New York Auto Show – Pontiac

By Igor Holas

03.21.2008

Pontiac offered some of the biggest news of the New York show with three releases, all of them production models: the Solstice Coupe, the G8 Sport Truck, and the G8 GXP.

Pontiac’s display was attractive, but the true stars were the cars. The Solstice coupe was up on a pedestal and out of reach, but the lines are simply beautiful. The look is a little different from the original concept, but they work very well. Unlike the concept, the production car is a “targa” which means that you can remove part of the roof for almost-convertible driving experience. The Solstice coupe comes with one 30 pound roof panel that can be removed and stored at home. For a more portable roof, one can keep a soft-top piece in the trunk. Click HERE for official images of the Solstice coupe.

One part I like about the Solstice Coupe is the all-glass rear hatch. Just like the Volvo C30, and VW Scirocco, the hatch on the Solstice coupe is relatively small, but it is very stylish. Compared to the convertible, the Coupe’s weight apparently increased somewhat, but not significantly, and the driving dynamics of the roadster should be preserved – or so said GM.

The still-hot G8 sedan got two new siblings in New York – a truck, and an even more powerful sedan (G8 GXP). Like the basic G8, the two newcomers arrive straight from Australia where they are known as the Commodore Ute and HSV Commodore. The Sport Truck is a spiritual successor of the long-gone Chevrolet El Camino, with seating for two, and low, long bed. It is very attractive, and with the G8 GT’s V8 under the hood, it will be fast, but with only 3,500lbs of towing, limited payload, and no crew cab available, its appeal will be limited. A small truck, such as GM’s own Chevy Colorado, can do more, with better mileage, and probably for less money – but the Colorado does not look as cool, or burn as much rubber. The G8 Sport Truck is still not officially named, and Pontiac announced a public poll to pick the new name – this could turn to be fun – Pontiac G8 Chuck Norris anyone?

One thing a little disconcerting in the Pontiac lineup is the inconsistency in the interior look and feel. Pontiac’s relatively small lineup has cars built by GM North America (G6, G5, Solstice, Torrent), by Toyota (Vibe), and by GM Australia (G8 family). Each developed has their own interior philosophy and feel, and they do not resemble each other – at all. The feel of door handles, the design and position of light switches, the stereos, the seat controls – they are almost unique to each model, and this disconnect does not help build a brand. Hopefully, as GM moves ahead with their restructuring and unifying their global production, these issues will gradually disappear.

Overall, Pontiac put on a big show in New York and I think it will pay off. Much of the lineup is very deserving of its accolades, and should finally bring the brand some credibility and improved sales.

Click HERE for a high resolution gallery of these new Pontiac models.

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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1 Comment

  1. I LOVE THIS COUPE!!!!!!!!!

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