The Car Connection Pontiac G6 Overview
Produced for six model years, from 2005 through 2010, the Pontiac G6 range was the mid-size vehicle in the now-defunct brand's range--above the G5 compact but below the G8 large rear-wheel-drive sedan. Unusually, the G6 was offered in no fewer than three body styles--a four-door sedan, a two-door coupe, and a convertible with a retracting hardtop.
First shown in the fall of 2004, the G6 replaced the popular Pontiac Grand Am sedan. It shared underpinnings with not only the higher-volume Chevrolet Malibu but also the Saab 9-3. The G6 had unique and somewhat slab-sided styling that dispensed with the characteristic ribbed cladding of the Grand Am, for a sleeker and more "European" design. Inside, the dashboard and gauges were straightforward, working toward an impression of performance in what was to be GM's sporty volume-car brand. The approach was somewhat spoiled by the profusion of hard materials and glossy plastics.
From 2006, the base engine in the G6 was a 2.4-liter four-cylinder putting out 164 horsepower, paired to a six-speed automatic transmission by the end of the car's life. An array of different 3.5-liter, 3.6-liter, and 3.9-liter V-6 options was offered among various higher-trim models over the years. A six-speed manual transmission was an option with the largest of the V-6s.
The powertrains sounded coarse under heavy load, especially the four. The G6's ride was tuned to be sporty, ending up firm on good roads but choppy over broken or rippled pavement. Gas mileage was largely middle-of-the-pack.
The G6 convertible was one of the least expensive retractable hardtops offered in the U.S., joining the company of such European imports as the Volkswagen Eos and Volvo C70. The design provided a quieter and more solid feel with the top up, at the expense of considerable trunk space devoted to the folded top sections. Folding or erecting the top takes about 30 seconds. The safety ratings of the drop-top G6 also weren't as good as the rest of the range.
Two of the three G6 models, the coupe and sedan, performed well in NHTSA and IIHS crash testing--if not at the absolute top of the heap. Side-curtain airbags were made standard for the 2007 model year. The convertible, however, got lower scores than the coupe or sedan when rated by the IIHS, despite the addition of side airbags to the standard front and side-curtain bags in those other G6 styles.
Base G6 models were well equipped, featuring power locks, windows and mirrors with keyless entry, six-speaker CD stereo, power drivers seat, air conditioning and split folding rear seat. GTs added an eight-speaker Monsoon stereo, premium cloth seats with six-way adjustment, remote start, ABS and traction control.
Midway through the 2009 model year, the G6 received a front-fascia restyle with taller grille openings. But General Motors had declared bankruptcy before that model was introduced, and the Pontiac brand was killed off as part of the government-led restructuring. The G6 remained in demand for fleet orders, and the final model was built through November 2009--making the G6, at its demise, the very last U.S.-built Pontiac.
For more details, specifications, and options, see our review of the 2009 Pontiac G6.