there isn't an exterior trunk release button. There's the remote trunk release on the key and a button in the car, but if someone is helping you load your luggage, they'll have to wait for you to open the trunk for them.
And did I mention that the trunk release button in the car is not located on the driver side, but rather within the confines of the glovebox? H'yeah, a little inconvenient. I assume this has something to do with valet and securing your valuables in the trunk when they take it away.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 33,413 miles
October 08, 2009
In our last episode, the centrally-mounted window switches in our 2008 Pontiac G8 GT had fallen into the void. No doubt some overenthusiastic staffer and a friend had recently reenacted scenes from Sylvester Stallone's tour-de-force arm-wrestling movie, Over the Top.
Netflix can be a very dangerous thing, indeed.
By the G8 GT turned out to be much easier to fix than Lincoln Hawk's busted relationship with his son. In fact, it was so easy that I got it mostly fixed DURING my commute home while sitting stopped at a series of signals in horrible traffic. One particular signal cycled five times before I got through.
I had no instructions and no tools. I was merely bored and curious while I waited...and waited.
The interior parts of a car go on in layers and a lot of parts are held on with simple clips, so I started poking and tugging around the center console. Eventually, I discovered that the cutout for ther parking brake handle revealed an edge that moved when I tugged on it, and with care a strong plastic clip came loose. A-ha!
October 05, 2009
Before our 2008 Pontiac G8 heads out to pasture, I thought I check in one more time to see how the old car was "Holden" up. Pretty well, actually and it's such a shame this car will disappear from U.S. showrooms. Each time I drive it, the G8 reminds me how the good American Sedan could have been had the domestic automakers not been so distracted by the decade-long SUV craze. So, besides some typical wear and accidental encounters with curbs, it seems the front brakes might need some attention. Slowing from freeway speeds makes the steering wheel wiggle slightly which could mean warped rotors or the really tired front tires need replacing or both. We'll put our chassis guru, Dan Edmunds on the case to determine what's going on there. I also discovered the window switches had been by used by somebody as a fulcrum. A photo wouldn't show it well so here's a video.
Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 32,813 miles
August 19, 2009
I'm surprised no one else has noted this in the blog yet (at least not that I can tell by scanning 119 entries), but the steering wheel of our 2008 Pontiac G8 GT feels pretty nice to hold.
August 17, 2009
I know we compliment the Pontiac G8 GT a lot and we're sad to see it go the way of the dinosaurs. But I think we are all so happy to have a GM car that is better than its recent offerings that we cut it way too much slack.
Now, before you jump on me as a domestic basher, keep in mind that I recently wrote a post about all the things I like in the Pontiac G8 GT. Now it's time for counterpoint.
- at stop lights, the car shakes and idles
- when braking, the car shudders. Yes, I know it needs new brake pads and rotors. But why is that OK? Brake pads I can see; rotors already? Not so OK.
- the stereo drives me crazy. Why is there a mute button that doesn't actually mute the audio?
- As Erin mentioned before, the compass is off.
- As Scott wrote, the fuel range is all wonky.
The good outweighs the bad in this 2008 Pontiac G8. But let's not act like it was the second coming of Chief Pontiac.
There were rumors for a while that the G8 was going to become the new Caprice. Well, I learned to drive on a Chevy Caprice and I can tell you it was 200 times better than this car.
OK, have at me.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
August 10, 2009
This weekend I played chicken with the fuel level in our long-term Pontiac G8 GT. What can I say, I'm an adrenaline junkie.
After a couple of days of the car telling me its fuel level is low I grew to appreciate its video game-like low fuel graphic. Check it out in the video. But be careful. Some say it can have a hypnotizing affect on the weak-minded.
In fact, my wife says it has stopped my snoring.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 26,097
July 28, 2009
With more than 25,000 miles on the Pontiac G8 GT, here is my list of likes:
1 - big V8 power
2 - rear-wheel drive
3 - roominess
4 - suspension holds up in corners
5 - nice-looking butt
6 - subtle yet strong wheel design
7 - sticky Bridgestones
8 - strong, cold A/C
9 - low maintenance costs
10 - six-speed automatic transmission in Sport mode
Have anything to add to this list?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 25,500 miles
July 07, 2009
We've already written about how the autodimming rearview mirror in our long-term 2008 Pontiac G8 GT vibrates at highway speeds and has that distracting passenger airbag light (a consequence of it being an Australian car hastily retrofitted for the U.S. market). But I'll bring up one more issue: The compass is unreliable.
On several occasions over the holiday weekend, the compass would get "stuck" in one particular direction and cease to be of any use for 5 minutes at a time.
For example, after a decade in Los Angeles, I still get befuddled at the National/Overland exit off the eastbound 10 freeway. After exiting, I consulted the mirror as I began making a series of turns that I thought would take me to my destination. Soon realizing I'd just driven in a circle, it dawned on me that maybe "NW" wasn't really northwest. In other instances, the error was more blatant -- I'd be driving due west as the compass insisted the car was pointed "E."
Thank goodness I just installed the Google Maps app on my phone.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 24,518 miles
July 06, 2009
Nothing's more American than baseball, right? So two friends and I drove to San Diego's Petco Park in our long-term 2008 Pontiac G8 GT on Saturday to watch the Padres and Dodgers. Two of us are Dodger fans. The third friend bought our tickets in Field section 125, just left of the right-field foul pole, where he hoped Adrian Gonzalez would homer. It didn't happen. But the Padres did of course win 7-4.
One thing we all agreed on was that the G8 was a very comfortable and likable car for the nearly 300-mile trip. The only 6-footer in our group sat in back the whole time and said he had plenty of room. He also liked the adjustable rear air-conditioning vents.
June 23, 2009
As I was driving home last night in the Pontiac G8 GT, the A/C was pumping out pretty strong. I even had the fan on the lowest setting. This is something that is common in American cars. We Americans sure like our A/C cranking.
When I got home and opened the door, I realized the driver-side air conditioning vent is actually on the door. Underneath, there is a vent in the dash that gets covered by the door vent when it is closed. You would think this double vent would cut down the amount of air that flows through but it doesn't.
I don't know why I never noticed this design before.
Can you think of any other cars that have this setup?
Here's how it looks when the door is closed.
June 02, 2009
In this age of Internet shopping, I'm not the only one here who has my very important Web purchases shipped to the office instead of my house. Fear of having packages stolen from my front porch wins out over the possibility of the Edmunds' receptionist making a crabby face at my personal junk. (Although honestly, she's way too cheerful and nice to chastise annoying staffers).
So when UPS delivered my new 5'x8' Pottery Barn rug to Santa Monica, I needed a car that could easily carry it 33 miles south to my Long Beach home. And our 2008 Pontiac G8, with its double-wide pass-thru connecting the trunk to the backseat, stepped up with enthusiasm.
Now about that armoire I ordered yesterday...
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 22,650 miles
May 26, 2009
Our Pontiac G8 GT's term is almost complete, but I managed to squeeze in another rotation before it's gone. Coincidentally, it was almost one year ago that I first drove our G8. Much of the experience this time around has been familiar. The sedan is still silly fast, especially when already rolling; it takes great restraint to obey the speed limit when driving on lightly trafficked freeways.
The G8 is noisier on the freeway than I recall it being 11 months ago, though. In particular, there's notable wind noise from the passenger-side mirror or door area that I don't remember. And assuming my memory is correct about such things, the suspension damping also seems a little softer, leading to a bit more body roll during initial turn-in for cornering.
Even so, I gained renewed fondness for the G8. It's not perfect by any means, and it won't likely be around much longer. But any car enthusiast needing a family sedan would be remiss if he or she didn't add the G8 GT to their comparison list.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 22,209 miles
May 07, 2009
After more than 20,000 miles the interior of our long-term 2008 Pontiac G8 GT is holding up wonderfully. The seats, steering wheel, shifter and dash would all look new after a good scrubbing. But there is one spot showing some age.
The above photo is of the top of the rear seat. It's the top of the seat's center section that folds down to create a trunk pass through and that button is how you release it from the rear bulkhead. Notice how the upholstery has pulled away from the button's plastic trim exposing the padding underneath.
Disappointing, but the top of the rear seat does get a lot of sun. Obviously it's having an effect.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief
May 07, 2009
Earlier this week I posted negatively about the G8's rear cupholders. Basically I said there are none. Obviously that is technically incorrect, but I stand behind the claim simply based on the fact that the cupholders that are there are useless.
Hold on, hear me out.
In most cars the rear cupholders are part of the center armrest that folds down when needed. This is how it is in my wife's Passat. Good system. Works well. But the G8's cupholders are not in the center armrest, they're on the back of the center section of seat that folds down to create a pass through to the trunk. Therefore when in use the rear passengers are not only exposed to this gaping hole to the trunk, they're essentially forced to rest their arms on that unpadded hard piece of plastic you can clearly see in the photo.
Dumbest thing I've ever seen. Somebody at Holden really screwed the pooch on this one.
What do you think? Does the G8 have rear cupholders or not?
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief
May 05, 2009
This probably seemed like a good idea back in 2007. Pontiac figured it would single out the first 888 G8s that made it to the States with a little extra detailing. Those lucky enough to score a G8 from that first batch off the boat received a G8 with this special emblem on the dash and...well, that's about it really.
Now that Pontiac is gearing up for its farewell tour next year, we can't help but wonder if these G8s might someday hold a little extra value. Sound ridiculous? Well so did those stupid horns on Plymouth Road Runners, and look how geeked guys get about those today.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor
May 04, 2009
This morning I posted that our long-term 2008 Pontiac G8 GT did not have auto up or down windows. That was not correct, and as usual I got the barrage of RTFM comments.
Embarrassed by the error I walked out to the car and checked. Here's the deal. The G8 does not have auto up windows at all, but its two front windows are auto down, sorta.
Yeah, sorta. Here's the thing: You have to hold the button for a couple of seconds to activate the feature. It takes so long that the window is nearly halfway down before you get to let go of the button. This is different than most cars, which allow you to just push the button once quickly, and it fooled me into thinking the G8 did not have auto down windows at all.
While we're on the subject, I really like the G8's console mounted window switches. Ergonomic convention says they should be on the door, but I like them on the console like they are in our E46 M3. What do you think?
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 20,624 miles
May 03, 2009
1) To improve weight distribution the G8's battery is in the trunk.
2) It has more comfortable seats and better ergonomics than the Cadillac CTS.
3) It's entire rearseat does not fold down, but its center section does, so long items that are not too wide can come along for the ride.
4) There are no cupholders for its rearseat passengers (The two in the center fold down
section are so lame they don't count.) (Sorry cocarguydj.)
5) Only the G8's two front windows feature auto up and down. (thanks cocarguydj and carguy622)
6) It does not require premium gasoline, nor does it use expensive sythetic oil.
7) It'll out drag race a Dodge Challenger R/T 6-speed.
8) Its 6-speed automatic has a Sport mode that really works, and it matches revs perfectly when you downshift it manually.
9) It has more tire noise than it should.
10) When you use its 361 hp to burn its Bridgestones through first and second gear it really pisses off the hottie behind you in the SLK55 AMG.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 20,614 miles
January 26, 2009
Here are two reasons I'd spend my own money on a Pontiac G8. 1) The G8 GT made my morning commute feel so short, I kept driving past the office simply because I wanted to enjoy the car more. 2) After 5 days of mainly family use - park, mall, church, grandma's house - not one person blurted out "it's too bumpy." Let's just say a certain 35 year old woman and a certain 2 year old girl MAY have uttered that phrase a few times in recent months when riding in various, uh, EUROpean sedans.
Oh, wait I have a third reason - I never once felt the sadly familar kick of a toddler shoe against the back of my seat. In my book that's an American hat trick. Where do I sign?
Is there another sedan that does all that the G8 does (V8, rear-drive, roomy back seat, tons of power, decent handling, sharp looking) for around $32,000?
Brian Moody, Senior Automotive Editor@ 17,344 miles
January 12, 2009
The last two times I've signed up for the Pontiac G8 and settled myself into the driver seat, the mild but persistent stench of feet has wafted its way to my nostrils. At first I thought that it was the more well-rounded scent of locker room funk because it also had a slightly steamy, stuffy quality, but this time 'round the distinctly identifiable foot smell stood out (over the weekend, it eventually developed a slight cigarette aftertaste, er aftersmell, but that was once I had gotten used to the toeishness). Even though it's not overwhelming in strength, it still made me wish we had a supply of Airwick Stick Ups in our test car supply stash next to the waterless car wash sprays, dirty chamoix (what's the plural of chamois?) and jugs of wiper fluid. (Unfortunately, I couldn't find a YouTube clip with the jingle "Stick it to 'em - with Stick Ups!" If you grew up in the '70s and '80s like me, that'll be stuck in your head for the rest of the day now. You're welcome.)
After confirming that the odor wasn't self-generated and then checking for wayward sweatsocks left under the seat by one of my esteemed colleagues and finding none, I am left to wonder what it is that's causing the stink. A trip to the car wash today (pictured) helped a little bit. I'll be interested to hear a report from the next editor who gets seat time in it. Any G8 owners fightin' a funk in their cars out there?
Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 16,625 miles
December 01, 2008
After about a week with the Pontiac G8 GT, I've decided that it's not the kind of "family sedan" I would ever choose to own. Don't get me wrong, I can definitely see its appeal: plenty fast, looks great, roomy back seat.
But there are also a lot things that I don't like, and they outweigh the elements that I do like.
November 24, 2008
The Pontiac G8 nails most of the big things. Great price, tight handling, eager engine. This weekend marked my first time behind the wheel, and I was pretty taken. This Pontiac knows how to bring the funzies. I wish it came with a radar detector.
It nails some of the smaller things, as well. Though its center stack is a jumble and there are a few misaligned panels present, I like the overall look of the cabin. And I love the turn signal stalk, which feels supple and perfectly weighted. It's the kind of stalk that feels like it belongs in a more expensive sedan, and using it was a pleasure. L.A. drivers are notorious for their unwillingness to signal when making lane changes. Maybe the cure for this irritating habit lies with the G8, and its well-made stalk.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 13,413 miles
October 29, 2008
When I was driving our Pontiac G8 home last night and in to work this morning, I could swear that something weird was going on with the steering wheel. It certainly felt as if my right hand was closer to me than my left. Even looking at the wheel seemed to back this up. I've noticed this before in other cars (a Z4, a Cobalt SS), but it was the first time I noticed it in our G8, although I haven't driven it much.
To check for sure, I got out of the car and eye-balled the wheel from the side. As the picture shows, it looks like the wheel is angled slightly to port. But I knew that wasn't exactly proof since I could take a picture and make any steering wheel look like that. So I went for the tape measure. I taped the tip of it on the bottom edge of the spoke where the silver bit meats the leather bit, then pulled the tape to a spot on the metal driver seat head rest support. I then repeated on the opposite side, making sure I placed everything in equal spots. I discovered that the wheel's right side was about 0.5 inches closer to the seat than the left side. I measured again to double check and I confirmed the distance. I even had a witness to the proceedings.
So I'm not crazy and my arms are not different lengths. However, it's still pretty annoying.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 11,638 miles
October 28, 2008
Normally I don't ask for help for things like unsticking a jar lid, carrying my own luggage or getting things down from the top shelf. If you ask me if I need help, I'll usually reply, "I got it."
But when I got in our 2008 Pontiac G8 last night and tried to release the hand brake I found myself in a helpless position. I had tried several times to release the brake, pressing that button down with both thumbs while pulling up at the same time. But whoever drove the G8 before me apparently yanked the handbrake up so hard that it didn't have any more ratchets left to unstick it. I wouldn't give up though and continued to press down with my thumbs so hard til they were throbbing and I was all sweaty from the effort.
Since it was the end of the day and most of editorial was gone I thought I was SOL. Guess I'll have to take the leftover Smart after all. But then I saw one of our editors walking into the garage. I explained my situation and how I tried several times to unstick the brake.
Much to my chagrin, he jumped in the car and with one easy one-handed press of the button released the brake. Bah!
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 11,675 miles
September 26, 2008
At lunch today, several of your favorite editors piled into our long-term 2008 Pontiac G8 GT. There was a sale at Fred Segal. (You can't live in LA if you're not shallow, so don't bother telling us we're shallow and extravagant. We already know.) I rode in the G8's backseat on the way there and couldn't believe how roomy and comfortable it was. On the way back, our copy editor Doug Lloyd (6'-1") took a turn in back and proclaimed it equally so.
I realize the Pontiac G8 is big and thus should be comfortable, but I'd honestly thought its Australian-market packaging would make it tight in back. On the contrary, this backseat is as comfy as a Toyota Avalon's.
Erin Riches, Edmunds Senior Editor
September 26, 2008
I've got a
debilitating issue thing for things being sharp and in focus. So,
imagine my dismay when I found out that nothing in our Pontiac G8 GT's rear view mirror is
sharp. Every time I used the mirror to check for cops (let's be honest, that's what you
REALLY use it for) I did a double-take and blinked to make sure it wasn't my eyes just
playing tricks on me. Upon closer inspection it looks like the mirror is made up of Mylar,
but it does a good impersonation of used aluminum foil. It's cheap. And once you flick the
day-night mirror into night mode, after having the light bounce off the headliner, the mirror
becomes an ever-changing Rorschach test of headlights. By the time I got home I was convinced
I was followed by two dragons, a flying saucer and King Arthur himself. It also vibrates
pretty badly even though the connection to the windshield is solid.
Did I mention the very poorly placed "Passenger Air Bag" light? No? It sucks. It's distracting in broad daylight and does not dim when the headlights are turned on. If it were my car I'd take apart the mirror, rip that bulb out and step on it. Better yet, I'd just replace the mirror with one from another GM car. It really is one of the only mis-steps in an otherwise really cool car.
And who ordered the "Old Man Exhuast Package" on this car? This car has a 6.0 liter, 361 horsepower V8. I'd like to hear it. We need to do whatever this guy did.
Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 9,563 miles
September 16, 2008
A few weeks back I harped on the wonky speedometer in the Nissan GT-R. The only part anyone'd regularly use without being hauled to the slammer is mired in the soup at the bottom, and steadfastly equal spacing throughout the 220 mph sweep means the daily-use part comprises less than 90 degrees. I scrounged an old Audi photo to show how it should be done.
Add our 2008 Pontiac G8 GT to the "done correctly" list. It's an 180 mph speedo--faster than any of us will ever go, yet Pontiac's use of unequal spacing--10 mph increments up to 100 mph, 20 mph increments thereafter--means that the usable portion is spread over 150 degrees. And the speeds at which we usually travel on the highway are right at the top, as they should be.
Here's another thing this Pontiac G8 GT currently does better than our GT-R: it runs.
Dan Edmunds, DIrector of Vehicle Testing @ 9333 miles
August 08, 2008
Dig this. Sure such tire pressure readouts on instrument panels are commonplace today, but not really on a car costing about $30,000. And yet, there it is between the tachometer and speedometer of our long-term 2008 Pontiac G8 GT. This car just keeps surprising me. It's easily the best vehicle GM sells in America today.
That's right, I said it. I think the G8 GT is better than the Cadillac CTS and the Buick Enclave. As good as those two vehicle are, when you look at the Pontiac's price, performance and package it's easily the best of the GM's best.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 7,028 miles
August 04, 2008
I don't share all of the same reservations that my compatriot Ed has (see here) regarding our long-term 2008 Pontiac G8's interior. In the G8's refreshing lack of shiny accentry, GM shows a contemporary perspective on cabin design.
Save for the gear selector shaft and the badge on the steering wheel, everything that is silver in color in the G8's interior has a matte finish. Why is this important? Because an interior should never distract its driver, and chrome accents do exactly that--they shine reflections.
If I had my way, chrome would be outlawed from cabins. Penalties would be levied on automakers found applying chrome--their decision-makers would be forced to drive across Arizona at midday in said chrome-laden vehicle.
Matte silver accomplishes the designer's task of brightening up the cabin without the downsides of fake chrome (which also shows fingerprints and has a tendency to flake off).
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 6,941 miles
July 25, 2008
After a late night photo shoot, I was heading home across downtown LA. This was the first night I had gotten to drive our G8.
I'm really liking this car. It shows a lot of promise that American cars are and can be great. The enigine is reverberating off the tunnel walls and I'm having great ol' time. Though I'm normally not a fan, I was in the mood for some George Thoroghgood and the Destroyers or Lynard Skynard as I blasted down the dark empty streets.
As I'm unfamiliar with the car and driving at night, I briefly looked down at the stereo as I'm driving. It has a nice volume knob, but it doesn't have a tuning knob. The dial opposite of the volume is a Menu control. It's a pet peeve of mine to not have a tuning knob. Instead you have to toggle the Track switch.
I find the lack of a tuning knob very irritating. Sure, if I was an owner I'd get used to it, but that doesn't mean I'd give a pass to a feature I think sucks.
Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer
July 02, 2008
In our Pontiac G8 road test, we noted the interior seems to have been inspired by Audi's design playbook. At night, the controls and gauges illuminate in Audi-like red and white.
However, there's something missing in this photo...the dopey gauge display.
May 06, 2008
I've heard a lot of great things about our G8 GT. It's fast, it's roomy, well built even. There's hasn't been much said about the interior though and now I know why. It's not a disaster, but for $30K it's not pretty... The cheesy dashboard gauges are utterly pointless, and the rest of the center stack looks like it was pulled from another car. The switchgear isn't exactly top quality either.
Then again, it does great burnouts. I kind of like it.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 2,981 miles