2009 Pontiac Torrent Review

Used Torrent for sale
List Price Estimate:$3,225 - $4,850
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Pontiac Torrent model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Versatile interior design, high crash-test scores, powerful V6 engine in GXP trim.
  • Subpar interior materials, lackluster fuel economy compared with four-cylinder rivals.

A spacious and practical cabin, excellent crash-test ratings and a wide variety of features make the 2009 Pontiac Torrent a solid choice in the realm of small and midsize crossovers.

Vehicle overview

As more consumers look to get out of large, gas-swilling SUVs, they're realizing that compact and midsize crossovers strike an appealing compromise between practicality and fuel efficiency. The 2009 Pontiac Torrent is a good example of this burgeoning crossover breed. Like its twin, the Chevrolet Equinox, the Pontiac is aimed at buyers who want the rugged look of an SUV but the drivability and smaller footprint of a car. The Torrent neatly splits the difference between "cute utes" and traditional trucks, boasting decent cargo and passenger space along with superior maneuverability.

Although the Pontiac Torrent looks as if it could tackle the wilderness, this car-based crossover is much more adept on pavement than it is off the beaten path, thanks to its light-duty all-wheel-drive system and minimal ground clearance. Still, the Torrent offers plenty of utility. Its versatile interior offers an adjustable, split-rear-seat design, and there is also a choice of two V6 engines under the hood. The GXP's 3.6-liter engine, in particular, puts the Torrent at the top of the segment in terms of acceleration, and the available all-wheel-drive system provides sure-footed traction in foul weather.

Of course, the Torrent faces a number of solid competitors in the mid-$20,000 range. The Hyundai Santa Fe, Mitsubishi Outlander and Toyota RAV4, for example, all offer optional V6 power as well as a third-row seat (though the actual usefulness of this feature is debatable on these compact vehicles). Customers should also think about the Saturn Vue and Honda's perennially popular CR-V. Overall, the Torrent doesn't quite match up to the all-stars in this segment due to its interior faults, but it's still worth including in your small and midsize crossover search.

2009 Pontiac Torrent models

The 2009 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 Torrent includes 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, Bluetooth, a flat-folding front passenger seat and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat that slides fore and aft and reclines. A six-speaker audio system with a CD/MP3 player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack is also standard.

Upgrading to the Torrent GXP gets you a more powerful V6 engine, performance-tuned suspension and steering, 18-inch wheels, 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 the GXP's upgrades are available on the standard Torrent in various packages. In addition, both trim levels can be equipped with an upgraded seven-speaker Pioneer audio system, a navigation system, a DVD rear-seat entertainment system and Bluetooth.

2009 Highlights

Only minor equipment changes make their way into the 2009 Pontiac Torrent. Side curtain airbags, satellite radio and a digital compass are now standard on all models, and Bluetooth phone connectivity is also available.

Performance & mpg

The base Torrent is equipped with a 3.4-liter V6 good for 185 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque. It's available only with a five-speed automatic transmission. The GXP bumps up to a 3.6-liter V6 that pumps out 264 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. It comes with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control.

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. Both models have an EPA combined estimate of 19 mpg. That's notably less than four-cylinder-powered rivals like the CR-V and RAV4.


Antilock disc brakes, traction control, side curtain airbags, OnStar telematics and stability control with trailer-sway-mitigating technology are all standard on the 2009 Pontiac Torrent. Front-seat side airbags (for torso protection) are not available. In government crash tests, the Pontiac Torrent earned a top five-star rating for the protection of front occupants in a frontal impact, as well as five stars for front and rear occupant protection in side impacts. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, the Torrent scored the highest possible "Good" rating in frontal offset testing.


Most shoppers looking for a small to midsize crossover SUV will find the 2009 Pontiac Torrent relatively nimble and easy to drive. The standard Torrent offers a smoother ride at the expense of handling response. Those looking for more power and performance will prefer the GXP's upgraded engine and performance-tuned chassis -- especially considering the minimal difference in fuel economy.


The Torrent's 60/40-split rear bench seat, which can slide nearly 8 inches fore and aft, makes it roomy and versatile for both passengers and cargo. There are 35 cubic feet of luggage space behind its upright rear seats, and a respectable 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 door pockets and lots of storage cubbies for small items. The three-spoke steering wheel gives off a sporty vibe, and the dash boasts a simple control layout, but lots of low-rent plastic cheapens the look of an otherwise attractively styled cabin. Other disappointments include poorly placed cupholders and a lack of lateral support for the front seats.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2009 Pontiac Torrent.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
Great, reliable car/SUV.
4dr SUV (3.4L 6cyl 5A)
Sold it. (But loved it and miss it!) Super dependable with a decent ride and nice acceleration. Plenty of room for 5 and lots of cargo space. Rides more like a truck with a stiffer ride. This SUV is very flexible and dependable. It's a great family car, yet can also carry large loads (i.e., equipment, tools, lumber, etc). Have thought about trading it in but its just such a nice utilitarian vehicle that I hate to part with it. Update: Sold the car in January this year (01/2016). It was still in excellent condition, no mechanical issues, no rust, decent (but stiff) ride. Wanted something with a smoother ride for trips around the country. Sold it for $8000 which I felt was pretty good for a 7 year old vehicle. Have been a regular Pontiac owner (Grand Am, G6, Montana, Torrent) and am sooooo disappointed they went out of business.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Driving it until it dies.
4dr SUV AWD (3.4L 6cyl 5A)
Originally owned a 2007, traded in for a 2009 AWD when I heard they were stopping the line. I literally walked on the lot, said how much and then started negotiating. This one rides smoother than the 2007. I'm 5 feet tall and not only do I feel safer in an SUV, this one isn't so wide that I feel like I'm driving a bus. The AWD really gets me around in almost impassable snow. We had 13 inches and I didn't have a problem. I really love this car, mechanically I have not had a single problem at 30k+. My biggest challenge is where the front end ends, I always have about 12 inches of freedom I don't know about. Plus, parallel parking isn't tough unless it's a tiny spot. Fuel econ 17/21.
4 out of 5 stars
2009 Pontiac Torrent 3.4L V6 AWDI have had a Ponti
4dr SUV (3.4L 6cyl 5A)
I have had a 2009 Pontiac Torrent AWD 3.4 L V6 since 2010. I get 25-28 MPG highway at 60 mph. I live in the country so for city driving I have less data. Going up steep hills hill MPG can drop to 15 MPG. Minimum MPG is 23-24 with no city driving and various driving terrain. Vehicle has 185,000 miles and gets the same good MPG as new. Car has had a new throttle body, new front transaxle, new timing chain, two new intake manifold pressure sensors, new ERG, new battery, and all fluids, plugs, and filters changed at recommended times or more often. Brakes are original and will go to ~210,000 miles. The problems I have seen with the car are a lot to front transaxle wear and rear differential wear. I have had to change those lubricants more than recommended. Also had some automatic transmission shifting issues. The transmission seemed not to be able to make up its mind. The dealership said it was OK on test drive so I fixed it myself by installing new intake manifold pressure sensor (first sensor went bad in 2 months so it took another one before problem was solved). I relayed the info to the dealership and they agreed that was the problem. Vehicle drives great in snow and ice, it has all options; Stabilitrac and traction control. Road noise is high. Buy a quiet all weather tire and it will be better. Overall I would buy this vehicle again. I like the AWD snow and ice driving. I have never gotten stuck.
3.88 out of 5 stars
GXP 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
GM says 16/24 mileage,more like 12/19,that's using cruise control, at approximately 70mph never over. It gets even less at 55 mph!what the!? Let up on the gas and it comes to a stop, I mean motor runs but I mean the power just dogs, it's like all power stops going to the drive train? I guess it saves on brakes. It has a horrible turning ratio, didn't notice it on test drive, you need to plan ahead to park. The CD player takes forever to load. If I'd known the gas mileage was going to be this bad, I would've bought a truck or a SUV with 4x4.


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
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 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
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2009 Pontiac Torrent

Used 2009 Pontiac Torrent Overview

The Used 2009 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). Pre-owned Pontiac Torrent models are available with a 3.4 L-liter gas engine or a 3.6 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 264 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2009 Pontiac Torrent comes with front wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed automatic, 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2009 Pontiac Torrent comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Pontiac Torrent?

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 2009 Pontiac Torrents are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 2009 Pontiac Torrents you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Pontiac Torrent for sale - 12 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $24,126.

Find a used Pontiac for sale - 4 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $10,326.

Find a used certified pre-owned Pontiac Torrent for sale - 7 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $25,623.

Find a used certified pre-owned Pontiac for sale - 3 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $19,326.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 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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