- Has the interior space of a larger sedan
- Fuel economy with four-cylinder
- Value Leader model is a bargain
- Interior materials look and feel cheap
- Vague electric power steering
- Coarse engines on all but GXP
The 2008 Pontiac G6 has appealing styling inside and out, but it fails to wow in other respects.
Pontiac's front-wheel-drive, mid-size G6 sedan has a longer wheelbase than the larger Grand Prix and nearly as much cabin space.
Several different models of the 2008 Pontiac G6 cover a range of purposes, from economical commuter to performance-oriented sport sedan. Base sedans are powered by a 2.4-liter, 164-horsepower four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission. The G6 GT sedan uses a 3.5-liter V-6 with 219 hp, teamed to a standard four-speed automatic with manual shift control. A new sporty GXP variant appears for 2008. The GXP initials in this case mean a 3.6-liter V-6 engine with 252 hp and 251 pound-feet of torque, twinned to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The 2008 Pontiac G6 GXP also wears new rocker moldings, restyled front and rear fascias, and dual exhaust openings. Fog lamps and 18-inch wheels are also in the package; later on, GM plans to offer a special "Street Edition" with hood scoops and a spoiler.
The base four-cylinder engine has just adequate acceleration and is quite coarse when pushed, but it delivers good fuel economy (30 mpg highway). The 3.5-liter is very responsive, though it can also be coarse and loud, while the 3.6-liter in the 2008 Pontiac G6 GXP has a different personality; it's a more modern overhead-cam design and is tuned for especially strong passing power. The six-speed in the GXP is also a big improvement over the four-speed, with smooth shifts and relaxed cruising.
Four-cylinder 2008 Pontiac G6 models come with an electric power steering system that's inferior in feel to the hydraulic system offered on the V-6. In either model, the steering lacks the precision of other cars in its class, while the ride is quite firm and can be choppy on pockmarked pavement.
The 2008 Pontiac G6 sedan's interior has an attractive design, but the quality of the materials is still a bit disappointing, with too many glossy or hard plastics that look like they might scratch easily. The G6's seating is ample for five, with an especially spacious backseat.
A so-called Value Leader model of the G6 offers an especially low price but still has standard air conditioning, power accessories, and a six-speaker sound system. The base 2008 Pontiac G6 gets larger wheels, cruise control, and keyless entry, while the GT upgrades significantly to the V-6, cast aluminum wheels, fog lamps, steering-wheel-mounted controls, and a premium Monsoon sound system. OnStar is also standard across the lineup, as are auxiliary audio jacks for iPods/MP3 players. XM Satellite Radio is standard on GT models. Standout options include power leather seats, power-adjustable pedals, and remote start. A Bluetooth hands-free interface is not available.
The 2008 Pontiac G6 has garnered mixed crash-test results, including respectable four- and five-star ratings in frontal protection and top five-star ratings in side impact from the federal government, along with less impressive "acceptable" and "marginal" ratings. Side thorax airbags and side curtain airbags are standard on the G6, along with anti-lock brakes. Electronic stability control is included in the GXP but not available on the other models.