2008 Pontiac Torrent Review

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Pros & Cons

  • Flexible interior design, high crash test scores, powerful V6 engine in GXP trim.
  • Subpar interior materials, base model's slow steering response.
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List Price
$6,302

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Edmunds' Expert Review

With a roomy and versatile cabin, excellent crash test ratings, a wide array of features and a new GXP performance model leading the way, the 2008 Pontiac Torrent continues to be a solid choice for a small or midsize crossover SUV.

Vehicle overview

Among the roomiest of the five-passenger SUVs, the 2008 Pontiac Torrent splits the difference between the compact cute-utes and the midsize sport-utilities with three rows of seating. Like its corporate twin the Chevrolet Equinox, the Torrent is geared primarily toward buyers who desire rugged good looks yet easy-to-drive manners in a vehicle that can comfortably carry a family of four and associated cargo.

Despite the aggressive appearance communicated by its cosmetic skid plates and pronounced wheel arches, the Pontiac Torrent is a car-based crossover much more adept on pavement fair or foul than it is tackling any distant boulder-strewn outback. All-season tires, minimal ground clearance and a light-duty all-wheel-drive system offer all the evidence you need, and the new, lower-slung GXP only reinforces the Torrent's true street-oriented intentions. Inside, the versatile cabin features a sliding second-row seat and a movable parcel shelf that both serve to optimize the space for both people and cargo. With occupants in place, the Torrent offers plenty of useful diversions like MP3-capable audio and optional navigation and rear-seat DVD entertainment systems.

Under the hood, the standard 3.4-liter V6 engine offers decent if not especially refined performance. It also delivers respectable fuel economy with highway mileage in the mid-20s, as does the much more powerful and modern new 3.6-liter V6 in the GXP. This sportier new model also features a six-speed transmission with manual shift control, performance suspension tuning, 18-inch wheels, revised steering and exclusive exterior styling details.

Despite its improved and likable nature, the 2008 Pontiac Torrent suffers from a few weaknesses. The interior has a few too many low-quality plastics, and the lack of a third-row seat, despite the debatable nature of that feature's usefulness, hurts the Torrent's standing among consumers seeking just-in-case utility. As such, top rivals like the Hyundai Santa Fe, Mitsubishi Outlander and Toyota RAV4 might prove to be more desirable choices. Still, the Torrent is a well-rounded crossover that's handsome, roomy, safe and, in GXP guise, notably sporty. If you're shopping for a reasonably priced vehicle with a flexible five-passenger cabin design and an abundance of features, it's certainly worth checking out.

2008 Pontiac Torrent models

The 2008 Pontiac Torrent is a midsize crossover SUV available in two trim levels -- base and GXP -- with a choice of either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. All Torrents seat five passengers.

Standard equipment on the base Pontiac Torrent includes 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary audio jack, cruise control, full power accessories, OnStar, a trip computer and three 12-volt power points. Upgrading to the Torrent GXP gets you more power, performance-tuned suspension and steering, 18-inch wheels, unique hood and body-color bumpers, dual exhaust outlets, privacy glass, remote vehicle starting, a sport instrument panel, front sport seats with multilevel heating, a power driver seat, steering-wheel audio controls and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Some of these regular upgrades plus extras like leather upholstery are available on the standard Torrent in the Preferred and Premium packages; a GXP Premium Package is also available with special perforated leather seat inserts. The Sun and Sound Package adds a premium Pioneer audio system with an in-dash CD changer and a sunroof. Stand-alone options include a navigation system, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, satellite radio, a towing package and 17-inch wheels on the standard Torrent.

2008 Highlights

A new GXP trim level debuts this year; this performance model comes with a 264-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, six-speed automatic transmission and sport-tuned steering and suspension components. Other changes this year include minor equipment adjustments and a retuned suspension for regular Torrents that Pontiac says provides better ride and handling characteristics than before.

Performance & mpg

The base Torrent is equipped with a 3.4-liter V6 good for 185 hp and 210 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Though the output of GM's familiar "3400" V6 is uninspiring, it offers adequate low and midrange torque for most situations. The GXP features a 3.6-liter V6 that generates a much more impressive 264 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. It comes with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. Properly equipped, the Torrent can tow 3,500 pounds. EPA estimated fuel economy is similar for both front-wheel- and all-wheel-drive versions: 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway for the 3.4-liter engine and 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway for the 3.6-liter V6.

Safety

Antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control (now with trailer-sway mitigating technology) and OnStar are all standard on the 2008 Pontiac Torrent. Full-length side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor are optional, but front-seat side airbags (that provide torso protection) are not available. In National Highway Transportation Safety Administration frontal crash testing, the Pontiac Torrent earned a five-star rating (the best possible) for the protection of front occupants and scored the same for front and rear occupant protection in its side impact tests. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, the Torrent scored a highest possible "Good" rating in frontal-offset testing.

Driving

Most small SUV shoppers will find the 2008 Pontiac Torrent's ride and handling balance reasonably carlike and quite acceptable. The suspension tuning of the standard Torrent is biased toward a smoother ride at the expense of sharp handling, so it exhibits some body roll when cornering briskly. In addition, its electric power steering feels numb and lacks responsiveness. Consumers looking for quick moves will probably prefer the GXP, as its performance-tuned chassis is calibrated to handle more power and offers greater potential for speed.

Interior

Thanks to its long wheelbase and a rear 60/40-split bench seat that can slide nearly 8 inches fore and aft, the Torrent offers plenty of room for larger passengers or cargo. There are 35 cubic feet of luggage space behind its upright rear seats, and a healthy 69 cubic feet available with the seats folded. An available rear cargo shelf adjusts to accommodate differing loads, and can also double as a serving table. There are also door pockets and lots of storage cubbies for small items. The driver faces a stylish set of chrome-ringed gauges, sporty three-spoke steering wheel and a simple control layout. Hard plastic abounds, but the Torrent's cabin is attractively styled and solidly constructed. Although the standard front bucket seats are somewhat lacking in lateral support, they're still acceptably comfortable on long commutes.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Pontiac Torrent.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Good Solid Ride (Whip)
Michigan Driver,03/03/2016
4dr SUV (3.4L 6cyl 5A)
I bought my Torrent used with around 90,000 miles. After a few months I started to have engine power problems transmission problems, losing power, running rough. I also had problems with the stabilitrac and antilock brakes. I went to the dealership and they had no answers or ideas on what the problem was. I did some research and a domino effect of thing were improved by a new egr valve as well as plugs and wires. I did all repairs myself to save hundreds. All the problems went away and I've put 10's of thousands of miles on it with no more issues.
Loved Until Recently
randy394,12/31/2014
GXP 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
Bought my ’08 Torrent GXP in 2011 and, up until recently, I have loved it. However, I’ve now had the power steering hose break three times and I’m growing tired of repeatedly fixing it. My battery also died at only 44,000 miles and the all-wheel drive regularly goes out when the temperature dips below zero, which is the type of weather when you mostly need AWD. I love the comfort, look, features, and how the Torrent drives, but I’m now looking at a new car as I’m sick of these mounting piddly issues. I never once had my ’04 Malibu 2LT in the shop beyond oil changes in the 7 years, 80K+ miles I owned it.
Knew What I Was Getting
czuchster,09/24/2010
There are some squeaks here and there, especially with the steering wheel, but I read the reviews before I bought the car and I knew what to expect. The only disappointment has been with the gas mileage, which hasn't quite been up to the EPA estimates. Even my Hondaphile and Toyotaphile friends have been impressed with the comfort and looks of my Torrent. On the safety front, I was in an accident three months ago that sent two other drivers to the hospital but I didn't get a scratch, or even feel sore the next day. I can't rave enough. I've looked at trading it in for something with better MPG, but I can't find anything I'd give up for Torrent for.
Don't Buy
tk6227,07/11/2014
I purchased by Pontiac Torrent in 2011 each year i have had problems. Within the first year the radio went out and the repair is $400. The next year my transmission went out $1500. The next year - when it rains the floors in my back seat get wet and causes and odor. Now i am seeing all these recalls for all these things that are wrong with the car. I called GM and the Dealership on several occassions and they just don't care. i am too far under to even get out of the car into something more reliable.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2008 Pontiac Torrent features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Marginal
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Marginal
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2008 Pontiac Torrent

Used 2008 Pontiac Torrent Overview

The Used 2008 Pontiac Torrent is offered in the following submodels: Torrent GXP, Torrent SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV (3.4L 6cyl 5A), 4dr SUV AWD (3.4L 6cyl 5A), GXP 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), and GXP 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Pontiac Torrent?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Pontiac Torrent trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Pontiac Torrent GXP is priced between $6,302 and$6,302 with odometer readings between 118373 and118373 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2008 Pontiac Torrents 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) 2008 Pontiac Torrent for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2008 Torrents listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,302 and mileage as low as 118373 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 2008 Pontiac Torrent.

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Find a used Pontiac Torrent for sale - 9 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $9,742.

Find a used Pontiac for sale - 10 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $15,879.

Find a used certified pre-owned Pontiac Torrent for sale - 9 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $23,072.

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Should I lease or buy a 2008 Pontiac Torrent?

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.

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