Of all the kids in the GM family, Pontiac suffered the most from this sports car favoritism, despite being the General’s “performance division.” Pontiac’s Banshee concept got quashed in the ’60s. Its Fiero was compromised and underfunded in the ’80s. But, in 2006, Pontiac finally got another go in the two-seater game in the form of a Miata-fighting four-cylinder drop-top called the Solstice.
Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/valuation/2006-10-pontiac-solstice-affordable-alternative-japanese-roa...
These are great looking fun cars with one fatal flaw: They are just too small. I'm 6'0", 180lbs. and do not fit into these cars. I rented one years ago and I could barely drive it. I also have problems fitting into a Miata. Just too small for me.
Well, they're not as small as a Honda del Sol or MGB Midget. Even at my medium build 5'8", 165lb it was all I could do to get in my customer's del Sol. And I had to laugh at my wife looking at a customer's Midget and trying to grasp it's size compared to the MGB we owned 15yr prior.
Yeah, I'm 5'8", so size wasn't a problem. I've always wondered what a second gen GXP would/could have been. Wouldn't have been too tough to add 2"-3" to the middle of the car without ruining the looks or handling, and that would have helped a lot of bigger drivers. One great feature for long trips with a small trunk is the "behind the seats pants-presser that comes standard. Tuck the waistbands of two pairs of extra jeans under the backside of the seat and hold the hems up against the back bulkhead long enough to quickly whip the seatback back into place. Saves trunk space, and smooths wrinkles, too. For custom luggage, I recommend a pair of Harley FLH saddlebag soft liners, which fit perfectly in the rear corners of the trunk. There's actually more room than appears along the very rear of the trunk, even when the top is down. You can even easily fit a set of golf clubs back there.
(but not a golf bag) ☺☺☺☺
In 2013, at age 63 and having just buried my wife, I got a case of the "you're not getting any younger, maybe you better finally deliver on some of those promises you've been putting off for decades" jitters. High on that list was a 40+ year promise to someday own a two seat roadster. So, I traded in my beloved '86 Porsche 924S (wonderful car, but it wasn't a roadster!). Test drove a Solstice and a same year Miata back to back on the same back road (scaring the hell out of two car salesmen in the process), and to my surprise liked the Solstice better. Deal done, say goodbye to the best car I've ever owned, with hopes for the future.
Fourteen months later, the Solstice was gone. What was a wonderful car on a specific day, playing on a specific road or track turned out to be a pain in the ass to live with in terms of actually using it for transportation. Plus, it never came out on the road in the rain (normal sports car), and if it was a gorgeous day I'd hit the other garage for one of my motorcycles. Turns out I used the Porsche more often because it was more comfortable and practical (I could actually use it for grocery shopping).
And, in the long run, there was nothing particularly likable about the Solstice once you got past it's handing. The interior was cheap, tight, and barely comfortable. Why they claimed it had a trunk (even by sports car standards) is beyond me. That top was a major pain in the ass to deal with unless I had the girlfriend with me.
Nope, that car explained to me very well why GM went bankrupt. Love to borrow one for a day in the twisties, but to live with it? No thanks.
And the part that really hurt? Along with the Solstice and Miata, I also test drove a Porsche 968 Cabriolet. Unfortunately, it was Triptronic.
Almost completely disagree. It's all about the handling, and while the gas tank directly over the rear axle does decrease the trunk space, with some decent tires a GXP will prove hard to catch on any twisty road or even an oval. 0-60 in 5.5 sec for $30k out the door was what was promised, and it handles like a go cart. If you want something that handles like a PLUSH go cart, than yeah, the Solstice sux 😉 I wanted a Sols the minute I saw one in late '05 and for a while they were selling so fast there were no dealers doing test drives-all cars were sold ahead of time and over list. Eventually, checkbook in pocket, I got to take one out. Came home bummed, **bleep** car couldn't get out of it's own way and you almost felt it slow if you turned on the radio. fat forward to Spring of '07, driving past the dealer, there was a silver Sols out front, and it looked different in front somehow. I'd been so turned off by my original 2.4L NA test drive that I hadn't payed any attention since, didn't know anything about a $30k GXP with turboed 2.0L and all the traction/performance options of the original as standard. A 5 minute test drive and I was sold. There was still a line to get most colors and ars that didn't sell on my 100k population burg were sold at MSRP to Milwaukee & Chicago dealers that had waiting lists for thousands above window. I skipped the usual sales stuff after the drive and called the dealership's owner who knew I'd purchased there before. I made a simple pitch-sell me the silver GXP you have out front for $1 under window so that my 'nads won't fall off, and I'll drop off a deposit withing the hour (it was Sat afternoon and bank was closed so they couldn't verify a check anyway. I wasn't in a hurry for delivery, anyway, as I wanted them to have time for a thorough prep. Deal was done and I picked it up midweek in Jan of '07 and I'm not letting it go. It's naps all winter and only gets out in the rain if I'm caught on a trip. I have around 40k on it and underneath, it looks like it was built last month. Great car at that price point, or even higher. 🙂
Just bought a low-miles '07 GXP convertible with darn near every available option, in mid-life-crisis red. It's just about everything my last toy (a high-miles, uncomfortable, rattly '96 Corvette LT4 coupe that ultimately spun a bearing) wasn't.
For a Sunday drive with the wife in the twists, who cares about the cumbersome top or lack of storage; it's 100% roadster that's attractive, well-mannered, fun and inexpensive. And at 6' 2" and 180, I still fit very comfortably, unlike the much-more-expensive MX-5 and S2000. Maybe I should have driven a Boxster or Z4 before committing to this car, but I'll happily live with that unknown....at least for now.
The Solstice and Sky have big British Leyland energy. By this, I mean that they were cleverly engineered to pass through a sclerotic bureaucracy. Yet ultimately that clever engineering couldn't overcome the parts bin they had to work with, and the bureaucracy they had to fight to survive. For example, see Bozi's article here about how GM was too cheap to remove the shipping spacers on the performance package for these cars.
I'd go C5 Corvette or S197 Mustang for an American convertible at this price point. There is a very healthy aftermarket for those two cars. For the Solstice and Sky, you will have to have Bozi on speed dial for any mods, or even repairs.
My daughter owned a Sky for a few years and loved it but sold it because she never had time to drive it. As a busy realtor, the Sky was totally impractical for her. I considered buying it but I never have time to drive my Corvette and didn't need another car to take up space. The only problems she had were the VVT solenoids, inexpensive fix, and I had to replace the water pump. You must have a tool for that and keep the timing chain tight or else you will be pulling the front cover and resetting the ratcheting chain adjuster.
There is nothing like being told to buy a car there are no parts for. I know. I bought a 6.0 2006 Chevy SSR. Shortly after I purchased it GM announced it was discontinued. I had visions of the June 1966 announcement by Studebaker it was out of the car business. I have somewhat of a chance because the first time I put my SSR up on the lift much to my surprise its a glorified 2 wheel drive Trailblazer. There are no body parts for the car. When the vehicle was 2 years old the top stopped working. The car was still under warranty. Not only the dealer I bought it from but no dealer could fix it. Fortunately, I'm a mechanic for 30 years. It took weeks to get a top electrical diagram. It had a shorted wire in the trunk light. Without this signal the top won't operate. Pontiac Solace. Good luck.
Someday you will again take a look at the Chrysler Crossfire, especially the 2005 SRT6 version, for an affordable 2 seater sports car that has a very large worldwide following, better access to parts, and performance is so much better. Based on the early 2000 Mercedes SLK, these cars are fun to drive, and very dependable in most cases. Not unusual to find these cars still running with 150-200,000 miles on them. The Mercedes 3.2 V6 is still considered one of their best engine.
I'll never understand GM. This car sums up my problem. They build a fun, weekend play car for people with some disposable income, they make it attractive and different enough to be a standout in a parking lot full of silver Porsches. and they they make it completely useless for a large segment of their target buyers by providing absolutely no storage for a bag of golf clubs or tennis racquets. Who did they think was buying these cars?
I just bought a Mazdaspeed Miata last month, but would have preferred a Solstice GXP for what to me is its cooler and much more distinctive look if only...
-the top was half as easy as the Miata’s to raise and drop
-the interior was half as comfortable and well made
-the car felt half as solid and connected
-the trunk was half as practical for the weekend getaways we plan to use it for
-reliability and parts availability were half as good as the Miata’s
I was willing to meet the Solstice GXP half way but it couldn’t get there. Still, while I love the Mazdaspeed Miata, every time I see a Solstice I can’t help but think: if only...
People that gripe about the manual soft top have either never put one up/down in a Solstice or are just plain lazy. I can easily put the top up/down in less than 30 seconds by myself. I've even done it while at a stop light. I've also managed to get 6 bags or groceries in the trunk with the top down. Not easy but it is doable. My GXP is a super fun car and I have a smile on my face every time I drive it. No regrets at all!
As the owner of a 2007 Solstice, I was initially pleased with it but, over a couple of years, and after driving a Miata of the same year I find it to be a disappointment. The handling is fine, but the drivetrain is pickup truck, not sportscar. The lack of enthusiasm of the engine to rev and the unsuitable gear ratios make it less than a sporting ride. The interior is poor quality and has not held up well to use in less than 25000 miles of summer only use. Admittedly not an expensive car, but I should have bought a Mazda in place of buying its North American competitor.
I've rented the Solstice last year visiting a friend of mine and I must say the aero dynamic and steering handle of the sports convertible is point blank responsive and fun weekend ride. I may consider buying one, but I really want to try out the Saturn Sky before making my decision.