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2006 Pontiac G6 Test Drive Review

The G6 makes up for so-so cabin quality by offering performance-oriented trims and a unique power hardtop convertible.

6.7 /10
Overall Score

The average family sedan is efficient, reliable, and perfectly inoffensive. If you seek a bit more excitement in your daily commute, the Pontiac G6 is capable of delivering it, provided you select the top-tier GTP trim. The G6 is offered as a five-passenger sedan, but now for 2006, a stylish coupe and a new convertible are available, the latter showcasing an innovative retractable hardtop to combines open-air driving with year-round protection from the elements.

The G6 was introduced for the 2005 model year and is based on the same platform as its GM corporate cousin, the Chevrolet Malibu. Despite its unique variants, sharp styling, and available performance trims, the G6 is generally a middle-of-the-road sedan and is likely to underwhelm the lifelong Accord and Camry owner. But if you have grown tired of the same old options, the G6 is a fun alternative.

Look and Feel

6/ 10

When the G6 arrived in 2005, it did so as a replacement for the Pontiac Grand Am, itself a midsize car with bold styling. The G6 ratchets that up by taking Pontiac styling cues to the extreme. The aggressive headlights are stretched out to the front corners of the car, framing up the brand’s signature twin-intake grille.

The cabin design channels Pontiac’s sports-car persona with a focused layout, a three-spoke sport steering wheel, and a performance-minded instrument cluster. Some trims of the G6 have a clunky four-spoke steering wheel design that detracts from the overall look of the dash.

Though it looks smart enough, the cabin of the G6 lacks a general fit-and-finish that you’ll find in the Camry and Accord. There is heavy use of hard plastics, and those materials that are soft-touch don’t feel up to par.


8/ 10

There are three trims of the G6, each defined by their drivetrains. The Base G6 is powered by a 167-horsepower, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, while the G6 GT receives a 201-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6. The top trim is the GTP, and it is equipped with a 240-horsepower 3.9-liter V6. All engines route power to the front wheels through a 4-speed automatic transmission, while the GTP was also available with a 6-speed manual (coupe and sedan only, not convertible).

The 4-cylinder engine is utterly underwhelming, and the 3.5-liter V6 doesn’t do much to impress either. The only engine here worth its salt is the 3.9-liter V6 in the GTP, which provides plenty of low-end power, but will also get up to highway speeds with ease.

No matter which engine you select, the G6 provides rewarding handling characteristics. It’s no sports car, but it is pretty respectable, and it somewhat lives up to Pontiac’s performance heritage. This is further enhanced in the GTP, which receives a stiffer sport suspension

Form and Function

7/ 10

The G6 sedan has seating for five, while the coupe and convertible lose the rear middle seat in favor of a fixed center console with integrated cup holders. The rear seats of the 2-door variants are acceptable, especially for a coupe and convertible, where the expectation is limited usability. If you need true adult-friendly rear seating, look to the sedan, which has plenty of backseat legroom.

The sedan also offers the most trunk space, providing 14 cubic feet. The coupe isn’t far behind, with 13.5 cubic feet. Meanwhile, the trick mechanical bits of the power-folding hardtop takes up quite a bit of cabin space, leaving only 2.2 cubic feet of usable trunk space in the convertible when the top is down. Raising the top will expand that space to a still-paltry 5.8 cubic feet.

Tech Level

6/ 10

Despite how much real estate it takes up in the trunk when stowed, the convertible's power retractable hardtop is truly something special. It folds like some sort of Transformer, and it stows neatly beneath the rear deck, though it does leave something of a hunchback to the styling.

If you don’t need all those moving parts but still want a bit of fresh air, the sedan is available with a large panoramic sunroof. It should be noted that the components that allow this sunroof to slide aft cuts into rear-seat headroom.

Other tech options include a premium stereo with SiriusXM satellite radio (subscription required), OnStar connectivity services, and a Monsoon premium stereo.


6/ 10

The G6 comes standard with traction control and seatbelt pre-tensioners, as well as front-impact airbags for the driver and front passenger, and a front passenger seat occupancy sensor. Side-curtain airbags and side-head airbags are optional.

It should be noted there are varying levels of traction control, starting with the minimal system in the base trim. The GT features a more robust traction control system, while the GTP features GM’s signature StabiliTrack that has been co-developed with Delphi.


7/ 10

The base 4-cylinder engine is the most efficient version of the G6, returning fuel economy of 21 mpg city, 31 highway, 24 combined. The 3.5-liter V6 is almost as good, returning 20 mpg city, 29 highway, 23 combined. The larger 3.9-liter V6 returns 16 mpg city, 24 highway, 19 combined.

Base MSRP for the 2006 Pontiac G6 is $16,365 and goes up to $23,065 for the GTP sedan. The G6 Coupe starts at $21,165, while the G6 Convertible starts at $27,685. The most expensive version of the G6 is the GTP Convertible, starting at $29,365.

Updated by George Kennedy

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