2006 Pontiac Solstice (595)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2006 Pontiac Solstice two seater sport car. Its twin sister is the Sky from Saturn. I’ve got one on order so we can see how it compares with this very lovely lady – the Solstice.

The closest competition is the Mazda Miata MX5, but you know what, it is half the price of the BMW M which is over $51,000. The better news is that it is not “Half” the car. This will be the hottest car of the year. I rarely am so impressed with a car so quickly and after a week of driving in the mountains I became more and more impressed. Looking at the side by side comparison with such cars as the Miata, the BMW Z4 and even the BMW M, all these 2 seater convertibles make the Solstice the top dog for an underdog new kid on the block. Nice job GM… I say GM because I understand this design came from Saturn originally but they re-designed it and named it the Sky.

General Info:

Parts – n/a

Assembly – Wilmington , DE USA

Class:  – Two Seater

Cars: – Aztek, G6, Grand Prix, GTO, Solstice, SV6, Torrent and Vibe.

sol·stice  noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, from Latin solstitium, from sol sun + -stit-, -stes standing; akin to Latin stare to stand

1 : either of the two points on the ecliptic at which its distance from the celestial equator is greatest and which is reached by the sun each year about June 22d and December 22d

2 : the time of the sun’s passing a solstice which occurs about June 22d to begin summer in the northern hemisphere and about December 22d to begin winter in the northern hemisphere

Handling & Performance:

Outstanding – especially when you look at the price tag. Ok I have to say I wish it had Traction Control and ABS brakes and with its guaranteed success you can look for a supercharged version with more of the bells and whistles that will make it handle even better.

Styling:

Fantastic. It surely rivals cars at twice the money. Consider the chopped up styling of the much more expensive BMW Z4 and you begin to appreciate the clean sexy lines of this Solstice.

Fit and Finish:

Very good for the money, but there are some things Pontiac needs to improve. There is a virtual sea of plastic and grommets that are cheap spongy material that falls off in your hand. This is not an indictment but rather a bitch and complaint that tells GM it needs attention.

Cost:

Aggressive. The solstice came to play and GM is like a cornered animal that makes it that much more formidable an adversary. Look out Toyota you haven’t slain the Giant yet.

Conveniences:

Not a lot of stuff. Pretty austere as a matter of fact. But I was never impressed with anything that needed too much make up. I like natural beauty and this is surely the girl next door. You learn to appreciate her simplicity the older you get. And you wonder why you looked any further than the “Girl Next Door”.

Consumer Recommendation:

I would buy this for my daughter in a heartbeat. The price is right, it’s too small for boys to get too friendly and you can’t get an overnight bag in the non-existent trunk. School books and lunch, tennis racket and gym clothes are about it. With the top up you can get a few other things in there too. Forget the golf clubs too. If that is a must this is not the sports car for you. As a comparison the BMW Z4 at $37,000 has twice the cargo area at 9.2 cubic feet and only 5.4 for the Solstice.

Recognized Competition:

Pontiac Solstice $19,915, Toyota MR2 Spyder $25,000, BMW Z4 $35-42,000, Mitsubishi Eclipse $19-24,000, Mazda Miata MX-5 $20-27,000, Nissan 350Z $28-40,000, Mini Cooper $17-25,000, Audi TT $34-47,000, Volkswagen New Beetle $17-22,000, Honda S2000 $34,050.

Good News:

Great styling (and that means great resale value), decent fuel economy, good engine power, very fun to drive and the top is easy to put up and down even if it isn’t power actuated. This is a keeper.

Bad News:

No standard ABS, no option for Traction control, poor visibility, some wind noise from the top fitting, rag top rear mounts are a bit wrinkled when up and in place, not for people over 5′ 9” tall and like so many cars today it is a sea of plastic components and some questionable sponge grommets and spacers.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter inline 4 cylinder dual overhead cam 177 hp engine, 5-speed manual transmission, rear wheel drive, 4-wheel independent suspension, power rack and pinion steering, Bilstein monotube shocks, dual stage air bags, 4-wheel disc brakes, theft deterrent passkey, cloth convertible top with glass window with defogger, front hinged hood, tinted glass, intermittent wipers, stainless steel exhaust, 6 speaker radio with CD player, leather wrapped shift knob, adjustable steering wheel, 3 cup holders, remote trunk release. Options: Cruise control, driver information center, steering wheel controls, fog lights, power locks, remote keyless entry, power windows and power mirrors, air conditioning, polished aluminum 18” wheels, 4-wheel ABS brakes, limited slip rear differential and MP3 player.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 28 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $19,915.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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