2006 Pontiac Solstice Review

Pros & Cons

  • Gorgeous lines, lots of legroom, low base price, nimble handling, strong brakes, grippy tires.
  • Sluggish engine, complicated top seals poorly, hard plastic interior, tiny trunk, no side airbags.
Other years
Pontiac Solstice for Sale
List Price Range
$8,495 - $11,525

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2006 Pontiac Solstice models

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.

2006 Highlights

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

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2006 Pontiac Solstice.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

13 years and 160,000 miles
David256,01/13/2014
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 had 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. Eventually the car started hard-shifting, especially when down-shifting. After replacing the two actuator sensors at the overhead cams, the shifting issue (mostly) went away. I've since figured out dirty oil, thin oil, or low oil contribute to the sensors' compel the car's TCM to go into protection mode, so when it does malfunction I know what to inspect/do. At 160,000 the car is very reliable, and still gets compliments. All of my children have taken turns using it as their daily driver, and they've loved every minute driving the car.
Fun, looks great, and very quirky
Mike W.,11/04/2016
2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
The Solstice is the latest two-seater convertible I've owned; previous cars include the Honda del Sol (my all-time favorite car), the Toyota MR2 Spyder, the Audi TT, Mercedes SLK 230, Mazda MX-5 Miata, and the BMW Z3. Here's what I see as the good and bad after owning my vehicle for about a month: First, it looks great. I have gotten several compliments on it already. I love the lines and the way the convertible top completely disappears into the trunk. The car is a blast to drive, and it hugs the road. There's no windscreen, but the heat blasts strong, keeping me toasty on a chilly day. The gas mileage overall has been just OK, but I did get about 33 MPG on a recent road trip. Now, for the not-so-good...this is the quirkiest car I've ever had. I didn't notice until after I had bought the car that there are no power windows or locks. I thought that just about every car had power windows and locks; you have to roll the windows up and down with the old-fashioned hand crank. The cup holders are behind the driver in the center, making them pretty useless, especially when one has to use his right hand to shift the gears. The hood release takes a scavenger hunt to find. It's kind of a pain in the butt to put the top up or down, but I don't mind that too badly; I'm spoiled because I had been driving convertibles with power tops; and with the Spyder and Miata it was simple to put the top up or down from inside the car. The build quality doesn't seem good; the leather on the seats seems like it will rip eventually, and there's plastic, plastic, plastic everywhere. With all that, I still love the car. I didn't buy it because I mistakenly thought it was a Z4; I bought it because it had low mileage, looked great, and the overall reviews from owners are very good. The bottom line is that if you can tolerate the quirks, this car is just plain FUN. I plan to keep this beauty for a long time; I bought a beater for run in the winter time.
My American English Roadster
Klaus VB,07/02/2016
2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
I have long wished for an affordable English Roadster - 2 seats, impractical, zoomy, fun car. Most of those have left the realm of affordability. So after test driving 5 times, I took a chance on this car. No regrets at all. I love how it drives, I love how zoomy it is. There are so few out there that you don't see many on the road and people think it is WAY more expensive a sports car than it actually is. Heads turn wherever I go and people approach me at the gas station to talk about it. Since it is my 'fun car', I do not worry much about the storage capacity (there is almost none). If you are looking for something to cruise in, run about on a beautiful day or drive to work (and then daydream about leaving for the day) than this is your car. ON THE OTHER HAND - I wish GM had put a little nicer fit and finish in the interior. The hard plastics are a bummer and the leather isn't great. The top is a little wonky to get up and down, but when stowed the car looks fantastic. I have had the car for over a year now and have only had to change the oil.
It is a number 60 in the first year of production
Rich,04/28/2016
2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
Love the style, very reliable handles great. Stero wonderful the looks of this car is priceless, and I feel like a millionaire driving the car in the Hamptons. People stop to say that I have a beautiful car. I really love it. Never a problem right now I have 8800 miles. Very low. But I intend to use it much more this summer.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2006 Pontiac Solstice features & specs
More about the 2006 Pontiac Solstice

Used 2006 Pontiac Solstice Overview

The Used 2006 Pontiac Solstice is offered in the following submodels: Solstice Convertible. Available styles include 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Pontiac Solstice?

Price comparisons for Used 2006 Pontiac Solstice trim styles:

  • The Used 2006 Pontiac Solstice Base is priced between $8,495 and$11,525 with odometer readings between 22087 and84596 miles.

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Which used 2006 Pontiac Solstices are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2006 Pontiac Solstice for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2006 Solstices listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,495 and mileage as low as 22087 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2006 Pontiac Solstice.

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Find a used Pontiac Solstice for sale - 2 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $15,222.

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Find a used certified pre-owned Pontiac for sale - 1 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $8,859.

Should I lease or buy a 2006 Pontiac Solstice?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Pontiac lease specials
Check out Pontiac Solstice lease specials