- Straightforward controls
- Spacious interior
- Good ride
- Acceleration (GXP)
- Handling and steering
- Squeaks and groans
- Interior materials
- Fuel economy
- GXP can top $35,000
While the GXP edition of 2009 Pontiac Torrent is the pick of the line, plenty of other vehicles in the segment are more refined and more modern.
Certain shortcomings keep the 2009 Pontiac Torrent from claiming the top spot in its segment, but its spacious cabin remains a strong attraction.
Styling is another potential reason that shoppers might be drawn to the 2009 Pontiac Torrent; its styling is somewhat slab-sided, and the stubby front end might not appeal to everyone, but there’s no denying that it takes its own direction on the exterior.
The five-passenger Torrent features a standard 185-horsepower, 3.4-liter V-6, but it’s the 264-hp, 3.6-liter DOHC V-6 in the GXP edition that really allows the Torrent to shine. The GXP package (available in front- and all-wheel drive) also includes a standard six-speed automatic transmission with "tap up, tap down" manual shift control, polished 18-inch rims with 50-series Goodyear Eagle RS-A performance tires, a unique hood with twin pressed-in "aero scoops," dual exhaust tips jutting out of the rear valance, and projector-style fog lamps leading the way up front. The suspension's been lowered and tuned to be firmer, too. The 2009 Pontiac Torrent GXP reaches 60 mph from zero in about 6.9 seconds with the front-drive version.
The base version of the 2009 Pontiac Torrent is considerably less inspiring, with numb, sluggish steering, though the base versions of the Torrent ride quite well. Despite that, occupants are likely to hear more creaks and groans than is typical for vehicles in this class. Needless to say, the Torrent is not a rugged off-road SUV.
The interior of the Pontiac Torrent is excellent in design but poor in execution. It’s spacious, well organized, versatile, and family-friendly; there is no third-row seat, but the Torrent is extremely roomy, even in the backseat (it's comfortable enough for six-foot-tall passengers). The controls for the A/C system and radio are simple, effective rotary-style knobs that can be operated by feel without having to look at them as you drive. The dash layout is swell, too, though not as rich and finished-looking as some of GM's newer models such as the new Chevy Malibu and the absolutely gorgeous Buick Enclave. That’s about where the compliments end; there's still a bit too much rhino-hard black plastic that detracts from the quality feel a $30,000 vehicle ought to convey in 2009, and assembly quality in the Torrents we’ve seen hasn’t been perfect.
Base versions of the 2009 Pontiac Torrent come with a bit more than is expected from a small SUV, such as standard keyless entry and cruise control, plus a six-speaker sound system with iPod interface. The GXP also includes heated front seats, a performance-themed gauge cluster, and GXP-specific exterior and interior trim.
Upgrades for 2009 include XM Satellite Radio and head-curtain side-impact airbags with rollover-protection sensors, both of which are standard on all models. Bluetooth connectivity is now available as an option on the Pontiac Torrent.