2009 Pontiac Solstice Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Pontiac Solstice

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Pontiac Solstice Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 260 hp @ 5300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Pontiac Solstice

  • The 2009 Pontiac Solstice combines head-turning styling and respectable performance at an attractive price. But when it comes to refinement, the Solstice is bested by aesthetically less glamorous rivals.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Sexy styling, plentiful grip, blazing acceleration from GXP model, good bang for the buck.

  • Cons

    Tiny trunk with reverse-opening lid, lack of interior storage, awkward soft-top operation, low-quality interior plastics, reputation for poor reliability.

  • What's New for 2009

    The big news for the 2009 Pontiac Solstice is the debut of a new hardtop model with a removable roof, which comes in the same base and GXP trim levels as its soft top counterpart. Also added to the lineup is the soft top Solstice Street Edition, which includes upgraded standard features and a sport suspension. Remaining changes this year are feature-related. The base Solstice now comes standard with previously optional items like ABS, stability and traction control and a limited-slip rear differential. Bluetooth connectivity is a new feature this year, available on all models.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (8 total reviews)

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

New 2009 gxp

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

This car had only 2,600 miles on it when we picked it up in Florida two weeks ago. We drove it back 1,300 miles to upstate NY. Fun experience is at the top. Seats are comfortable but soft top noisey on the road. No storage to speak of but, we brought our supplies in duffle bags. Suitcases are out of the question. Some items can be place behind the seats but only with seats slid forward. 27.2 mpg driving highways and speed limits. Small gas tank (13gals.). The turbo engine is super responsive. It does get the looks and positive comments from friends. It fits the bill for what we were looking for. A 2,600 mile trip in two weeks. Top speed 145 & 0 -60 in 5.5 sec. (haven't confirmed either)



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

My first year

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

I am 5'9",165 lbs. male and find the car very comfortable. I have had no failures with the vehicle. I added an aftermarket wood, dash kit and shifter on my automatic trans. The power,window switches are just wrong and the top is a little difficult, but compared to my old MG's not that bad. I know some complain about the trunk, but it works for me. I love the car. I find some of the buff book reviews to be strangely biased towards the Miata, but my GXP is far ahead of that car. Too bad GM was mismanaged into eliminating the Kappa platform, but I got one and plan to keep it around for a while.




I hate it!!!

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

I regret every buying this car! Sure, it is fun with the top down and driving on weather permitting outings, but otherwise it stinks. My car has been in the shop three different times and had a camshaft sensor problem that was repaired. The motor seems sluggish IMO and it is fairly quick, but seems harsh for a turbo. Power is not a smooth delivery. Clutch is quirky with a notchy shift linkage. The damn thing is horribly uncomfortable and interior is cheap at best. No room for anything.The top execution could be much better. The car is not what I expected. Fuel economy on the highway is good and it looks good, but otherwise I hate it!!!! I would trade this pain in a heartbeat if I could.




Happy ending

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

I have admired the Solstice since it first appeared. I realized recently that, to buy a new one, it was now or never. Couldn't be happier. Impossible to find comparable beauty in a new roadster for under 150K. Sure, there are a few shortcomings (cup holders, etc.), but every time I am about to get irritated I just get out of the car and look at it a while. It is supremely beautiful. Even if such transcendent looks could ever become a visual cliche, it will never happen because so few Solstices are going to be around. My wife and I have had seperate cars for some time, but she just announced that she considered the Solstice to be OUR car. It does that to people.




Awesome

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

After a summer of not enough time to drive this incredible machine I am sad to say I am taking it to the dealership to have it buffed out, oil changed and tuck it in for the salty months in WI. This car is what you want it to be.. pedal to the boards and 10mpg or out on the interstate getting 40 mpg. I had the power up pkg added and will never regret it. The GXP model is def worth the little extra. My other half just got the 2010 Camaro he ordered so now we're a transforming couple! LOL He got the 426 hp SS...it goes without saying an incredible car that doesn't disappoint, accept finding a place to really open it up!




Kansas

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

The car is more than I exspected. Fun to drive has the power and the sound of a true sports car and its American made. Driving it gives you a relaxed mind set. I don't know about the car turning heads as you go by I'm enjoying it to much!



Full 2009 Pontiac Solstice Review

What's New for 2009

The big news for the 2009 Pontiac Solstice is the debut of a new hardtop model with a removable roof, which comes in the same base and GXP trim levels as its soft top counterpart. Also added to the lineup is the soft top Solstice Street Edition, which includes upgraded standard features and a sport suspension. Remaining changes this year are feature-related. The base Solstice now comes standard with previously optional items like ABS, stability and traction control and a limited-slip rear differential. Bluetooth connectivity is a new feature this year, available on all models.

Introduction

There are few cars in the $20,000-$30,000 range that can turn heads quite like the Pontiac Solstice. Even though it's entering its fourth year of production, this curvaceous roadster still commands looks from fellow drivers and passers-by. This sexy styling, along with the Solstice's able powertrain and sporty driving dynamics, have made it a sales success. For 2009, Pontiac has added even more varieties of Solstice to the menu.

Most notably, this model year sees the debut of a Solstice coupe that's available in the same base and GXP trim levels as its roadster sibling. Like the Chevy Corvette, the Solstice coupe actually has a targa-style removable roof panel. Pontiac says it's concave on the inside to allow for more headroom -- slightly more than 37 inches total. The coupe keeps the roadster's rear fenders and rear fascia, but features a slightly different taillight design, and the deck lid is topped with a sleek-looking (and functional) ducktail-style rear spoiler. And although the interior remains mostly the same as the original Solstice, the area behind the coupe's seats has been redesigned for better access to the cargo area. The result is a car that keeps the original Solstice's sexiness while offering added rigidity and versatility.

Another addition to the 2009 Pontiac Solstice lineup is the Street Edition, which combines the base Solstice's 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with the GXP's performance-oriented suspension. We're not quite sure of the logic behind putting the lower-powered engine and all-season tires on a stiffer suspension, but standard features such as air-conditioning and an upgraded seven-speaker audio system offer a level of comfort above that of other Solstice trims.

As before, the soft top 2009 Pontiac Solstice's chief competitor is the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The Solstice (as well as its twin, the Saturn Sky) may have the advantage when it comes to looks and straight-line performance, but the Mazda still beats the Pontiac in day-to-day enjoyment thanks to its more athletic personality, quicker-revving engine, a more polished demeanor and an effortless drop top (including an available retractable hardtop). The Mazda is also more practical and enjoys a vastly superior reputation for reliability. We'd take the Miata over the base Solstice roadster any day, but the powerful GXP is tougher to resist -- and even more so in coupe form.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Pontiac Solstice is available as either a soft-top roadster or a coupe (late availability) with a removable roof panel. Both body styles are available in base or GXP trim levels. Standard on both base models are 18-inch alloy wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, a tilting steering wheel, OnStar, a trip computer and an audio system with satellite radio, a CD/MP3 player and an auxiliary audio jack. Roadsters have a manual soft top with an acoustic headliner and a glass rear window with defogger. The GXP adds a turbocharged engine, performance tires, dual exhaust outlets, foglamps, a sport-tuned suspension, Bluetooth, cruise control, full power accessories, keyless entry and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Many of the GXP's convenience features are available on the base Solstice. Optional on both trims are air-conditioning, leather seating, an upgraded audio system with a six-CD changer, sport pedals and the Club Sport Package. The latter features firmer suspension calibrations for both trims as well as special wheels for the GXP. The Premium Package adds leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and steering-wheel-mounted controls.

Also available for the 2009 Solstice roadster is the Street Edition, which comes standard with the GXP's sport suspension, sport pedals, air-conditioning, an upgraded seven-speaker audio system and the Premium Package.

Powertrains and Performance

A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 177 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque powers the base Solstice, while the turbocharged 2.0-liter four in the GXP models kicks the power output up to 260 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard for either engine, while a five-speed automatic is optional. Straight-line performance is adequate with the base engine -- it goes from zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds for manual-equipped cars. The GXP is much more thrilling; in our testing, it went from zero to 60 mph in a scant 5.8 seconds.

According to the EPA, expected fuel economy for the base Solstice is 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. The GXP, despite the added performance, still turns in a respectable rating of 19/25/21 mpg.

Safety

Four-wheel antilock disc brakes, as well as stability and traction control, are standard on all Pontiac Solstice trims. Side airbags aren't offered, but in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash testing, the 2009 Pontiac Solstice scored four stars out of five for both frontal- and side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Juxtaposed with the car's exterior, the Solstice's insides are not as inspiring. The interior design would be attractive, save for an abundance of hard plastic -- a telltale sign of the Solstice's low price point. The stereo display is nearly impossible to see in bright sunlight, power window controls are difficult to reach and the car's minimal storage space can prove frustrating. Taller drivers will find adequate legroom and headroom, but hiproom is a bit tight due to the car's wide transmission tunnel. On the roadster, raising and lowering the top is a laborious task that requires getting out of the car. And although sports cars aren't expected to be practical, the odd shape of the Solstice's small, reverse-opening trunk (a smidge more than 5 cubic feet in both body styles) challenges one's weekend-trip packing ability.

Driving Impressions

When thrown into a corner, the 2009 Pontiac Solstice exhibits little body roll and substantial cornering grip. This makes the car enjoyable on a twisty road, but hard-core enthusiasts will notice that the heavy-handed steering lacks feedback and doesn't make the experience the joy it is in the perfectly sorted Miata.

The base 2.4-liter Solstice should be enough to appease the casual driver, but for those looking for a fair degree of excitement, the turbocharged Solstice GXP is the only choice. Braking performance is respectable, with a stop from 60 mph coming in the 120-foot range. The antilock system, however, can sometimes be abrupt and jerky in action.

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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs