Until Pontiac bit the dust in the wake of GM's 2009 bankruptcy fiasco, the Pontiac G6 was the company's go-to midsize car. In a constant battle to steal sales from the class favorites, the G6 offered unusually tactful styling by Pontiac standards, solid performance from its V6 engines and the availability of a four-seat retractable-hardtop convertible body style. Volume-selling models were the five-passenger sedan and four-passenger coupe.
Unlike the Grand Am that it replaced, the Pontiac G6 had considerably more flavor than a generic rental car. Still, the traditional class favorites topped the G6 in the areas of engine refinement, driving dynamics and cabin materials. The G6 may still hold appeal for used-car shoppers, especially given its likely cut-rate pricing. GM has pledged to continue supporting Pontiac products in its service departments, so a used G6 isn't necessarily a bad idea.
Most Recent Pontiac G6
Based on General Motors' lengthened "Epsilon" platform, the Pontiac G6 was produced from 2005-'09 as a sedan, coupe and retractable-hardtop convertible. For '05, only the sedan was offered; the coupe and convertible debuted a year later. Three main trim levels were offered on the sedan: base, GT and GTP (which became the GXP in '08). Coupes were either GTs or GTP/GXPs, convertibles GT only. Plenty of standard features, such as air-conditioning, full power accessories and CD audio, came on the base model. The GT added niceties such as an upgraded Monsoon audio system. The GXP topped the range with items like sporty exterior styling tweaks and automatic climate control.
At the time of Pontiac's demise, the G6's engine lineup included a base 2.4-liter four (164 horsepower), a 3.5-liter V6 (219 hp), a 3.9-liter V6 available on the convertible only (222 hp) and the GXP's 3.6-liter V6 (252 hp). Four-speed automatics were standard with all except the GXP's V6, which got a six-speed; however, the four-cylinder got an optional six-speed for 2009 that raised highway fuel economy to a laudable 33 mpg. Some power ratings were a bit lower in previous years, notably the 3.5-liter V6, and a manual transmission was available on a limited basis until '08.
In reviews we found that the Pontiac G6 offered generous room for those riding in back, no matter the body style. And we noted that after years of enduring criticism about its overstyled exteriors and gimmicky interior designs, Pontiac stepped up its efforts with the G6. Outside, the G6 had a crisp and sleek look; inside, there was a restrained and attractive layout with none of the traditional dull gray plastic switches. Even so, the G6 still had a few too many cheap plastic surfaces for our tastes.
On the road, we appreciated the low and midrange torque of the 3.5-liter V6, and the ride was smooth. The convertible's optional 3.9-liter V6 should be avoided if possible, though -- it was barely more powerful than the 3.5-liter V6 and got worse fuel economy. Handling was respectable, but we disliked the electric power steering, which was too light and offered virtually no feedback. GT models from 2007 and up had an improved hydraulic steering setup, which we preferred. Along with the enhanced feature content of the later models, we'd recommend focusing your used Pontiac G6 search on the '07 or newer models.