It’s true – less than a year since production commenced on the 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe, it has ceased. July 29, 2009 marked the last day of production for General Motors Company’s Boxwood plant in Delaware, which is responsible for making GM’s Kappa-platform, the Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky and the recently introduced 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe.
The hard-top Solstice Coupe took the 2008 New York Auto Show by storm. The more aggressive and sleeker looking targa-top fastback offers up an alternative for those who aren’t always looking for fun in the sun, but alas, as the rest of the Pontiac faces extinction, so does the Solstice.
“To me, it’s not a celebration,” said James Graves, a 29-year veteran of GM’s Boxwood plant. “It’s a sad day. It’s like a funeral.”
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Reviewed: 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe GXP:
2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe GXP Specifications:
Base Price: $30,375
Price as Tested: $33,140
Engine: 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder Ecotec – 260-hp/260 lb-ft of torque.
Transmission: 5-Speed manual
Curb Weight: 3018 lbs
0 to 60 mph: 5.5 seconds
Fuel-Economy: 19/28 mpg city/highway
“The new Solstice coupe has all the design cues and pleasing performance of the original roadster, and is an all-season alternative for people who enjoy open-air driving,” said Susan Docherty, vice president of Buick-Pontiac-GMC.
There is no doubt that the 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe looks outstanding. Put it on the road next to any other coupe or sportback, and it is sure to attract the lion’s share of the attention. However, despite the dramatic new look, GM says that engineers made minor changes to create a hard-top version of the Solstice. The model features a fixed roof aft the B-piller, complete with side windows and a rear lift-glass providing easy access to the storage compartment behind the seat. The sloping roofline provides the look of a classic fastback, as it runs from the front of the roof and merges with the ever fashionable ducktail style rear spoiler.
The roof, which weighs 31 pounds, can be removed easily by one person – or so GM says. I personally had trouble taking the roof off myself, and not because I’m weak. It was because it is just too big for one person to take off without fear of damaging it. A soft roof-cover is available as an added option though, just in case you get caught with your top down on a rainy day. Gm Accessories also sells a storage case for the removable roof.
Not much differs between the Coupe and the Roadster. However, GM did do a little redesigning though in the area behind the seats, providing easy access to the cargo area. It also seems that GM’s engineers couldn’t find place for a cupholder, so they haphazardly placed them behind the headrests.
Interior options include AM/FM and CD stereo with six speakers, an enhanced sound system with an MP3-compatible stereo and an iPod jack, XM Satellite Radio and of course, OnStar.
Our 2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP included a two-way power driver seat height adjuster, racing-inspired sport bucket seats with GXP stitching, a leather-wrapped manual shift knob, an adjustable steering wheel, and a rear window defogger. Oh, and while we’re talking about the rear-window, there is a huge issue with rear-visibility, or the lack there of.
Based on GM’s Kappa-platform, the rear-wheel-drive 260-hp 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe GXP goes from 0 to 60 mph in about 5.5 seconds; pretty impressive for its class. The rough 5 speed manual transmission and subpar handling detract from the experience in a big way though.
Our test vehicle, the 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe GXP, was powered by a 2.0L turbocharged Ecotec that produces 260-hp and a peak torque of 260 lb-ft. Now, when you look at GM’s list of key competitors you might begin to wonder why you would spend $30,375 on this car.
GM says that the base model Solstice targets the Mazda MX-5 Miata and its retractable hardtop, while the Solstice Coupe GXP targets the Nissan 370Z. Why anyone would opt to spend a single dollar on the Solstice when they can pick up a 332-hp 2009 370Z for just over $29,000 is beyond us.
So should you be glad the 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe is now dead? Well, it all depends on how much you love Pontiac and American cars, because if we had $30,375 to spend on a brand new car, we’d be heading into the Nissan dealership right about now.
Reviewed: 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe GXP:
– By: Omar Rana
All Photos Copyright ©2009 Omar Rana – egmCarTech.