Overview & Reviews
For better or worse (mostly the latter), the Pontiac G5 economy coupe was a rather obvious example of "badge engineering." General Motors started with a Chevy Cobalt coupe, made a few minor changes to things like the grille design, headlights, taillights, interior materials and trim, and then rebadged the vehicle as a distinct Pontiac product. This is nothing new, of course, and not necessarily a bad thing either, provided the shared platform is rock-solid and fully competent.
Regrettably, that was not the case with the Pontiac G5. Its stylish twin-port grille had it all over the Chevy's generic bowtied nose, but otherwise the G5 was a Cobalt by another name. It achieved passing marks in performance and ride quality, but savvy shoppers realized that it lacked sophistication and quality. Pontiac's demise due to GM's 2009 bankruptcy fiasco shouldn't dissuade used-car shoppers, since the G5 is basically a Chevrolet. But the G5's numerous shortcomings prevent us from recommending it as a pre-owned purchase.
Most Recent Pontiac G5
The Pontiac G5 compact coupe was produced from 2007-'09 in two trim levels: base and GT. The base model came with a decent amount of equipment, including air-conditioning, powered accessories, keyless entry and a CD/MP3 audio system. The uplevel G5 GT added Bluetooth ('09 only), 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and cruise control. Additional options included a Pioneer audio system, leather upholstery and, depending on the year, iPod connectivity and satellite radio.
The front-wheel-drive G5 initially came with one of two engines, a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine or a 2.4-liter four. The 2.4 was rated at 173 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque, and it was standard on the GT until being discontinued after 2008. The 2.2-liter was rated at 148 hp and 152 lb-ft until '09, when it became the sole available engine and received some internal tweaks that resulted in more power and better fuel economy. The standard transmission was a five-speed manual, with a four-speed automatic available as an option.
Inside, attractive gauges and a full-featured stereo give the Pontiac G5 a contemporary vibe, and metallic accents on the gear shifter, steering wheel and doors brightened the otherwise stark cabin. Materials quality was poor, however. Both models featured a trip computer that provided useful information such as outside temperature, fuel range and coolant temperature. But even with the optional premium leather trim, our editors found the seat design plain and lacking in comfort -- especially in back, where the bench is flat and low and the quarters cramped.
On the road, our editors noted that either G5 engine provided decent power under normal conditions, but made coarse noises when pressed. The smooth, quiet ride was judged commuter-friendly, but the car's handling on twisty roads was not impressive. Even the "sport-tuned" G5 GT allowed too much body roll, and the electric steering system on both models reacted slowly and with minimal feedback.
Beyond the powertrain adjustments, Pontiac G5 changes were minimal during its brief run. For 2008, all models received side curtain airbags and satellite radio as standard equipment, while the GT trim got stability control and OnStar as standard.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 149.00
Black Beauty - 2007 Pontiac G5
By Brian - December 30 - 6:43 pm
What a great car for the price. I wanted to "Buy American" and couldn't be more pleasantly surprised with Pontiac's newest offering. Sporty looks, comfortable ride, nimble handling, and great gas mileage from a quiet, smooth, peppy engine. It has all the features I was looking for, many unexpected on a car at this price point. Leather, heated seats, On-Star, and the Pioneer sound system with the ipod input jack are all great in this class of car.
G5 - A Bargain - 2008 Pontiac G5
By AMP - December 17 - 8:06 am
I bought my G5 six months ago - so far, it has exceeded my expectations. My daily commute is 57 miles round-trip, 90% highway. I'm averaging 32.5 MPG, despite the 4-speed auto transmission. The 4-cyl Ecotec has plenty of power and the cabin is quiet for an economy car. The tire-pressure monitor alerted me to an air leak in one of my tires caused by a nail BEFORE I drove on the Interstate - very nice. The climate control system is excellent - HOT heat and COLD AC. I like the firm, supportive seats - like a VW's and very comfortable over long trips. If you like soft, cushy, couch cushions, this isn't the car for you.
Just good sense and plain fun - 2007 Pontiac G5
By 2nd childhood - November 16 - 7:33 am
I have had my cometition yellow G5 for over 3 months now, and this car really rocks. When I drive like a gentleman, with cruise control set to 57 mph, I get better then 43 MPG! I have a few packages with the car, #1 being the sunroof which includes an upgraded sound system (bass reflex port in trunk) and XM radio included for a full year. Just a wonderful experience for a guy who will never buy an import. GM got its act together quite well with this car. More trunk space then expected plus pass through to interior cabin was handy. The 16 inch tire/mag wheel combo helps hold the road.
Too Many Troubles! - 2008 Pontiac G5
By WOOF - October 19 - 2:40 am
Bought new and had for almost 2 years before finally parting ways. Decent power, styling and MPG but way too many problems. Here's the list of things it went back to the dealer for in no specific order: Power windows, power door locks, sunroof switch bezel fell off repeatedly, std tranny shifting problems repeatedly, water in headlight assy, CD/Radio replaced twice (orig, and replacement both failed), etc. etc. etc. The car did start and run every day, but I feel that the benchmark for a "new" car should be just a little bit higher than that. Wish I had researched before buying. My main reason for choosing it was the "good deal" (rebates). Sorry GM, but I'm done now. Just bought a Mazda.
Excellent car! I'd buy again - 2007 Pontiac G5
By Gerald Rogers - October 11 - 11:26 am
The price was great, and the economy is typical of a 4 cylinder (hi 20s in town, mid 30s highway---regular gasoline). I don't see a compelling reason to go Japanese any more if vehicles like these continue being offered. Interior for me as the driver centers on ease of getting to the radio, ample opportunities of getting the iPOD connected to my radio, simple reach for the HVAC. Mine is the coup and blind spots abound, as others have probably noted. I would have no problem buying this car again.
One of the best small vehicles GM has - 2007 Pontiac G5
By kenneth tennison - August 31 - 8:06 am
I purchased a 07 G5 for my son,at the age of 17 for school and collage.The vehicle has 53,000 miles.The only problem so far,was a small gas leak,at the top of the gas tank.Which was replaced under warranty by GM (goodwill policy).The vehicle is very reliable and safe.I will buy only GM.
Great choice for the price - 2009 Pontiac G5
By Tim - August 27 - 10:33 am
I finally bought this car after reading reviews and staring at pictures of it over a course of 2 years and it's precisely the car I wanted. Coming from a 2003 basic model of a Saturn Ion it's a huge upgrade and great for someone my age (22).
Excellent Car - 2007 Pontiac G5
By snookers - August 24 - 8:50 pm
I purchased my Pontiac G5 in 2007. I would not trade her for the world. Everyone assumes i spent alot more then i did on her. With the extra money i saved purchasing her, i was able to get the windows tinted and she looks sharper then any foreign car out there. She looks and sounds great with the exhaust tip i was also able to purchase with the fuel savings i enjoy. If you want a REAL deal, look into and purchase a G5. You will never be sorry...
Still Impressed - 2007 Pontiac G5
By JB29MD - August 5 - 3:26 pm
I purchased my G5 (Manual Trans.) in September of '06. 6 months later, I am still impressed. The fuel economy is outstanding. All of my miles are interstate/highway miles, and tank after tank I average 34-36 mpg. The pickup is sweet. Turns are remarkably easy and U turns still make me smile. Great car for the money.
This Car Rocks - 2008 Pontiac G5
By Linda - June 30 - 7:20 pm
After reading reviews I'm starting to think people just like to complain. This car is great! I have had mine for 2 years and other than one minor repair it has been extremely reliable. It is one of the smoothest driving cars I've ever driven and everyone who drives it says the same. The interior is comfy, no noise, no rattles, not cheap. The back seat feels much larger than it looks and dips down giving more room for rear passengers. Battery is in the trunk, no big deal. You can't generally open the hood without getting to the interior either. I'm only 5'2" and the seats adjust for short drivers perfectly!