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The 2006–10 Pontiac Solstice offers an affordable alternative to Japanese roadsters
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’sBansheeconcept got quashed in the ’60s. ItsFierowas 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.
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.