Overview & Reviews
For decades, the affordable roadster segment consisted solely of cars hailing from England or Japan. General Motors changed that overnight with the Pontiac Solstice (and its Saturn Sky twin), which was built right here in America. The Solstice brought some genuine excitement to the Pontiac brand with its gorgeous styling and available turbocharged power. It was briefly available as a targa-topped coupe, too.
The Pontiac Solstice began its life as a concept vehicle at the 2002 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. After it received rave reviews and plenty of public interest, Pontiac decided to fast-track the creation of a production model. When the Solstice debuted for the 2006 model year, the concept's styling was nearly intact, with big alloy wheels, fluid lines and a smooth, retro-style front end that gave the car a very distinctive look.
But GM's financial woes in 2009 required the elimination of Pontiac, and with that the Solstice was relegated to the past. That's a shame, because with another generation of refinement, the Solstice could have really been something. A used Solstice is a mixed bag, equal parts seductive sheet metal, hit-or-miss driving dynamics and disappointing reliability and quality.
Most Recent Pontiac Solstice
Produced from 2006-'09, the Pontiac Solstice convertible stuck with the classic roadster formula, featuring a front-mounted four-cylinder engine, rear-wheel drive, a four-wheel independent suspension, a near 50/50 front/rear weight balance and a manually operated convertible soft top. The coupe, which was produced for 2009 only, was identical save for its targa roof -- think T-tops without the bar in the middle.
Underneath the hood of base models was a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. Although the engine featured an aluminum block, dual overhead camshafts and variable valve timing, it didn't feel much like a sports car engine. Tall transmission gearing and a lack of responsiveness resulted in a slow-to-rev nature, and the soundtrack near redline was far from the glorious wail roadster aficionados expect.
A better choice, resources permitting, was the Pontiac Solstice GXP (sold from 2007-'09). This version provided dramatically improved acceleration thanks to a powerful turbocharged direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The GXP also had a sport-tuned suspension, stronger brakes and high-performance tires.
In reviews, we found that while both versions were entertaining in terms of handling, they couldn't match the precision of the benchmark Mazda Miata (or, for the GXP, the Honda S2000). Inside, Pontiac chose to go with markedly cheap materials, and the ownership experience was further dampened by three other unfortunate qualities: a fussy multistep top operation process for convertibles (complemented by awful rearward visibility for coupes), a dearth of interior storage space for things like cell phones and wallets, and a small trunk that was unusable in either model.
The Pontiac Solstice received some notable tweaks during its run. For 2008, OnStar, an acoustic headliner for the soft top and a trip computer became standard equipment for both the base and GXP versions. Also for '08, a Club Sport package with firmer suspension tuning and silver-painted wheels became available. In addition to the arrival of the coupe, 2009 marked the advent of the soft-top Solstice Street Edition, which included upgraded standard features and a sport suspension. Also in '09, ABS, stability control and a limited-slip rear differential were made standard across the board, and Bluetooth connectivity was newly available.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 286.00
Everyone is Envious - 2006 Pontiac Solstice
By rkgsx - December 22 - 7:03 pm
The styling is unmatched. The color (Envious) looks fantastic. The performance is great. Overall, you wont find this blend of styling/performance/fun to drive anywhere
Highly Recommend - 2007 Pontiac Solstice
By rcl76 - December 10 - 9:23 pm
I have had this car for a good month. Is way too much fun to drive, and I am getting 24.0 miles per gallon city (5 speed manual). I usually get 3 or 4 questions/comments a day on the car, especially with the top down. I would do nothing but recommend the Solstice GXP.
Lil Bit Of Sol - 2006 Pontiac Solstice
By bleacherman - November 10 - 4:26 pm
This car is just plain FUN! While the interior is by no means luxury...it is very comfortable, exterior lines are outstanding! Handling is phenomenal ... just a slight movement on the wheel gives instant response on the road. It feels that you are glued to the road with the 18" tires. Great car for an even greater price!
Race performance and gorgeous too - 2007 Pontiac Solstice
By John Richards - November 10 - 1:13 am
The looks drew me to the Solstice, but the looks reflect the racing design: the wheels far out at the corners, the low frame and seating, the aerodynamics, the huge tires and disc brakes... all components of a true race car. I have been surprised at how well it drives, much better than I thought it would. Cornering is a joy. The visibility from the cockpit is a little restricted, but I quickly learned how to anticipate visual angles for quick maneuvers, i.e., headchecks and headtilts for mirror views. Now I feel safe except I have to do a double check for right rear corner views (a good practice with any car). This doesnt feel like a well-engineered Japanese car. Its looser and wilder.
What a car! - 2006 Pontiac Solstice
By Rich - November 8 - 4:16 pm
The Pontiac Soltice is the most fun I have had, driving a car. I didnt know how to drive stick shift when I got it, but it was so easy to learn, took me a couple of days. I like the fact that the red line for the rpms is high (7,000). I previously owned a Pontiac Grand Am GT which was a 3.1 V6 engine and it doesnt hold a candle to the Soltice performance wise. The bigger wheels and tight suspension makes you feel like your in a race car, and for the price you cant beat it.
Wife Loves it! - 2006 Pontiac Solstice
By Anthony - October 25 - 11:06 am
We got a Solstice for my wife, She totally loves it. The dealership called as soon as they had one the color she wanted. Picked it up that evening, rode home with the heat on and the top down. I took it in for its first service today, the car is great, a lot of fun to drive and people stop and look when we go by. Amazingly quiet with the top down, I was expecting way more noise. Hugs the road, just a fun car to drive on a curvy road or in and out of traffic.
10s - 2006 Pontiac Solstice
By curlygirlie - October 23 - 9:46 pm
This is the most fun car Ive ever driven. It gets looks left and right, everyone wants to know what kind of car it is. Since there are so few in my city, (around 7) its like belonging in a secret club. The solstice gets excellent gas mileage, has enough pep to forget its only a 4 cylinder and is so fun to drive that I get excited to drive anywhere.
New Owner Review - 2007 Pontiac Solstice
By Terry - October 19 - 2:20 pm
After three months just waiting to be able to order the car and three more for delivery it was all worth it just seeing it for the first time. This car is a clasic in only its second year. Although it looks great, driving is even better. The Solstice hugs the road and takes turns with zero roll or sway. Acceleration with the 2.4 ltr is good. Wind noise (top down) is minimal and conversation is easy. Top goes up and down easy and with the head-liner (tough to get) its very quiet and temperature stable. Visibility with the top up is limited (bad blind spots). We purchased the automatic and its smooth and handles Northern New Mexico mountains well. At this price, this car rocks.
2007 Pontiac Solstice - 2007 Pontiac Solstice
By Dean in MI - September 24 - 10:16 am
Ive been a Nissan owner for years but I loved the look and performance offered by the Solstice. I have been very pleased with the cars handling, braking and performance. Im not happy with the lack of change holders, the difficulty of viewing the speedometer and the seat controls. Also its hard to see traffic lights or go through a drive-thru with the top up.
My Solstice - 2006 Pontiac Solstice
By Shelia - September 19 - 5:50 pm
I have driven Pontiac for over 15 years. I think the Solstice is one of the sexy car they made. She smooth, she hugs the curves, and I love the way drive and all the looks I get from men as well as women when I put up or stop at a red light. I like fast sexy cars, at first I was a little hesitant about the speed being that it was 4 cyl, but after her for a spin around the block, I realize the speed she had and I love this car. The way she looks and the way she drive.