Relying on America’s understandable fixation on fuel economy and low sticker prices, Pontiac has decided to bring its G3 subcompact to the U.S. market. The 2010 Pontiac G3, essentially a rebadged Chevy Aveo, is presented to us as a front-wheel-drive five-passenger hatchback carrying a 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder (I4) engine capable of a somewhat paltry 106 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque. Mileage, however, is a respectable 27/34 mpg with regular gas when the I4 is mated with the standard five-speed manual transmission. A well-thought-of four-speed automatic is also available with the 2010 G3.
Pontiac calls the 2010 G3 “sporty” and says it provides more driving panache than the ordinary, and while the ride and handling characteristics of this little hatchback are certainly adequate, “sporty” might be pushing the envelope a bit.
Though the 2010 G3's cabin is described in less-than-glowing terms, this compact has a fair number of standard appearance, comfort, and convenience features to recommend it. Such offerings including 14-inch steel wheels, a rear spoiler, tilt-wheel steering, air conditioning, foglights, OnStar, a single-CD/MP3 player with six speakers, and split-folding rear bench seats that offer 42 cubic feet of cargo space when folded flat.
Options for the 2010 G3 are expected to include the Preferred Package, with power windows, doors, and heated outside mirrors, as well as keyless entry; the Cruisin’ Package, featuring cruise control, satellite radio, and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls; and the Sport Package, offering 15-inch aluminum wheels and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob. Additional options for the 2010 G3 include a sunroof and leather upholstery.
Though given five stars in front-impact crash tests in ‘09, the 2010 Pontiac G3 offers only front and front side-mounted airbags and the OnStar post-collision alert system as significant standard safety features. It’s expected that four-wheel ABS will still be an option with the 2010 G3, but side-curtain airbags are not yet expected to be available.
Owners of the ’09 Pontiac G3 mention its lack of interior quality and untested reliability, but praise the G3’s styling, value, responsiveness, and fuel efficiency. Owners of the ’09 G3 also consider it their patriotic duty to buy American.