2009 Pontiac Solstice Convertible Review | Edmunds.com

2009 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 173 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • 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.

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.


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.


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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

First car

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Vehicle: 2008 Pontiac Solstice

I received this as my first car when I first started driving, and I can honestly say it's been the best car I have ever driven. For 15k, you get an engine that feels just as powerful as a 911. It has very sexy angles that perfect it. Go pontiac!

Feel like a kid again

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Pontiac Solstice

Bought this car , a week ago and WOW!!!! I have had my fair share of great fun machines over the years , just to mention a few , 65 GTO convertable , a triumpth gt6, 69 firbird transam,a grifith (289 hi po with webbers etc it was a rocket ship)etc then I went into my big 4 wheel drive phase lol, the last of which was an avalanche 3/4 ton with 8.1 motor, so I have had experance with many hipo machine , but have never had any more fun than this car has given me . it is the scca model 2.4 5 m I bought it for a resonable cost and it only had 7,000 miles on it and gm certified car it is absolutly flawless . The fun I have already had is great ,top is not a big deal to put up or down

Great car with some small

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Pontiac Solstice

I've had a base model for over 2 years now. I'm very happy with the performance, handling, and gas mileage. The car is beautiful and I've got some great and interesting compliments on it. It is great fun and I love it, but there are some bad points. As several others have said, the interior design is lacking. No storage space, bad cup holders, the temperature control is one of the worst I've seen (should have been more like my 2000 Firebird). I don't know why people complain about reliability. I have over 60,000 miles already (fun to drive, daily driver)and have had little to no problems. Too bad Pontiac folded, GM needs to keep producing these some how.

Not fun

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Vehicle: 2008 Pontiac Solstice

I drove this car for two years. Continually took it back to dealer for various leaks. Handled terribly compared to my Miata. Poorly and cheaply constructed. After two years I could see this car could not be relied on for the long haul. I sold it and bought a Honda Civic which is solid reliable, much better milage and handled more like a sports car than the Solstice. Good ridance. Stay away from.

I love this car!!!!!!

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Vehicle: 2008 Pontiac Solstice

I bought my new 08 Solstice(base) 5 weeks ago and am loving every minute of it. Most of the reviews list similar negatives which are true, but as for the storage issues, lack of a spare tire, fussy top operation, plasticky interior and ridiculous cupholders, etc..., I would not want any of these items improved if it compromised the beautiful looks or low price of the car. Performance in my base model, while nothing exciting, is adequate. I am 6' 215 lbs and the car is plenty comfortable, although I am wishing I had gotten power windows, due only to the fact that the window crank protrudes in to the area where my left leg rests and is a bit uncomfortable. Did I mention that I love this car?

Very satisfied

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Pontiac Solstice

After selling a Honda S2000 over year ago I decided to jump back into the vert world. The Solstice really wasn't in the running until I got the $3000 dollar coupon from my GMCard. I paid just over 16.5k for a brand new '08 with the wheel package, Monsoon radio (a must), and a few other goodies. The car stickered at $26,062. An unbelievable deal and I'm pleasantly surprised with the ride, handling and even the performance of the 2.4 ltr. The fit and finish is great and the materials aren't as cheap as I had expected from a GM product. This may just be the best car deal I've ever made.

Talk About The 2009 Solstice

2009 Pontiac Solstice Discussions See all Started By

2009 Solstice GXP, Wicked (copper), premium package, other niceties like upgraded audio and sport pedals, etc. With GM dealers needing to sell cars, got this $32,900 MSRP car for $26,900 out-the-door....

Want a great Made in USA Pontiac convertible? - go with the Solstice. (I owned one b4 this G6 thing) Solstice / Sky Holds excellent resale value. The chassis is made for driving (unlike the G6 whi...

I have no clue if we'll see any concept cars or prototypes at NAIAS in January - the rumor is that a Camaro concept will be shown there. Follow the example of the Solstice - it was a show car in 2002,...

Read more about the 2009 Pontiac Solstice

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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