- Distinct front end
- Good fuel economy
- Bland performance
- Big, heavy doors
- Anti-lock brakes optional
The 2008 Pontiac G5 has the flash, but not the dash, of a red-blooded sport coupe.
The 2008 Pontiac G5 is the brand's entry-level car. The front-wheel-drive two-door is available in one body style and two trim levels: base and performance-themed GT.
The base engine is a 2.2-liter four-cylinder rated at 148 horsepower; it's available with either a Getrag-sourced five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The optional engine (in the GT) is a 171-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder with the same two transmission choices. Fuel economy is good at 24/33 mpg with the manual and the 2.2-liter four, and 22/31 mpg with the larger engine and automatic transmission. Neither engine/transmission combination is delightful; the four-cylinders have an unrefined sound and the automatic shifts well enough, but it doesn't have the five or six speeds that some competitors offer.
The 2008 Pontiac G5's handling is uninspiring, but it won't get any drivers into serious trouble. Understeer is its basic response, and the electric power steering is sluggish and pretty devoid of real feedback. The brakes feel a little better, though.
Outside, the 2008 Pontiac G5 is handsome enough--a bit more stylish than the Cobalt coupe that shares its mechanicals, though its long doors can be tough to open in a tight parking space. Inside, it's styled adequately, but the materials aren't high-quality, the front seats aren't quite supportive, and the backseats are low and cramped. Both base and GT trim lines come standard with A/C, as well as power windows and door locks. XM Satellite Radio, remote start, and a sunroof are available.
Anti-lock brakes and traction control are optional on the base model, though tire pressure monitors are standard on both versions. Curtain airbags are standard for 2008 on both models as well. The Pontiac G5 gets mostly four-star crash ratings and a four-star rating for rollover resistance.