- Clean, attractive exterior design
- Clever retractable hardtop
- Usable backseats, even in the convertible
- Overall interior space of the sedan
- Value Leader model is a bargain
- Coarse engines on all but GXP model
- Interior materials look and feel cheap
- Uninspiring handling
- Iffy safety
The 2009 Pontiac G6 models have appealing styling inside and out, but they fail to wow in most other respects.
Pontiac's G6 model line includes three different body styles: a coupe, a convertible, and a roomy sedan. The G6 Convertible ranks as one of the least expensive vehicles to offer a retractable hardtop arrangement—essentially bringing the same open-air enjoyment as a soft top but a coupe-like seal from the elements with the top up. For 2009, the G6 line gets updated equipment and powertrain improvements that help boost fuel efficiency.
Depending on the body style and the trim, the 2009 Pontiac G6 can cover a wide range of uses, from economical commuter to performance-oriented sport sedan. The 2009 Pontiac base model G6 sedan with the Sport Package 1 features a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission combination. The new powerplant is rated at an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway.
Throughout the rest of the range, there’s a somewhat confusing array of V-6 engines. For sedans and coupes, the GT gets a 219-horsepower, 3.5-liter, while the 252-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 moves the GXP. The two engines carry similar fuel economy estimates of 17 mpg city, 26 mpg highway but are very different in character; the GT’s engine is torquey and coarse-sounding, while the GXP’s motor is strong and smooth in comparison. The base 2009 Pontiac G6 Convertible GT continues to be propelled by a 217-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine. The optional 3.9-liter V-6 is rated at 222 horsepower and 238 pound-feet of torque, and it's mated to a four-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. In either case, the convertible’s powertrain feels coarse and unsophisticated, with more torque steer than most other front-drivers.
The 2009 Pontiac G6 Coupe drives quite well, but the experience is unremarkable. While the coupe doesn't have the electric power steering formerly offered—rather, it has a better hydraulic system—the G6 still doesn't steer or handle as well as other cars in its class. The ride is quite firm and can be choppy on pockmarked pavement, with no apparent handling advantage.
The interior of the 2009 Pontiac G6 sedan and coupe has an attractive design, but the quality of the materials is a bit disappointing, with too many glossy or hard plastics that look like they might scratch easily. The G6 Sedan’s seating is ample for five, with an especially spacious backseat.
The chief attraction in the 2009 Pontiac G6 Convertible is, of course, its folding hardtop. Pontiac says the top stows itself at the push of a button in about 30 seconds. That sizable roof, when down, is also the reason there's not much luggage space in the trunk.
The Pontiac G6 coupe and sedan are mid-pack in safety, relative to their rivals, while the Convertible hasn’t done as well in crash tests. The coupe and sedan have all the basics in terms of safety equipment; front side and side curtain airbags are standard, along with anti-lock brakes. Side airbags are standard on the 2009 Pontiac G6 Convertible, which also includes anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control. The G6 hardtops perform well in crash tests, with four- and five-star results for frontal impact protection and five-star results for side impact, though the IIHS gives a Marginal rating in the seat-based rear-impact test. The 2009 Pontiac G6 Convertible has only been tested by the insurance-industry-affiliated IIHS, and it demonstrated occupant protection that lags that of other convertibles.
Other 2009 enhancements to the G6 lineup for 2009 include XM Satellite Radio as standard equipment on all G6 models, a standard spoiler on the GT model, and a standard remote starter for GT and GXP models.