What's New for 2007
A host of new features come on board for the 2007 Pontiac Torrent. The SUV now has four-wheel disc brakes (an upgrade over last year's rear drums), a tire-pressure monitor and a stability control system as standard equipment. On the options list, one will now find a driver information system with a trip computer, a navigation system, revamped audio systems with MP3 player input jacks, a rear-seat entertainment system and a remote vehicle-starting system.
Sized between compact SUVs and larger truck-based midsizers such as the Chevy TrailBlazer, the 2007 Pontiac Torrent is aimed at consumers desiring an easy-to-drive vehicle that's also stylish and provides plenty of room for passengers and cargo. Essentially a twin to the Chevrolet Equinox, the Torrent shares that ute's car-based platform, clean lines and beefy styling cues such as pronounced wheel arches. Differentiating the two is Pontiac's signature twin-port grille and faux skid plates on the front and rear fascias. Don't be fooled by the Torrent's rugged looks, though. This crossover is geared more for everyday driving and handling foul weather rather than off-road trail-bashing. All-season tires and so-so ground clearance confirm its status as a soft-roader.
Inside, the five-passenger Torrent SUV features a sliding second-row seat and a movable parcel shelf: Both serve to maximize passenger and cargo space. The 2007 model also looks to be the best yet in terms of features. Pontiac has added a large number of convenience items such as MP3 input jacks for the audio systems, an optional navigation system, an optional rear-seat DVD entertainment system and remote vehicle starting.
A 3.4-liter V6 is standard on the Torrent, and this engine provides strong, if not overly refined, performance that belies its modest output ratings. The "3400" V6 also returns respectable fuel economy -- expect to average 19-20 mpg. A supple ride and quiet cabin are additional qualities that make the Torrent a good choice for families who like to take long road trips. Safety has been improved this year as well, with standard stability control, better brakes, a passenger detection sensor for the passenger-side airbag and a rollover detection sensor for the side curtain airbags.
Before this year's round of improvements, we thought highly enough of the Torrent's twin, the Equinox, to award it a spot on our 2005 Editors' Most Wanted list for "SUV under $25,000." Now the Torrent faces more of a challenge, as recently redesigned rivals like the Hyundai Santa Fe, Mitsubishi Outlander, Suzuki XL-7 and Toyota RAV4 all have powerful V6 engines and optional third-row seats this year. Yet the 2007 Pontiac Torrent still scores high on most counts: It's peppy, quiet, spacious and safe. It's certainly worth consideration if you're looking for a reasonably priced urban runabout with a flexible cabin design and a long list of available features.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Pontiac Torrent is a midsize crossover SUV. It comes in one trim, and buyers have a choice of either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Standard equipment highlights include 16-inch wheels, air-conditioning, remote keyless entry, a CD player, a driver information center and full power accessories. Further optional equipment is grouped into three main option packages. The Preferred Package includes a power driver seat, remote vehicle-starting system, upgraded cloth upholstery, cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. If one orders the Preferred Package, the Premium Package with leather seating and heated front seats becomes available. There's also the Sun and Sound Package, which includes a sunroof and a premium audio system with an in-dash CD changer. A la carte options include a navigation system, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, XM Satellite Radio and 17-inch chrome wheels. An auxiliary input jack for MP3 players is included if you spring for the nav or rear entertainment system; you can also order this feature separately.
Powertrains and Performance
The lone engine offered in the Torrent SUV is a 3.4-liter V6 good for 185 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. Though the horsepower output of GM's familiar "3400" V6 is unimpressive for this segment, there's enough low and midrange torque to make acceleration adequate for most situations. Towing capacity is rated at 3500 pounds.
Antilock four-wheel disc brakes, stability control ("StabiliTrak"), traction control and a tire-pressure monitor are all standard on the 2007 Pontiac Torrent. Full-length side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor are optional. In NHTSA crash testing, the Pontiac Torrent earned a five-star rating (the best possible) for its protection of front occupants in frontal collisions and scored the same for front- and rear-seat occupant protection in that agency's side impact tests. In IIHS tests, the Torrent scored a "Good" rating (the highest of four) in frontal-offset testing.
Interior Design and Special Features
Thanks to its long wheelbase, the Torrent SUV offers plenty of room for its occupants. To make way for larger passengers or cargo, the 60/40-split rear seat can slide nearly 8 inches fore and aft. The Torrent offers 35 cubic feet of luggage space behind its rear seats; folding down those seats bumps the total to 69 cubic feet -- a healthy figure for this class. An adjustable rear cargo shelf makes loading of multiple small items easier and can also double as a picnic table. Up front, the Torrent features relatively stylish chrome-ringed gauges and a sporty three-spoke steering wheel. Most of the controls are simple in design and for the most part, the Torrent's cabin is attractive and solidly constructed. Yes, most of the dash is made of hard plastic, but tasteful metallic accents, rubber-ringed climate knobs and padded door panel armrests help atone for that sin. Storage cubbies abound, and there are also pockets in every door. Firm but somewhat lacking in lateral support, the front buckets still prove comfortable on long commutes.
For most consumers, the handling and ride balance of the Pontiac Torrent is pretty well dialed in for this class of vehicle. There's some body roll when cornering at a brisk tempo, but it is well controlled. Ride comfort is commendable and evidently takes priority over sharp handling. The Torrent's electric power-assisted steering, however, blights the scorecard with its lack of feel and somewhat slow action.