G6

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2008 Pontiac G6 Test Drive Review

Picture of 2008 Pontiac G6 The Pontiac G6 injects a bit of excitement into the daily commute, but it falls behind other midsize sedans on cabin quality.

7 /10
Overall Score

Midsize sedans are efficient, reliable, and practical. These attributes are what make them so popular. But if you crave a bit more excitement in your family sedan, the 2008 Pontiac G6 has got you covered. The G6 delivers bold styling and powerful, available V6 engines. It also offers a Coupe variant, as well as an innovative power-retractable hardtop convertible. This design combines top-down motoring, as well as confident four-season protection from the elements.

Look and Feel

7/ 10

The G6 has sharp, angular styling, highlighted by the twin-kidney grille and wedged headlights. That wedge theme is continued along the side of the car and in the angular taillights. The Coupe features a teardrop shape that forms the rear window and trunk area. The Convertible’s power-retracting hardtop looks sharp while deployed, but the rear trunk lid has an awkward hunch when the top is stowed. The cabin features a simple and straightforward design that evokes a performance nature. But the materials and fit-and-finish are lacking.

There are technically four trims offered on the G6 Sedan; 1SV, Base, GT, and GXP. The 1SV stands for “Special Value” and provides the basics, including power doors and locks, air conditioning, and a tilt-telescoping steering wheel. The Base trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, remote keyless entry, and cruise control.

Pontiac offers the GT trim across all three body styles, and it's the only trim for the Convertible. It adds a 200-watt Monsoon premium sound system and a four-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. The Sedan and Coupe can be had in the GXP trim, which adds a leather interior, chrome dual exhaust tips, and revised front- and rear fascias.

Performance

8/ 10

1SV and Base trims come fitted with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 169 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. This engine routes power to the front wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission. The mid-range GT features a 3.5-liter V6. It makes 224 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque, sent to the front wheels through a four-speed automatic.

In addition to the visual upgrades, the GXP boasts the most powerful engine in the lineup. It displaces 3.6 liters, features dual overhead cams and variable valve timing, and makes 252 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. This engine routes power to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. The GXP also features a sport-tuned suspension and provides the best acceleration and handling in the G6 lineup.

Form and Function

7/ 10

The G6 sedan provides a surprising amount of cabin space. A taller driver can slide their seat back comfortably, and another taller occupant can sit behind them with sufficient legroom. There is also plenty of headroom in both rows. The Coupe and Convertible have less legroom, but only slightly. Thanks to the long wheelbase, the G6 provides more rear legroom than other coupes and convertibles.

Trunk space for the G6 sedan is on par with the leaders in the pack. It provides 14 cubic feet, which is the same as the Honda Accord and only slightly behind that of the Toyota Camry. The Coupe provides 11 cubic feet of trunk space is adequate. The Convertible’s advanced top takes up a good bit of real estate. There is only 5.8 cubic feet of trunk space with the top up, and a minuscule 1.5 cubic feet with the top down.

Tech Level

5/ 10

The G6 comes standard with an AM/FM stereo with CD player and OnStar services. The GT trim upgrades the stereo to a 200-watt Monsoon sound system. The GT and GXP trims both provide XM satellite radio, as well as an auxiliary audio input.

Safety

8/ 10

Pontiac has added several previously optional safety features as standard equipment. This includes antilock brakes across all trims, side airbags, and OnStar telematics. OnStar can remotely call for help in the event of an accident.

These features join a list of standard equipment that includes driver and front passenger front impact airbags and varying levels of traction control, depending on the trim selected.

Cost-Effectiveness

7/ 10

The four-cylinder G6 provides the best fuel economy in the lineup, returning 22 mpg city, 30 highway, 25 combined. The most-efficient V6 is the 3.5-liter when paired to the four-speed automatic. It returns 18/29/22. The 3.9-liter V6 returns 15/22/18.

The 2008 Pontiac G6 starts at $18,765 for the 1SV trim. A base trim starts at $20,290, while a GT starts at $23,100 and the GXP sedan costs $26,960. The Coupe starts at $23,100 in the GT trim, and a GXP Coupe costs $27,755. The Convertible costs $30,210 and is only offered in the GT trim.

Updated

From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Autoblog.com, Hemmings Classic Wheels, BoldRide.com, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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