2006 Pontiac G5 Pursuit GT 2.4 from North America
It's a great car that runs well and is fun to drive - and it performs well in a heavy winter
The tires fit tightly in the wheel wells. A lot of snow collects and I need to chip it out with my snow brush (as my foot won't fit to kick it out) every few days, otherwise it rubs on the tires.
Zippy little car for the price. Compared to all other lower-end cars I've driven, acceleration just feels... effortless. Accelerating from any speed doesn't feel like you're asking any more of the car than a gentle acceleration from a low speed. The car is both fast (top speed ~208kph) and quick.
Corners like it's bolted to the road.
The sport suspension definitely makes a difference on poorly maintained roads - the car drives more like a car and less like a waterbed. Accelerating on bumpy roads is smooth instead of the drive wheels losing contact, spinning freely, then spinning out.
Four wheel disc brakes. The ABS on all four wheels is definitely a bonus on ice. The only thing limiting your stopping power in summer is your rubber.
The car is bright red. Definitely turns some heads... Unfortunately it's mostly from the police.
It takes a while for the thermostat to open and start circulating coolant, meaning on anything less than a twenty five minute to half hour drive you don't even begin to get any heat out of the vents. When it gets below ~-30C (-22F) the CD player stops working until the car heats up a bit (~15 minutes).
The car is now eight years old. The interior still looks pristine, besides some of the silver finish having flaked off of some of the plastic on the arm rests and shift knob.
Radio stations sound pretty unexciting, but decent quality MP3s burned to CD sound pretty good on the 7-speaker Pioneer system with dual-coil sub. (Certainly no worse than my previous vehicle, which had a 9 channel EQ, 225w 4-channel amp for the interior speakers with separate tweeters, and 15" L7 kicker. Just a bit less bass-y.)
Even without the block heater plugged in, the car has started down to -45C (-50F) after about 14 hours sitting without so much as a nasty groan.
Short throw shifter and short clutch is fun when you're really giving 'er. In heavy traffic you definitely notice the clutch is pretty stiff and requires a lot of force to keep on the floor. First gear is also pretty peppy, so stop and go traffic becomes a bit of a chore when the car keeps wanting to take off on you.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th December, 2013
Original poster here - still have the same vehicle. About one year update.
I'm now at just barely shy of 80,000km. Besides general wear and tear (brake pads, rotors, hand-brake adjustment, oil changes) I've had to do nothing to the car. I'm still happy with it as it still has more than enough get up and go for city and highway driving, even though I drive aggressively / like an idiot.
I did have one incident in the spring where snow blew up and packed up inside the engine. The DIC simply said "ENGINE PWR REDUCED" and I had to struggle to get the car into third (after two blocks I was still only doing ~40kph with it floored). By the time I'd pulled another car out of the garage I was going to park it in to warm up, the engine heat from the five minute drive over had already solved the problem. Called a mechanic friend and he just figured the throttle body had gotten frozen. The car made it through a Saskatchewan winter without being plugged in, and that was the only issue.
I've ripped the dash apart a couple times and drilled some holes and installed an auxiliary input (anyone looking to do the same while maintaining the stock radio should look for the devices that emulate/hook into the XM radio input - works like a charm).
Interior has no more noticeable wear and tear than last time.
Getting into the 4th or 5th hour on the highway, I find the lack of padding on the driver's side arm rest becomes noticeable, but tossing a sweater or something under my elbow has completely alleviated that.
On crappy roads the stiff suspension definitely lets you feel the road surface. I don't mind, but if you're looking for something luxurious and/or comfortable... you weren't probably looking at this car in the first place.
Tires are a weird size and it's hard/impossible to find some at a wrecker around here. Easy enough to pick up at any tire shop. I could probably switch to something a little more standard, but after looking at the big tires for a year, seeing a base model G5 with the regular tires, they just look tiny and ridiculous.
The gas mileage is phenomenal as far as I'm concerned. I run ethanol-free premium and usually see ~400km/tank (~10L/100km) in stop and go traffic (I live and work downtown) and ~600km/tank (~6.8L/100km) highway. And I drive the car hard. There are cars that get better mileage, but none that I've driven that have the acceleration of this car (that don't cost ten times as much). It's a perfect balance for me.
Picked the car up for $7,600. Still love it.