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2008 Pontiac Torrent

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2008 Pontiac Torrent Review

Roomy interior, strong performance in the GXP model, and solid build quality makes the Torrent a good choice as a family SUV.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The 2008 Pontiac Torrent has a lot going for it as a family vehicle. It has the most room of any five-passenger SUV on the market in the 2008 model year. The Torrent is a great bridge between the compact and midsize SUVs. With a new GXP trim line added this year, it gets an extra power boost and some new standard features. Although the Pontiac Torrent may look like an off-road vehicle with its aggressive styling, it is more of a suburban warrior than anything else, providing the driver a smooth ride and a bit of power to boot.

The Range

Body Styles: midsize crossover SUV
Engines: 3.4-liter V-6, 3.6-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed automatic, six-speed automatic with manual shift priority
Models: Pontiac Torrent Base, Pontiac Torrent GXP

What's New

The 2008 Pontiac Torrent now has a GXP trim level that adds extra performance to the line. The GXP offers a 3.6-liter V-6 paired with a six-speed automatic transmission as well as a sport-tuned suspension and steering. The regular Base torrent also receives a re-tuned suspension that improves performance over the previous year. Better handling and ride quality is the result.

Exterior

The 2008 Pontiac Torrent has the look of an aggressive off-road SUV with its skid plates and large wheel arches, but these features are cosmetic at best. The Base model Torrent gets 16-inch alloy wheels, while the GXP adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, and unique hood and bumper colors.

Interior

The interior of the 2008 Pontiac Torrent is very spacious. The vehicle has a long wheelbase; pair that with the 60/40-split bench seating, and there is a lot of cabin space for tall riders. The bench seating can be slid forward or backward for extra room. When the rear seats are upright there are 35 cubic feet of space. When folded there are 69 cubic feet of storage space. There is also a rear cargo shelf that can be adjusted for different sized loads.

The center console is very pleasant to look at. There are plenty of chrome gauges facing the driver. Like all Pontiac vehicles, there is an ocean of plastic in the interior, but on the Torrent, the entire cabin is solidly constructed, making this a less important issue than in other, flimsier vehicles.

Standard features on the Base model include air-conditioning, CD player, auxiliary audio jack, OnStar, trip computer, and 12-volt power points. The GXP model receives all the standards of the Base model as well as privacy glass, remote vehicle starting, sports instrument panel, multilevel heating for the front seats, steering wheel audio controls, and an auto-dimming rear view mirror.

Performance & Handling

The 2008 Pontiac Torrent comes with one of two engine designs. The Base Torrent receives a 3.4-liter, V-6 engine that produces 185 horsepower with 210 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. The engine gives a lot of good mid and low range torque, although the power output feels a bit weak. The GXP model receives a 3.6-liter, V-6 engine that produces 264 horsepower with 250 lb-ft of torque. The engine comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. Both models are available as a front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

The 2008 Pontiac Torrent has decent handling and steering in comparison to other SUV models on the market. A smoother ride sacrifices some turning finesse due to the suspension, so there is a bit of body roll during fast turns. The electric power steering does not give a lot of feedback to the driver either. The GXP gives a bit more excitement, however.

Safety

The 2008 Pontiac Torrent has a lot of standard safety features, including anti-lock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, trailer-sway mitigation technology, and OnStar technology. Full-length curtain airbags and a rollover sensor are offered as optional features on both models. Unfortunately, torso airbags are not available on the 2008 Pontiac Torrent. The NHTSA gave the 2008 Pontiac Torrent five stars for front driver and passenger impact protection. The IIHS gave the Torrent its best rating of ""good"" for front seat off-set impacts.

EPA Fuel Economy

Pontiac Torrent Base: 17/24 mpg city/highway
Pontiac Torrent GXP: 16/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Great interior design
  • High safety scores
  • Power GXP V-6 engine

You Won't Like

  • Plastic materials in the interior
  • Slow steering response
  • Lackluster acceleration in the Base V-6

Sum Up

Roomy interior, strong performance in the GXP model, and solid build quality makes the Torrent a good choice as a family SUV.

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