Monday, October 1, 2007

2008 Pontiac Solstice Review

The 2008 Pontiac Solstice roadster comes in two trim levels with the base model starting at just $21,675.

The base Solstice comes with a 2.4 liter, 173 horsepower in-line 4-cylinder engine while the higher trim level GXP has a 2.0 liter turbocharged engine that provides 260 horsepower. (It's also an in-line 4-cylinder). The standard transmission for both versions is a five-speed manual, but there's an optional upgrade to a five-speed automatic. The GXP has an electronic stability system, while the base model does not. Torque is 167 pounds/feet on the base Solstice and 260 pounds/feet on the GXP.

Exterior styling on the 2008 Pontiac Solstice includes it's distinctive clamshell hood, with reversed hinging so that it opens forward (the trunk lid operates in a similar fashion), and also hides the top when it's folded down, keeping the car's lines neat and trim. Nacelles behind each seat echo the shape of the head restrains as well. The standard wheels on this car are silver-painted 18-inch wheels with all-season tires, while the GXP's wheels (also 18 inches) are polished alloy and sport summer performance tires that are ill-advised in any sort of inclement weather, and even colder temperatures. The GXP also comes standard with a limited-slip differential system (it's an optional upgrade on the base model) but despite that this is not a winter-friendly car. The top comes in tan or black, and now includes a noise-reducing "acoustic headliner."

Inside the Solstice, there's seating for two and a wrap-around instrument panel featuring round gauges with red numbers. The steering wheel tilts, though it does not telescope, and the driver's seat has power for height djustments. On the GXP there is detailing that includes embroidered floor mats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The GXP also comes standard with cruise control, power-adjusted mirrors, fog lights, and keyless remote entry, while all those things are optional upgrades on the base model.

One thing the 2008 Pontiac Solstice is short on is space. There's only 50 inches of seating width, which is pretty tight, especially for an American car, and the trunk, which has a total volume of 5.4 cubic feet, is really only usable when the soft-top is up.

With the manual transmission, both models of the Solstice have estimated fuel efficiency of 19 mpg when driving in the city, while the the GXP gets 28 mpg, and the base 26 mpg (yes, the faster car is more efficient) on open highway.

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