2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe new car reviews

Better than: A Miata on track
But not as good as: A Miata everywhere else
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 86.57

Driving the Pontiac Solstice GXP is a bit of a tease. From behind the wheel, there’s a lot to love. Dynamically, the Solstice GXP is exceptional, with high limits and a sense of predictability and drivability that usually only exist as a tradeoff for one other. The turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter engine has a rising power curve that becomes more intoxicating the more you run it to the redline. The looks—especially when it comes to the coupe—are as stunning and creative as anything currently being produced by any manufacturer.

Oh, wait. That’s not entirely true, because cars that look like this aren’t being produced by any manuacturer. Pontiac committed corporate seppuku in the great GM purge of ought-nine, taking the Solstice with it to the great beyond.

It’s a little like your dad giving you a cute puppy for Christmas, letting you play with it, then putting the puppy in a rocket headed for the sun.

Until that final impact, however, you could do worse than to snap up a Solstice GXP—especially in coupe form. The coupe has all the makings of a future collectible—cool looks, limited production, niche appeal and now orphan status. Those are the kinds of selling points you hear tossed around at Pebble Beach.

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns making each other smile sandwiches with the Solstice. It does have its unpolished side, too. For one, the removable top on the coupe stores in exactly one place: Above the driver’s head.

Want to do some al fresco motoring? Leave the top at home and pray it doesn’t rain. Of course, nothing inside the car will get wet because there’s no place to keep anything inside the car. The interior, while ergonomically excellent, is devoid of useful cubbies and parcel shelves. They say you can’t take it with you. They apparently own Solstices.

Also, whatever is behind you on the road is irrelevant. Or, it may as well be because you’ll never see it.

Aside from those foibles, when it comes to the pure act of driving and enjoying yourself behind the wheel, a Solstice is a great choice. Get one--while you still can.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

This is probably one of the best looking cars I have seen in a while. I love--love!--the looks. Our test car's color was also absolutely stunning.

My first stop with the car was our local slot car track. And that's where I ran into a little problem: I absolutely could not see if traffic was coming while trying to back out of my parking spot. I know that cars are designed to go forward but, wow, holy blind spot, Batman.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
alex
alex UberDork
8/21/09 11:48 a.m.

Chuckleworthy review. Nicely written. Would do business with again. A+++++

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
8/21/09 6:24 p.m.

The "not as good as a Miata everywhere else" comment sort of reflects my opinion of overall livability. In other words, if you could only have one car, and it had to be a Miata or a Solstice, I think the Miata would be easier to live with. But, yeah, I completely agree with your assessment there.

Capt Slow
Capt Slow Dork
8/21/09 6:58 p.m.

Wow, you guys have really kicked you videos up a notch.

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter PowerDork
8/21/09 7:53 p.m.

That's all JG. He's down with the video thing.

jikelly
jikelly Reader
8/22/09 9:07 a.m.

The Solstice has the pop the Miata is missing. Hate it's out of production. I was looking forward to the next model fixing the grips and thoroughly trouncing the Miata.

miwifri
miwifri New Reader
8/25/09 9:16 p.m.

Discounted left over S2000s (including CRs) have been in this price range. That's my choice.

rwdsport
rwdsport Reader
9/10/09 1:11 a.m.

^ could not agree more. Ill take the screamer :D

Cotton
Cotton UltraDork
9/16/09 11:05 a.m.

Picked ours up last night. Very happy with it!

aussiesmg
aussiesmg MegaDork
9/22/09 7:14 a.m.

Great video, sorry Mrs JG but it was worth it

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

Driving the Pontiac Solstice GXP is a bit of a tease. From behind the wheel, there’s a lot to love. Dynamically, the Solstice GXP is exceptional, with high limits and a sense of predictability and drivability that usually only exist as a tradeoff for one other. The turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter engine has a rising power curve that becomes more intoxicating the more you run it to the redline. The looks—especially when it comes to the coupe—are as stunning and creative as anything currently being produced by any manufacturer.

Oh, wait. That’s not entirely true, because cars that look like this aren’t being produced by any manuacturer. Pontiac committed corporate seppuku in the great GM purge of ought-nine, taking the Solstice with it to the great beyond.

It’s a little like your dad giving you a cute puppy for Christmas, letting you play with it, then putting the puppy in a rocket headed for the sun.

Until that final impact, however, you could do worse than to snap up a Solstice GXP—especially in coupe form. The coupe has all the makings of a future collectible—cool looks, limited production, niche appeal and now orphan status. Those are the kinds of selling points you hear tossed around at Pebble Beach.

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns making each other smile sandwiches with the Solstice. It does have its unpolished side, too. For one, the removable top on the coupe stores in exactly one place: Above the driver’s head.

Want to do some al fresco motoring? Leave the top at home and pray it doesn’t rain. Of course, nothing inside the car will get wet because there’s no place to keep anything inside the car. The interior, while ergonomically excellent, is devoid of useful cubbies and parcel shelves. They say you can’t take it with you. They apparently own Solstices.

Also, whatever is behind you on the road is irrelevant. Or, it may as well be because you’ll never see it.

Aside from those foibles, when it comes to the pure act of driving and enjoying yourself behind the wheel, a Solstice is a great choice. Get one--while you still can.

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