2008 Pontiac G8 GT: Family Sport Sedan
July 08, 2008
There's little question that our 2008 Pontiac G8 GT possesses solid sporting credentials. I've been curious to find out how well the G8 could serve as a family sedan, however. So over the holiday break, I packed up the G8 and made a trip to visit my in-laws. Overall, I was pretty impressed with the G8 in regards to family-carting duty. Some specific observations about fuel economy, comfort and utility follow.
The Trip and Mileage
We (my wife and 1-year-old) put about 700 miles on the G8, most of this coming in the form of highway driving (70 to 80 mph) from our home in central California down to southern California and back. For the trip, I averaged 19.8 mpg. (The EPA's highway is 24 mpg.) Using the in-car mpg gauge, I noticed city mileage (for me, anyway) sinks to about 11 or 12 mpg. I managed the G8's best tank so far on this trip, 22.6 mpg, as well as its furthest distance on a tank, 351 miles.
I found the front seat to be adequate in terms of comfort but nothing more. My wife sat in back for the trip (to be with our daughter) and commented favorably about the copious amount of rear legroom and comfortable seat bolstering. (Note: the front passenger seat was not occupied.) Specific comments: 1) Sitting in the middle of the rear seat sucks because of the high hump for the driveshaft. 2) The rear head restraints aren't adjustable, but they're high enough so that most adults should be OK.
In this regard, our G8 GT isn't as comfortable as other midsize sedans. The ride is firm, though I'd say it's acceptable given the car's performance. Wind, tire and engine noise are also more noticeable than on other top sedans during highway driving.
At first, I intended to install our daughter's car seat in one of the outward seating positions. However, our G8 is lacking LATCH anchors on both sides. I thoroughly dug into the bolstering to check, and couldn't locate them. It seems that the LATCH installer guy was out taking a whiz when our G8 rolled down the line. Fortunately, there are anchors for the middle position, and that's where I put the seat. Due to noticeable rake of the seat cushion, I had to place towels under the seat so that it would rest properly. Overall, the G8 isn't as car-seat friendly as other sedans I've driven.
We had a lot of stuff to take on this trip. The G8's trunk, at 17.5 cubic feet of capacity, is a couple cubes more than most midsize family sedans'. The trunk doesn't seem as tall as other cars, but the extra length allowed us to fit a large suitcase, a medium cooler, a children's playpen, two duffel bags, a garment bag and a few other small items. The rear seats don't fold down, but there is a pass-through. The trunk lid is supported by struts.
Minor Complaints From the Trip
There's no exterior trunk lid release. The air vents don't adjust enough. The HVAC's recirculation didn't always seem to be doing its job properly. The window switches are sticky, making it hard to just crack open the windows from a close (they act as if you want express-down.)
I really liked having our 2008 G8 for this trip. If I had to drive a family sedan daily, I'd seriously consider it. And theoretically, the G8's fuel economy isn't that bad -- its combined EPA is 18 mpg, and a Malibu with the 3.6-liter V6 is at 20 mpg -- though I think we're finding that it's hard to meet EPA numbers with 361 horsepower on tap.
I'd say the G8 is a niche choice. If you're into performance, you'll love it. But because of the fuel economy and collection of annoyances, I'd say most people are going to be better off with more mainstream choices.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 6,291 miles