2007 Pontiac G6 Convertible Test drive and new car review 2007 …

1 Май 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 2007 Pontiac G6 Convertible Test drive and new car review 2007 … отключены
Pontiac Electric Cars

We see the halo, but where’s the angel?

First introduced as a 2006 model, the Pontiac G6 Convertible was Pontiac’s (and parent company General Motors’) first attempt at a hard-top convertible. For 2007 the hot-rod GTP model goes away, replaced by a sport package on the GT. The G6 is still one of the only cars to compete in the mid-size convertible class. It’s priced favorably against its chief rivals, the Chrysler Sebring and Toyota Solara, and it offers the novelty of a retractable hardtop. But is that a blessing or a curse?

Base price $29,150, $32,015 as tested, EPA mileage estimates 18 MPG city, 24 MPG highway.

First Glance: Pontiac’s halo car

The G6 is what is known in the business as a halo car — a shining example of technical excellence designed to show the world what a given car maker is capable of. At least, that’s what a halo car is supposed to do. The premise of the G6 convertible is that it’s one of the first (if not the first) affordably-priced convertibles with a retractable steel roof in place of the more common fabric roof.

That’s the premise; here are the problems. First, retractable hardtops, once found only in luxury cars like Lexus and Mercedes, are becoming more common. The new BMW 3-series convertible sports a retractable hardtop, as does the Volkswagen Eos.

Even the Mazda Miata and upcoming 2008 Chrysler Sebring offer one as an option. Second, the G6 Convertible isn’t a particularly well-designed example. Fellow About.com Cars test driver Jason Fogelson put it best when he test-drove last year’s model.

The top is quite good, but the rest of the car isn’t.

In the First Glance section, we often talk about styling, and that’s probably the one heartfelt compliment I can pay the G6 convertible: It’s a good looking car, top up or top down. Visibility to the rear is pretty lousy — Pontiac ought to offer an optional crystal ball to help you park — but that’s the price you pay for lookin’ good.

Continued below.

In the Driver’s Seat: Comfortable but impractical

Dash is well laid out, though it didn’t really wow me with its styling

Photo Aaron Gold

The G6’s front seats (heated in my tester) are generous and comfortable, the back seats are a joke, and the trunk is a figment of the imagination — at least if you’re planning to put the top down. Luggage space is restricted to an area at the base of the trunk that isn’t high enough to accommodate anything thicker than a hanging bag. Check out these photos from a weekend getaway I took with my wife Robin: Here is what we wanted to put in the trunk. and here is what we had to take out and put in the back seat in order to lower the top.

With most of our stuff inside the car, we had to put the top up at every stop in order to secure it. (Even if everything fit in the trunk, we’d have to do that anyway; the electric trunk release is on the driver’s door and I couldn’t find a way to disable it.) We quickly began to loathe the electric top switch, which is located up by the rear view mirror. Top operation takes around 30 seconds, which is an awfully long time to keep your finger up there on the switch. You can’t even brace your fingers on the windshield header, because they’ll get pinched by the top.

Why couldn’t the G6’s engineers have put the switch down on the center console, where it belongs?

The rest of the interior was just OK. The combination of tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, power driver’s seat and optional ($125) adjustable pedals made finding a comfortable position easy. But the interior materials were cheap-looking and the three lone pieces of fake-wood trim looked like an afterthought.

On the Road: Quiet, but lacking in driver appeal

For 2007 the GTP model is gone from the convertible lineup. It’s been replaced by a sport package that includes the bigger 3.9 liter V6. My tester was so equipped. Power is fine, though the 4-speed automatic (with manual mode) limits its flexibility a bit.

According to the G6’s trip computer, we averaged around 19 MPG in town, top up or down, and low 20s in mixed driving with the top down. We saw the best fuel economy numbers when cruising at freeway speeds with the top up, when the G6 averaged just shy of 30 MPG.

With the top up, the G6 seals up as tight and quiet as a steel-roof coupe, because it essentially is a steel-roof coupe. Top down it’s another story. The roof provides much of a car’s stiffness, so convertibles usually get an extra dose of bracing — but the G6 shakes and shimmies quite badly over uneven road surfaces. With the top down, the G6 had a tendancy to wander out of its lane; top up its straight-line behavior was much better.

The G6’s comfortable ride, top up or down, was its best feature. But neither Robin nor I pressed the car very hard into the corners — it’s just not a car that begs for action.

As a potential buyer, I’d be concerned about how well the G6 will hold up over the long term. Our test car had less than 2,000 miles on the clock but there was a nasty rattle in the driver’s door and the transmission’s manual-mode gear-selector was downright wonky, requiring only the slightest movement backward to downshift but a firm shove forward to upshift.

Journey’s End: A good idea in theory, but not so great in reality

Don’t brace your fingers against the windshield header when the top’s going up, otherwise you’ll get your fingers pinched.

Photo Aaron Gold

In theory, the hard-top convertible seems like a good idea. It seals up tight and gives you the quiet, weather-proof ride of a coupe. In reality, soft-top convertibles have become so good that the hard-top is hardly worth the trade-offs: Top operation is longer, the mechanism is needlessly complex, and all that perfectly good trunk room is given up for top storage. Aside from the issue of theft-deterrence — crooks can’t knife open a steel roof to nab the stereo — and the fact that it’s a bit quieter with the top up, I think it’s hardly worth the sacrifice. (Robin, a former convertible owner, disagrees and likes the idea of essentially having two cars in one.)

And the G6 isn’t the best execution. GM seems to have spent lots of time and money on the top and not enough on the rest of the car. The G6’s body needs more stiffening and the fit and finish have to improve if Pontiac expects to compete with cars from Japan and the Germany.

The Toyota Solara and Chrysler Sebring (the old model at least — the 2008 wasn’t out at the time of writing) lack the slickness of the G6’s hard top but are much more practical for day-to-day use, thanks to useable trunks and real back seats.

To be fair, Robin, who spent as much time driving the G6 as I did, thinks I’m being too hard on the G6. Perhaps she’s right. The G6 is, after all, supposed to be a halo car.

It’s good looking and decently priced, but in terms of driving dynamics and convertible-specific attributes it’s just mediocre. I’m disappointed because I know General Motors can do better.

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