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Article Comments - 2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe Follow-Up Test

Our hopes were high following the debut of the 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe at the 2008 New York Auto Show last year. We had not forgotten the ergonomic shortcomings of the Solstice. Nor had its functional limitations slipped our minds. It was mechanically the same curvaceous Solstice that had made us swoon in 2006. Only now it had a bitchin' hardtop.

2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe Follow-Up Test

Karen-Edmunds Community Manager


  • For nearly $34K plus dealer markup (you know there will be), I'd much rather buy something else. It's a shame too, cause it looks great!
  • History seems to repeat itself with Pontiac. I had an early Fiero, another car with potential if given a good suspension, engine ..... but by the time things started to be corrected its day was done.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    this is the same story line the critics used when the solstice convertible made its debut in late 05 for the 06 MY....those of us who own them love them.....and its just either love it or hate it......we see no shortcomings......we told GM during a factory tour lack of storage for the removeable top would be the critics main comment....the coupe will bring a few more into ownership, convert some of the current convertible owners.....

    racing results have proven the solstice a proven winner......its a niche car.....and in most cases a second or third car for most owners......but even those who use them as daily drivers love can overcome storage space.....we have packed for a week for two people in the car on a 1500 mile trip.....just on owners opinion.....ours is over 3 years old...40k on it..and still lovin it....
  • The Sports Car Club of America is for amature road racing. They have showroom stock classes where you are not allowed to make any changes to the cars. The Pontiac Solstice has DOMINATED this class since it debuted, and that is against the Mazda Miata, and Nissan 350Z. The results of the races are available online. If the Solstice is SOOO terrible, why has it DOMINATED the Miata and others in showroom stock road racing? The Solstice is the national champion for the T2 class! It was last year as well!

    I owned a base model Solstice for 2 years, and now have a Sky Redline (same as a Pontiac Solstice GXP), and I participate in club road racing events as an instructor. I also own a GTS Viper. I am willing to bet I have a lot more road course experience than the author of this article, and I can assure any readers that the Solstice/Sky are OUTSTANDING roadsters when it comes to handeling. The base model Solstice tires are horrible and really let the car down.

    I am on my second Kappa now (Solstice and Sky are called Kappas), and the build quality on both have been very good with not a single problem on either one.

    My advice? Don't listen to some hack. Go drive the car yourself. There is a Pontiac dealership on every corner. Go for a test drive, and make up YOUR mind. I almost bought a S2000 before I drove the Solstice. I'm glad I took the Solstice for a test drive!
  • Like any car with personality, the Sol has some quirks. None of them make me love my '07 Solstice any less. Cupholders? With the cornering this baby can do, you'll just slosh all the java out anyway. Clutch? The light feel more than makes up for the slower release. The gearbox is out of a truck and some seem to think that is a bad thing. Where I grew up, truck stuff was TUFF exception here. No question the looks are what drew me to the car, but nothing...not the manual top (conv), nor the flimsy cupholder (still working after 2 years) has enough "disappointment" factor to make one tire of it. I have a strong feeling these reviewers are concentrating on Cindy Crawford's little mole a bit too much.
  • Mike Schmidt has to be one the dumbest sob's in the auto industry. The gxp is winning races with the same stock suspension he is crying about. If you need luggage room stick with a suv. It is 2 seater you idiot.
  • Statements like "can't keep up with the Miata on the mountain curves" show the lack of knowledge with regard to the Solstice platform. Solstice has been showing the Miatas 'how its done' for the past 4 years ... on the Autocross tracks and the Road Tracks all across the United States. The lack of body roll alone is enough to show any educated driver the advantage the Solstice has in the curves.

    Its time the American Made bias of the rag writers is put where it belongs ... :mad:
  • When he complains about things that the car lacks, I have to laugh...

    "Comfortable cockpit with practical storage? All-day freeway comfort? We can't even stow the narrow hardtop inside the car?"

    I don't have these in my Lotus Elise either--the most fantastic care I've ever owned --which gets driven 90 miles a day, btw.

    It isn't the car for him; he wants something else (minivan, perhaps?)'s not that he expected too much, but that he expected or wanted something different.
  • dyziodyzio Posts: 9
    it's characteristic for GM to biuld not special 1 generation of the car and even if second, refreshed model comes with much better specs, it's to late:modern Pontiac GTO, Chevy SSR, Caddy Allante and XLR (yes, but thye same with Ford Thunderbird)...

    it's probably the same problem here:
    I love that rough "american" attitude..but if You cant hide your "targa roof" in your car ? - that's too much,
    they could improve interior too ! (370Z and Mustang got that !)

    although this cars has some flaws I really love the looks and drivetrain (specs)
    good luck Pontiac : I hope we'll see new retro-GTO
    Pontiac is a niche brand now, isn't it?:)

    modern muscle debate
  • ikanaikana Posts: 3
    In claiming the superiority of the Solstice to the Miata in SCCA racing, is the Solstice in question the base model or the GXP? If it is the GXP, I don't see how it is a fair comparison since the GXP is quite a bit more expensive... Doesn't it start at about $30k? The Miata, on the other hand, starts around $20k and lacks a trim level comparable to the GXP. I'm sure that Mazda could release a similarly expensive Miata in order to compete with the Solstice GXP, but that seems to go against the idea of an affordable sports car.

    I haven't driven either car, but from what I have read, it seems that the Miata gets high overall marks and the Solstice doesn't because of differences in refinement. The fit and finish, storage space, top operation, comfort and most importantly driving experience all seem to be excellent in the Miata. I haven't heard good things about any of those for the solstice, but then, I've never driven one.

    Those of you that own the Solstice seem to be happy, but then, few people will admit to making a poor decision on items as expensive as cars. Look no farther than the user reviews for just about any car on this site. Almost everything is 9.0+. Maybe the Solstice is a good car, I don't know, but I think that I would trust the opinions of those who evaluate vehicles for a living over those who have a great deal of personal interest involved by being owners.

    It's not that my opinion of the car is particularly important, but if comparisons are going to be made to the Miata, they should be done with perspective and in the proper context. I don't think that it is fair to compare an approximately $30k car with an approximately $20k one, especially on the track.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    you have to drive both to honestly do a good comparison...having compared both when I was in the market....the miata had a cramped cockpit compared to the and finish were the same and I wasnt concerned about top operation, nor storage and both had the same driving comfort levels IMHO.....looks are hands down the solstice, even with a 15 year head start by miata....and the driving experience was hands down for the solstice with the 50 50 balance front to back, and a wider stance than the miata.....there are die hard owners of both cars who are passionate about all comes down to a personal choice...and I would challenge you to find a Miata for 20K these days......

    as far as the SCCA competition...both are special club edition vehicles and not necessarily a GXP vs a base.....the cars both race in the same division so meet the same I would stand behind the SCCA wins of the Solstice vs Miata.....since the first year it hit the began its winning ways...

    those who evaluate cars for a living do so out of strictly based on likes dislikes and somewhat of a personal bias in my opinion.....never make a choice based on someone review...make it on a personal, careful research of the product....regardless of what it is.....Im sure others will add there comments here as well....cheers
  • ikanaikana Posts: 3
    I agree that driving both would be necessary to compare the cars in an informed way. I also agree that the new Miata could look better, but it will be interesting to see the 2009 model up close. As far as even weight distribution, hasn't that always been a key design goal for the Miata? They seem to take it pretty seriously, after all, the first and I believe second generation models had the battery in the trunk. The batteries were even lightweight with an unusual chemistry. I believe the claim was that the balance is very near 50/50 with the driver in the car.

    I looked up the Solstice Club Sport package, it appears to be available for the GXP only:

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn't that be pitting the Miata against a much more powerful car? I couldn't readily find information on an equivalent package for the Miata, but I doubt that it includes serious power mods that would make it competitive with the GXP. They may have modifications that improve handling and braking vs. a base model car, but that is a pretty significant power difference, so it doesn't seem like a fair comparison to me.
  • Having owned a number of Opel GT's I think that the new Solstice Coupe, especially with it's rounded sides resembles the original Opel GT. The newer version of that car is nice, but misses the GT's essence.
  • dyziodyzio Posts: 9
    great debate..
    i belive if Solstice would have more interesting interior (It's not so much $ after all) it would be much interesting ( I thing maybe sth more futuristic (Pontiac as a sport and futuryistic brand-remember futuristic adverts from 80ties?)
    Solstice is a special model and it should evething special..
    thats the kind of car I'm expecting from pontiac..
    angd pleas biuld sth 2 door with retro-futuristic design
    give GTO second chance !

    oh yeah and put that 300BHP V-6 under the hood!
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    the V-6 debate has been discussed many times...and the kappa platform by its design doesnt lend itself to a V-6 from an assembly line point of view...remember the Solstice began life as an under $20K base model car....which was the intent of Bob Lutz......sure it has grown above that.... but not sure what more you would want in the interior (futuristic) without losing the true simplistic roadster design which is what most buyers wanted in the first place...I believe Pontiac is trying to stay true to form and keep the price reasonable for both the base and GXP versions....thus you will probably not see too many changes to the platform as a whole...2011 will be a turning point for the car as production....if it is still going transitions from the current plant.....

    the aftermarket is growing for the solstice.....and you can even put a V-8 in it now as well a several companies offering with S/C or Turbo upgrades, not to mention a few very good interior design shops specializing in the Solstice....
  • jeffindfwjeffindfw Posts: 2
    The two different Solstices race in two completely different classes in SCCA racing. The base model Solstice that starts at $20,000 races against the Miata in the "SSB" class, and has dominated that class since 2006 when the Solstice arrived. The GXP Solstice races in the faster "T2" class, and it is the current champion of THAT class as well.

    "Writing about cars for a living" does not mean these people have a clue. All these writers say the Miata handles better than the Solstice, yet facts prove that wrong. I own a Viper, so I can afford to buy a Miata if I thought it was better. I have driven a TON of Miatas while being a driving instructor. It is a great car. But, the Solstice is a better car if you want performance. The Solstice handles better, and the championships PROVE it. I'm just telling you people to stop blindly reading the bologny written by these "professional" reviewers, and go look at these cars yourself. Drive them yourself. Have an open mind. The quality in my new Nissan Xterra is HORRIFIC, and if it was built by GM, the reviewers would raise holy stink about it. BUT, because it is Japanese, it gets a free pass and it is never mentioned. I bought it because I needed a strong off-roader, so I don't care about the terrible interior quality, but I *DO* think it is unfair the way all the automotive writers are SOOO biased against American companies.
  • ikanaikana Posts: 3
    I just did some research on it, if you still believe that facts prove that the solstice handles better than the miata, I would be interested in seeing what facts specifically lead you to this conclusion.

    First off, solstices that race in SSB are equipped with an option called Z0K Club Sport, which offers several upgrades (including suspension) that are not found on the stock car sold to the average consumer. g/

    Regardless of whether a similar package exists for the miata is sort of besides the point, as you have gone past comparing cars that the average person can actually buy. You're not comparing a stock solstice to a stock miata at this point.

    Secondly, there is this article from Edmunds, which indicates that mazda attempted to produce an answer to the Z0K Club Sport option for the Miata:

    So without any more information than that, I can only conclude that the miata is losing to a solstice that is not a realistic representation of what is available to the average consumer. If nothing else, this might be a good indicator that SSB results are not a good indicator of what cars offer the best performance for the average consumer.

    Therefore, it is now on you to prove that the base solstice handles better than the base miata, as you seem to believe. I don't understand why you threw in a statement about having a viper, and thus being able to afford a miata if you thought it was better. You're comparing a very expensive car to a very cheap one, you'd be an idiot to take a viper over a miata if it wasn't a good deal better for your criteria. Are you just trying to show off by saying that you have a viper? So what? That isn't relevant to the discussion. Neither are any allegations about bias, since I believe that I have established that the cars are not directly comparable anyway, as at least one of them (the solstice) is not an accurate representation of the base solstice you see on the road.
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