2006 Pontiac Solstice Convertible Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Pontiac Solstice Convertible

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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 Solstice Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 177 hp @ 6600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Pontiac Solstice

  • With strong performance, a sexy look and a value-oriented price, the 2006 Pontiac Solstice is a very attractive package. But if you're an enthusiast seeking the most driving thrills for your car-buying dollar, test-drive the MX-5 Miata before signing on the dotted line.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Gorgeous lines, lots of legroom, low base price, nimble handling, strong brakes, grippy tires.

  • Cons

    Sluggish engine, complicated top seals poorly, hard plastic interior, tiny trunk, no side airbags.

  • What's New for 2006

    The Pontiac Solstice is an all-new rear-drive roadster for 2006.

Full 2006 Pontiac Solstice Review

What's New for 2006

The Pontiac Solstice is an all-new rear-drive roadster for 2006.


Shortly after GM product czar Bob Lutz signed on to help enhance the company's product line, he asked Pontiac designers to come up with a rear-wheel-drive roadster concept. They called it the Solstice, and response was so positive at the 2002 North American International Auto Show that Lutz made it his mission to see the concept translated into a production vehicle. Twenty-seven months later (a blink of an eye in automotive terms), the first rear-wheel-drive, two-seat Pontiac roadster was rolling into showrooms.

The first thing people notice about the Pontiac Solstice is its shapely body. Hyrdroformed body panels give it seductive compound curves and flowing lines. True sports car features include rear-wheel drive, a four-wheel independent suspension, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels and a near 50-to-50 weight balance. For power, the Solstice relies on a 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine rated at 177 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. A close-ratio five-speed close-ratio manual transmission is standard, while a five-speed automatic will become available later in the model year. Opening up the car's manually operated top reveals a roomy interior.

Overall, we're impressed by the grip and fun factor offered by the 2006 Pontiac Solstice. It's a sexy, affordable and truly American sports car. Naturally, there are some minor downsides. The top is not particularly easy to lower, for instance, and the car's low price has seemed to have also dictated the use of a lot of low-quality interior materials. And though no one really expects a roadster to be practical, the Solstice's trunk is smaller than usual. Our suggestion is that if you're an enthusiast looking for the best driving experience the budget-roadster category has to offer, go for Mazda's MX-5 Miata. The Pontiac roadster, although fast, just doesn't offer the same connection to the machine.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2006 Pontiac Solstice comes in one trim. Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, a manually operated top with a glass rear window and defogger, a tilt-adjustable steering wheel and a six-speaker audio system with an in-dash CD player. Available options include air conditioning, power windows and doors, remote keyless entry, leather seats, a couple of upgraded sound systems with MP3 playback, cruise control, OnStar telematics and satellite radio.

Powertrains and Performance

Power comes from a normally aspirated 2.4-liter inline four that makes 177 hp and 166 pound-feet of torque. The engine is partnered with a five-speed manual transmission. For those who don't like to shift gears, an automatic will be available in April 2006.


Standard on the Pontiac Solstice is four-wheel disc brakes. ABS is available as an option but side airbags and stability control aren't offered.

Interior Design and Special Features

With 42.7 inches of legroom and 38.5 inches of headroom, the Solstice feels roomy with the top up or down. Wraparound dash and high door sills surround the driver like the cockpit of a fighter jet, and bolstered seats are comfortable and supportive. Still, the cabin is marred by acres of hard plastic. The retractable top found on the Pontiac Solstice doesn't seal very well along the back edge, leading to wind noise on the highway. Putting the top down requires the driver to turn a latch on the windshield, pop the rear deck lid with a button in the glovebox, then get out of the car and manually fold the top down into its well before slamming the rear deck closed. Putting the top back up requires a similar process, with the added chore of snapping the buttresses into place by hand. It's not difficult, but is tedious compared to the MX-5's one-handed operation. We're also not fans of the Pontiac's trunk, which is so small it's virtually useless.

Driving Impressions

When thrown into a corner, the 2006 Pontiac Solstice exhibits little body roll and moderate understeer until you hammer the throttle, then the car rotates slightly. It won't swing its tail out on command like the Mazda, but for most drivers the car's substantial lateral grip and quick steering make it a fun and engaging canyon companion. Its engine, however, won't win any accolades from enthusiasts. Though it makes more power than the Miata's 2.0-liter, it revs slower than Mazda's four and crudely hangs on to revs when you back off the throttle. Gear spacing in the transmission is also very wide, which exacerbates the engine's lazy acceleration.

Read our Pontiac Solstice Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

6 years and 100,000 miles

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Vehicle: 2006 Pontiac Solstice 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

I bought my '06 Solstice in 2008, when it had about 15K miles. Upon delivery the top fastening hook was damaged, and the rear end was bad (differential too noisy to be OK). The water pump has a small leak, too. A dealership replaced the rear end as a warrantied item, and I fixed the top. Nearly 85K miles later, the water pump seal was finally passing enough coolant to warrant replacing the pump. I got the car out of the shop Saturday, and today marked 100K miles on the odometer. Overall this car has been a very good car, very satisfying to drive, and has never stranded me.

Nice ride

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Vehicle: 2006 Pontiac Solstice 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

My Solstice is my first convertible after years of dreaming of owning a convertible; of ANY kind. I have driven and researched many kinds of convertibles. The Solstice turned out to be a real deal on many levels; since Pontiac is no longer in business the 1st year production models became something of a collector's item, it's fun to drive, easy to maintain and affordable. No disappointments. A cool car and I just love it in RED.

Do not buy this car

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Vehicle: 2006 Pontiac Solstice 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

i would warn anyone against buying this vehicle. I bought mine a year ago with very low mileage and still in warrenty. recently I noticed the service airbag light coming on and also that i could not get the car into 4th gear. took it to the local GM dealer and was told it would cost $700- $800 to fix the airbad and another $1500 to fix the transmission. I am looking at $2500 or more to get the car back to where i can sell it or trade it. the car has a rough ride and no trunk at all. it is not a very practical car. they said the transmission is made in Taiwan so no telling how long it will be before i get parts or my car back. this is a nightmare. stay away from this car.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Learning experience

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Vehicle: 2006 Pontiac Solstice 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

Owning the car was fun, obviously it is nice to look at and definitely attracts attention. Before this car I was use to smooth riding coupes or sedans so this was a change in road feel. I realized that I enjoyed driving a smoother ride much better, so am going to trade it in. i also purchased the manual transmission which has become a hassle now that i live in a city with endless red lights. I felt like the engine stuttered a little at times in third. It has never broken down on me or anything like that, but I definitely miss a bigger four door car with a smoother ride.

Chrome tire rims

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Vehicle: 2006 Pontiac Solstice 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

My Car is 3 1/2 years old, and I do love it. I have 14,000 miles on it now. However the tire rims are chrome plated. I just found out that my front right chrome rim has shredded inside making the interior of the rim like shredded razor blades ruining my tires. It has ruined two front tires which cost about $325.00 each. I would recommend not getting the chrome tires and I am calling Pontiac GM on Monday and I hope they replace the tire rims and check my other three tires for the same problems. My first flat tire I almost had a serious vechicle accident. The entire tire shredded. The dealership would not tell me the reason why this happened. This is a serious danger to Soltice Drivers.

The solstice rocks

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Vehicle: 2006 Pontiac Solstice 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

Overall I love the car, however GM should have worked on expanding the leg room for the driver and the passenger. The seven speaker sound system is great to listen to and even though its a four cyclinder, it still has some pickup to it.

Talk About The 2006 Solstice

2006 Pontiac Solstice Discussions See all Started By

2006 Solstice Order Bank ... will become available on Thursday, March 10th which will allow dealers to begin inputting Preliminary Solstice Orders. Please keep in mind that Preliminary Orders on the O...

I bought new manual Torrid Red, black interior, 18 inch painted wheels 06 GTO. I traded my 2006 Pontiac Solstice....

have a 2006 but no problems with rattling or top leaking...the VW bug convertible has reliability issues....the solstice is a rear wheel drive car and has different driving characteristics than a FWD ...

Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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