Used 2009 Pontiac Solstice Convertible

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Pros & Cons

  • Sexy styling, plentiful grip, blazing acceleration from GXP model, good bang for the buck.
  • Tiny trunk with reverse-opening lid, lack of interior storage, awkward soft-top operation, low-quality interior plastics, reputation for poor reliability.
Other years
Pontiac Solstice for Sale
List Price Estimate
$4,984 - $8,156

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2009 Pontiac Solstice models

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.

2009 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2009 Pontiac Solstice.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Solstice Overall
Richard Lund,09/24/2016
2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
This is a very stylish little car. The fit and finnish is very good. Like it's look from every angle. Top up or down. Plenty of power, great handling, very good brakes and we have power windows, locks, air conditioning which is very adequate and I love the 18 inch tires on this little car. Holds the road amazingly well. Had a Corvette before this and I get just as much pleasure from this. I think Pontiac did a great job on the design, fit and finish of this car. Who knows what would have eveolved if Pontiac had stayed in business. It seems to be economical and service at other GM dealers shouldn't be a problem. Love the Bluetooth, on-star and CD player. Lots of technology considering this is a 2009 vehicle. Have since moved it to Arizona. Had it serviced at the local Buick dealer and was very pleased on that process. Looking forward to enjoying it in the cooler winter months.
A sporty little conv' rarely need to brake
daveB,08/23/2019
2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
Its not the fastest , but handles so well, with a classic point and shoot philosophy. You look out from the somewhat cramped but i always fit cockpit, over the long hood and sense your about to drive something special. Although the 2.4 is a little wheezy, row the gears quickly, hold gear till 6000 rpm's and changing with purpose and you'll be doing 60 in under 7 seconds. It loves back roads, and with the little side windows up its not too noisy either. Once, you understand the wonkiness of the convertible top operation it all makes perfect sense and down gives the car a great line and a completely different look than with the top up!. had mine almost a year very well maintained had low miles, and it needed nothing. You'd never guess its 10 years old!
Recently Acquired Base Solstice in 2019
halnwheels,09/17/2019
2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
Having owned 2 Fiat X1/9 cars (bought new) back in 1978 and 1986, I have returned to the roadster with my recently acquired 2007 Pontiac Solstice. This is simply a sexy car. No doubt about it. Everyone loves it when they see it. As cheap as people say the interior is, it seems suitable for the purpose. You can also add on wood or some other surface treatment to the interior pieces. But the exterior is gorgeous. The proportions of height and track width are pure Pontiac. The softtop is good looking up, and tucked away is even better. Let me say something about the model classification, What are you buying when you see the car advertised as a Base Solstice? You have no idea, that's what. You have to know what options were available and what are on your car. I was fortunate to have the window sticker for the car I bought. There were $6,000 of factory options! And that didn't include the automatic trans because this is a standard shift. It has everything that was available in 2007. The power available is adequate on the NA model. You won't win any drag races, but good driving skills can yield results that will bring a smile to your face. Trunk space, Hah! This could have been done better, but I'm not sure it could be done without sacrificing the car's concept. The soft top is a troubling point. It's very complex, perhaps unnecessarily so. For all the solenoids and cables and flip open doors, they could have made it electric! I can't imagine anyone except the owner to sort this out when it starts to give trouble. But I'm loving it. It's rewarding to feel the car respond to steering input. I approached a sharp hairpin turn that I am familiar with and rounded it with careful balance. As I came out of the turn, I needed to move from the right lane to the left, and letting off the throttle and back on did exactly as I wanted. The car just nosed into the turn a little deeper into the turn and changed lanes without a protest from the tires. Go get one and have some fun. Watch for the options!

Features & Specs

MPG
19 city / 25 hwy
Seats 2
5-speed manual
Gas
173 hp @ 5800 rpm
MPG
19 city / 28 hwy
Seats 2
5-speed manual
Gas
260 hp @ 5300 rpm
MPG
19 city / 25 hwy
Seats 2
5-speed manual
Gas
173 hp @ 5800 rpm
See all Used 2009 Pontiac Solstice Convertible features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2009 Pontiac Solstice

Used 2009 Pontiac Solstice Convertible Overview

The Used 2009 Pontiac Solstice Convertible is offered in the following styles: 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M), GXP 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M), and Street Edition 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M).

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Find a used Pontiac Solstice for sale - 1 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $23,753.

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Should I lease or buy a 2009 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