Pontiac unveiled the Pontiac Solstice at the North American International Auto Show in 2004. Production of this sports car began in 2005, and it went on sale for the 2006 model year. From the time it was launched, until its discontinuation in 2009, the Solstice was a huge hit for Pontiac. Initially, GM planned to manufacture only 7000 in the first year, but it is reported that there were 7000 orders in the first two weeks of sales with a further 6000 following shortly thereafter. Despite its popularity, the Pontiac Solstice was discontinued in 2009. GM terminated the Pontiac brand at the end of 2010.
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About the Pontiac Solstice
Pontiac created the two-door, two-seater Solstice as a direct competitor for the Mazda Miata. It had a front-engine, rear drive layout that was initially available as a convertible, and later as a hardtop. The convertible was fitted with a retractable soft top that complimented the lines of the roadster whether it was up or down. With the creation of the Solstice, Pontiac aimed to produce a sports car that would turn heads, both in how it looked and its power and handling. Unfortunately, the Pontiac Solstice has a love-it or hate-it reputation. Owners can be divided into one of two camps: those who claim to have had no problems and are completely satisfied with the Pontiac Solstice; and those who look at it as just a pretty car.Pontiac Solstice Features
The Pontiac Solstice debuted as a concept car at the auto shows in 2002, and Pontiac kept much of the styling the same when it launched the roadster in 2005. The Solstice used GM’s Kappa platform, which was also the platform that the Saturn Sky was built on. It was fitted with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that produced 177 horsepower and coupled with a five-speed manual transmission as standard. During the 2006 model year, a five-speed automatic transmission became an available option.
The look and layout of motorcycle gauges and instrument clusters were the inspiration for the Solstice’s instrument panel. Sport bucket seats and a rake-adjustable steering wheel completed the roadster’s race car feel. The Pontiac Solstice came with four-wheel disk brakes and 18-inch wheels, but an anti-lock braking system was optional, as were power windows, cruise control, leather upholstery, and air-conditioning. With the introduction of a high performance edition in 2006, some of these features became standard.Pontiac Solstice Evolution
For the 2007 model year, Pontiac launched the Pontiac Solstice GXP at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2006. It was equipped with a two-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that had a power rating of 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. With the launch of this version, anti-lock braking, cruise control, leather upholstery, and power windows and locks became standard features. All of these features were still optional for the base model. The Pontiac Solstice GXP was also fitted with an antiskid system, which was not available for the basic Pontiac Solstice.
Slight modifications were made to both versions of the Pontiac Solstice for the 2008 model year. The GM OnStar assistance program became standard for both versions, and an acoustic headliner was added to reduce noise from the road and by the engine. During 2008, the hard top coupe was unveiled for the 2009 model year. It had the same options as the convertible models. Very few hard top Pontiac Solstice coupes were manufactured before the plant was closed in 2009. In total, less than 1500 hard tops were produced.
All Pontiac Solstice sports cars were initially fitted with a manually folding soft top that included a heated glass rear window. When the soft top is lowered, it almost completely fills the cargo area in the rear, making stowing anything in the trunk difficult. Very little space has been left in the car for storage of any kind, which makes long-distance travelling problematic. The introduction of a hard top coupe n 2008 improved this somewhat. The hard top could be removed from the coupe version, but it could not be stored in the trunk. A cloth top came as an option that could be stored in the trunk. When the top was down, the car had a reputation for being noisy, particularly for the turbocharged version.