By August 18, 2006

Pontiac Solstice 5000 Mile Review

Let’s skip right to the bad news, since none of the good stuff has changed.

The interior is a piece of shit. “Surprise!” someone said when I told them about it, “it’s a Pontiac.” The truth hurts.

The center console is a large plastic piece that runs from the dashboard to the storage compartment/hump in between the two occupants. There is a loose piece of plastic somewhere and the car creaks when it turns, especially when the seats are all the way back. At first it wasn’t a big deal, but now that Lady Jaye and I are aware of it, it’s all we can hear when we motor about. High speed turn? Creeaaaaaak. The only solution we’ve found so far is to either turn the radio up or put the top down. I am tempted to take it back to the dealer, but I am afraid that they will fix my main creak but cause two others. Sort of like an interior-creaking-hydra, if you will.

For the sake of completion, the passenger-side flip out cupholder has been busted since the first week I’ve owned the car. This has never really bothered me, but since I’m on a bitchy rampage, I might as well throw that in, too.

The stock GM engine tuning on the car leaves a lot to be desired. There’s a flat acceleration spot at 3200 RPM. Under hard acceleration, the car will lag for just a moment while the transmission crosses the 3200 RPM threshold. This is apparently solved by an aftermarket ECU tune, but that runs $400 and may void my warranty. I’m not sure about paying to fix GM’s poor computer mapping, either.

Driving around town puts me in a damned if I do, damned if I don’t situation. If I leave the car in third gear, the transmission is in a higher RPM range. I have more power to play with, but my gas mileage goes to shit. I already get 20MPG in this car, I don’t need to blow any more gas. If I put the car into fourth gear, however, the car doesn’t have enough torque to adequately pass or zoom around without a downshift. Gas economy goes up, at the expense of power. Bah. Since my 1995 Mitsubishi Montero gets 18 miles to the gallon whether I floor it or not, I’ve been taking Monty on more daily errands and leaving the Solstice at home.

I don’t know if it’s due to my height or the shape of the Solstice’s front, or both, but it’s impossible to see the front of the car. This is a big problem while parking, especially parallel parking. I tapped a car in front of me with Inara last weekend — the first time I’d hit a car parallel parking in probably fifteen years. There wasn’t any damage to either vehicle, but still. Tapping cars is for n00bs.

Lastly, turning on the air conditioning puts a serious kink in the Solstice’s power. I think the last time I had a car that struggled while using the AC was my 1986 Subaru station wagon. I jokingly yelled out “TURBO BOOST” and turned the AC off once in order to make a light. Speaking of turbo, this car needs it. There’s an aftermarket turbo kit available for the Solstice, to the tune of $4000+ before installation. For that much money, I’d rather trade Inara in for another WRX.

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1 Comment on "Pontiac Solstice 5000 Mile Review"

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  1. “Since my 1995 Mitsubishi Montero gets 18 miles to the gallon whether I floor it or not, I’ve been taking Monty on more daily errands and leaving the Solstice at home.”

    I miss Monty!!