Pontiac G6 test drive

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There is no doubt the G6 is a good looking sedan. I even like the almost weird feel of the very long wheelbase.
It just isn’t your average family sedan.
Many people have compared it to the super good looking concept GM showed us before the production car was introduced. And it’s not really fair. Sure the concept did look great, but the production car still looks very nice compared to other cars in the price range…

The interior IS a major let down compared to the concept. Always has been. And GM has done nothing to improve it.
It’s not horrible. it’s main problem is that it was designed during what I call an “in between’ time for GM.
After the crappy cars like the previous Malibu and Grand Am. But before the “new GM” with its 2008 Malibu etc…
So all the plastics are still hard to the touch. It doesn’t have the newer radio controls.. That means no iPod plug or bluetooth.
I would compare it mostly to the new Malibu. With its great looking interior. In the G6, the seats aren’t as good, and the overall quality feels quite a bit cheaper.

Someone here was asking about the glove box. Well, here it is. Much smaller than its opening, and hanging in all its hard plastic glory…

When you first start the engine in the morning, there is no mistake, it is a 4 cylinder. And it doesn’t sound really smooth.
But like most, it does settle down after a few miles where it becomes actually much smoother and quiet.
I’d say it sounds better than the Jetta’s rough 5 cylinder, but that’s about it. Somehow, the same engine in the new Malibu sounds much more refined. And the Malibu is always quieter.
Once under way, there is enough power for most people. But the engine becomes pretty loud and coarse if you push it.
So you just… don’t…
The steering has a bit of that artificial “Nintendo” feel to it. the steering wheel itself feels cheap and hard to the touch and is a bit too big.
The seats are OK, but there is nothing to hold the lower back. the lumbar support starts too high.
What is great is the suspension. A bit firm and always smooth.
The brakes are also great, with a wonderful feel.
the car in general feels very solid and quiet (when the engine is cruising).
It is almost silent on the freeway.

what was a big disappointment was the gas mileage. Doing mostly city driving, with a little bit of freeway, it was tough to average 20mpg. Not sure whay, but I’m sure the 4 speed auto, although very smooth, doesn’t help.

The rear cup holder is also very cheap looking. I know, details….

The back seat is really roomy.
The cloth on the base model is pretty plain. Nothing like what you find in the new Malibu.

Overall I was left with mixed feeling about the G6. There is nothing really wrong with it.
The engine could be smother, but you can get the V6.
The interior isn’t great (but it’s not horrible) but that also can be helped by getting the leather.
And maybe the steering also gets better with the V6.
And you don’t see them everywhere like the Camry.

But really, the G6’s biggest problem is the new Malibu. A technically similar car that looks, feels and drive like a much more upscale car. For about the same money.

A G6 like the one I drove costs $20,400 (carsdirect has it for $18,008)
A similar Malibu goes for $19,995 (carsdirect has it for $19,764)

My advice: spend the extra cash on the Malibu. Or wait a few months untill the production increases to get an even better deal.
The G6 doesn’t really offer anything the others don’t.

Unless you fell in love with the design and must have one.
In that case, you’re still getting a decent car….

Conversation 19 comments

  1. I find it weird that Pontiac (and GM) has not the the simple little things it has with its other cars. The Equinox has a very similar interior as the G6 and was improved dramatically by simply putting in the new GM corperate radio. At least they have replaced that goodawfull stearing wheel (from the old malibu and equinox) with the 3-spoke wheel. I do have faith though that Gm has learned (they have shown they can finally make a decent car with the new malibu) and will make a knock out G6 when the time comes to replace it.

  2. I agree with that “in between” time. I think that’s partly why the Aura is’nt doing so well too. I think the Aura came into being during that “in between” time too. I always thought the Malibu was going to be the Aura’s (and I guess too the g6’s) biggest competition. I guess a new Aura is on the way in about 2 or 3 years? I feel though that if GM does’nt do anything new with the current Aura and G6, then it seems to me that there is not much point in having them.

    Good review Vince. Also, I’m glad you’re testing the 4 cyl models of vehicles. Not many others do that. Thanks.

  3. The G6 was substandard when it first came out. And look how the enormous latch intrudes into that tiny joke of a glove box.

    Who’d buy this over the Malibu?

  4. Maybe it’s time to kill Pontiac which appears to be redundant if the high-volume Chevy Malibu is a better choice.

    Pontiac has nothing currently except the upcoming G8 (those good-looking sedans were everywhere in Australia where I visited last month). That Australian sedan could just as easily be a Buick.

    GM still has too many brands offered in the U.S. Aren’t Chevy, Saturn, Buick, Saab, and Cadillac enough? I think they’re MORE than enough and Pontiac has been ignored for so long that nobody thinks about it now.

  5. Nice review, I leave it to you Vince when I want to read an unbiased review (especially on a domestic car). It’s too bad Pontiac hasn’t stepped up the interior on this car, I guess they are sticking it out until a reskin, whenever that will be.

  6. in the past i’ve felt we have similar tastes in car design. not anymore. this is not a decent design…

  7. As an ’08 Malibu 2LT 4-cyl owner, familiar with the G6 and other Epsilons…DEAD on review. It’s not at all a bad car, but even vehicles with a lot of the same mechanicals also sold by GM (ala Malibu) just knock it out of the ball part. Especially in terms of the big difference in overall feel and quietness, interior style & quality, outside proportions, etc.

    Just as you said, and I couldn’t have put it better myself, the G6 is VERY much an “in between” vehicle, stuck between the questionable GM and the new and well done GM.

    And there doesn’t seem to be much of anything in the pipeline for the G6, even in terms of updated radios. It’s apparently just going to stay as it is, until, well, who knows when.

  8. As an 2005 G6 GT owner, I sometimes get a little angry with people when they dismiss this car without even looking at it. Sure its not a “polished” as the new Malibu, doesn’t have the refinement of a Camry but I think it more than makes up with style. I absolutely love the looks of my G6. I’ve had it for about 3 years now and it still drives the same as the day I took it out for a test drive. Toyota isn’t an option for me as the same as Pontiac isn’t an option for Toy fans. The only car I probably would have gotten over my G6 would be the Fusion at the time. The Sonota maybe, now there are some great cars out and when it comes time for me to trade it in 2010, you can believe the G6 will get first look. My only problem with mine is gas mileage is a little disappointing, and the G6 head-unit loves to eat CD’s. I’m actually on my 3rd unit. Other than that I love my G6.

  9. I test drive the 4 cylinder models because that’s what people actually buy.
    When I went to the “Malibu drive” in Memphis, the GM people mentioned that about 70% of the sales were going to be the 2.4 Liter. I was surprised.
    Most magazines will only drive the biggest engines in the sporty version. That’s because they don’t care about people like us. I do.
    I have to say I did enjoy my time with the G6.
    It is a nice car that does look different.
    But again, I would still get the Malibu. But that’s me.

    Another thing. I am scheduled to drive the new G8 late next week. And of course, I am more interested in the V6 version that the V8. Because, again, that’s the one most people will get.
    I can’t wait. Even though I was a little bit disappointed when I sat in one at the auto show.

    I’ll report on that soon.

  10. what’s with the glove box? is it divided in three? can the owner’s manual fit in there?

    i think the G6 convertible hardtop with the luxury package (plwood and leather in tan) looks really nice … and especially you can get a loaded used ’07 with few miles for under $22k.

  11. i don’t understand why anyone would spend so much time on this dud, it doesn’t sell, it’s not well built, why would you offer the biggest review I have ever seen on this car???

  12. Hey Mattel must own a big stake in the General, There is more Barbie plastic in there then the Barbie motorhome, only diff. is they died the plastic a dead gray vs bright pink, nice work General Motors you really should be proud!

  13. Despite the last few misinformed reviews here…the G6 does well enough still. It is NOT poorly built, and in reality, as Vince saw is a generally solid and refined car that just hasn’t benefited from the latest and greatest in GM styling, extra refinement, and more features.

    Base models, especially with the dark interior, also look and feel a lot more drab than reality. Not that it’s a perfect car, at all, and certainly isn’t going to set any records on fire soon…but it offers a huge array of models and trims, nice pricing, two pleasing drivetrains, and looks that a lot of people like quite a bit.

    It is still bad that there’s enough disappointing about it to bring the “crazies” out of the woodwork who see it and hear one bad word, instantly to jump on the “Haha…GM garbage again” bandwagon, but that’s not reality.

    So, thank Vince, again, for a real-world review of an actually common real-world vehicle, in a way few others will care to do much more than briefly mention that lower models are also offered. Keep up the good work, and more of these reviews;)

  14. It is still bad that there’s enough disappointing about it to bring the “crazies” out of the woodwork who see it and hear one bad word, instantly to jump on the “Haha…GM garbage again” bandwagon, but that’s not reality.

    reality: 1. All of your experiences that determine how things appear to you.

    2. The state of the world as it really is rather than as you might want it to be.

  15. I cannot believe that some educated, well read person would actually state publicly, their support for GM. Then again, in a forum like this people have bigger balls. I would debate anyone face to face about GM very poor quality and very poor record. That person who would challenge me would have no chance. I have a very good friend who is the service manager for 14 years at a GM dealership in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. We laugh over a beer here and there about the complete garbage GM continues to put out and that people still buy them? The facts are everywhere.

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