First off, I am not the owner of the Pontiac. It is my girlfriend’s car and I do drive it often. I have had a lot of experience driving many different cars, and feel that it is a good idea to post my comments about this car on this great website to inform other potential buyers and owners.
My girlfriend had been looking for a replacement for her aging 1996 Cavalier, and was considering a new Chevy Cobalt or Pontiac G6. We went car shopping and she fell in love with a black G6.
Her G6 is a “Value Leader” which is also known as “basic”, “el cheapo”, and “ Hey! Where are my floor mats?”. All dealerships have the cheap one without options to say that they have a model that is cheap, but it is hard to get the cheap one without hearing why you should spend an extra $4,000.00 and get options like cruise and nice wheels. With the base model you get no cruise, no floor mats, no keyless entry, no A.B.S., and a 2.4 liter four cylinder engine. Her old car had no cruise control and she never knew the benefits of having it. (Driving late at night, driving through a small town at 25 mph, driving while being able to move your right leg, speeding up and slowing down using your finger, and more – well worth the extra money.) I use cruise all the time. If you haven’t had a car with cruise you don’t know what you are missing. If you drive a car without it and you are used to it, you know my pain. The floor mats were not a problem. GM was nice enough to include anchors for their mats; however, the aftermarket mats she placed in the car don’t use the anchor. Pointless.
2.4 liter Four Cylinder:
It is a nice engine - very powerful. That’s a lot of fun when the car is brand new and you can hear the thing grunt out the ponies, but then you realize that the poor thing is working – all the time. The 2.4 is an older motor, but an average consumer wouldn’t notice. GM tweaked the motor so it is EPA adequate and powerful. There is a nice plastic cover on top and a place to put in fluids. The refinement isn’t there. It likes to thrash while getting to highway speeds. Use it with the A/C on and it is a bit slower. The tried and true Buick 3800 motor would be just at home in this car supplying plenty of power with only a bit of MPG suppression. Check the Buick LaCrosse. It is the Buick version of the G6.
She wanted an automatic so she got an automatic. I wanted to see a standard transmission model, but there isn’t one. Usually base means standard transmission, but the only standard is on the GTP coupe. I’m not sure of the series number on the transmission, but it is a four speed automatic and just like every other automatic on the planet built after 1981 it is shift happy. Since it is an automatic, I wish they would have ditched the tachometer and put in an oil pressure gauge. I’m a standard guy. Give me my five speeds and I’ll use them at my discretion.
Well as I stated above, the car has no keyless entry. I’m used to it. The first time I drove the car I walked to the passenger door to open it and let my girlfriend in. NO KEYHOLE! I walk to the driver’s door and insert the key. I turn it to the left and pause, then to the right and pause. It doesn’t even unlock all of the doors with the key. It was like my Oldsmobile 98. I unlocked the door then hit the lock/unlock button. I guess this is a way for GM to save a few bucks, but c’mon. Put a lock on the passenger door. I’m sure I’m not the last guy in the world who opens the door for his girlfriend or wife.
People are afraid to drive a car that isn’t safe. That’s obvious. I have two cars that were produced without airbags. The 1986 Chevy Astro and the 1993 Eagle Talon I drive were built to the best safety standards of their time. The G6 has all of the latest safety devices for 2006. All G6 trim levels offer side airbags for an extra fee. She opted not to purchase the extra airbags.
I’m not going to kid around. GM has lost its touch with making an interior. BLACK, BLACK, BLACK, and a splash of chrome. I know that the G6 is the price leader when compared to the same car with different brandings. I.E. LaCrosse and Impala. All GM products have the same grainy dashboard material. It screams “cheap”.
The gauges are placed a bit haphazard and then given a shiny chrome bezel. I guess it is used to mimic the Vibe/Matrix…or not. I really like the electronics. It is 20 years of GM doo-dads melted down into a base package. The information center on the clock display, the automatic light delay (twilight sentinel), English / Metric display, and multiple power outlets (dare I say “lighters”) were all included on my old car, a 1990 Oldsmobile 98.
I’m not too sure about the stereo. I suppose all manufacturers are straying from making it easy to replace a factory stereo with an aftermarket job. The stereo integrates all of the information and trip odometers. Beneath the new stereo lurk a few nice speakers that will fail with age. When the CD player stops working – and it will well after the warranty is up - a replacement will cost more than it is worth.
I like the set up for the fold-down rear seats too. Instead of placing buttons on the rear seat, GM placed levers in the trunk to release them. The trunk is quite large and since this car doesn’t have keyless trunk release, it would have been nice to have more paint protection around the keyhole: i.e. plastic or rubber trim.
Driver / Passenger comfort:
GM did a great job improving seats. Over the years a major complaint from many car magazines was directed to the flat unsupportive seats that GM use. I think the seats in the Pontiac are a bit overdone with a lot of support and a bit too high in the thigh region.
The steering wheel tilts and telescopes which is great for accommodating drivers of all sizes. My girlfriend and I are tall and the seating position along with legroom is excellent.
Wind noise is not a problem yet, however, as stated before the four-cylinder engine is a bit noisy at times.
As for visibility, the G6 has a high beltline with squatting side windows and a huge windshield to accommodate for the rake of the roofline. There is a lot of windshield, a tall rear window, and all window posts are thick. Blind spots? Yes!
My major gripe about comfort in the car is the door locks. I’m not the only guy who likes to drive with my left arm hanging out of the window or holding onto the roof. The door locks stick up out of the door and into my arm. Again, this is just a gripe, but GM has been making cars for a long time, and having the door lock placed where it is in this car isn’t new, but it could have been placed in the door next to the handle.
As of this week, gas costs between $2.83 and $2.69 per gallon depending on what part of Pennsylvania you are traveling. On average it costs $33 to fill the tank and the range is about 280 – 330 miles. It is handy to have a fuel gauge and a fuel range indicator to judge fuel mileage. The EPA rating of 34 mpg is a bit of stretch. Without cruise and the added heft of an automatic transmission the rating suffers a bit.
My girlfriend also has a lead foot and like to race out of intersections. I tend to be a bit gentler on the gas. My previous car, a 1990 Oldsmobile 98, was a full size GM product with a 3800 V6 engine, yet it would achieve about 38-40 mpg on the highway and usually had a range of 450 miles per tank. The tank was about the same size of the G6 tank. Find a picture of a 1986-1990 Oldsmobile 98. It is a box weighed down with countless electronic bits, plush power assisted interior, and lots of insignias (in chrome and embedded on the stitching of the seats) reminding you of what you are driving. Yes. It baffles me too.
Black with some chrome. I like the design of the rear bumper. If it gets hit in a fender-bender the sheet metal won’t get wrecked, just the bumper.
It has wheels and tires bigger than on my Chevy Astro van. When it is time to buy tires, I’m sure that will be an expensive day.
I like the clean design and yes; I did check the quality of panel fit and paint quality. It’s great quality for GM, but mediocre by Japanese carmakers. The salesman that we talked to and purchased the car from boast that he has been selling GM cars for many years. “Well at least the paint hasn’t changed at all!”, I exclaimed. It is orange peel black. For those of you not familiar with “orange peel” it is the texture of the paint. It is not a good quality. He laughed and agreed with me. My 1993 Talon has much better panel fit and paint quality.
I like the headlights, however they look really expensive to replace and have a lot of surface area, hungry for a rock chip. I’m not sure about the long term for the quality of the lens, but I can vision them turning a dull crusty yellow in a few years.
My girlfriend loves the car. I’m happy she loves it. However, I have mixed feelings about it. I can’t love a four door Pontiac. The “excitement division” of GM isn’t that exciting. I’d like some more paint, emblems, branding, SOMETHING! The car isn’t all that exciting, especially after seeing them all over with rental car stickers on them. The G6 is yet another GM mule. She paid a lot for it and will be paying for it long after the warranty is expired.
If I were spending a dime on the entire purchase, I would have opted for an Accord, Camry, or Avalon. Even though the other cars would not be brand new, the overall quality of a better automobile surpasses the feel of having a new car.
Before she purchased this car, I went car shopping with our friend who ended up buying a 2006 Toyota Corolla, which she loves. I really didn’t like the whole car buying experience, and I was unimpressed with all cars that we looked at during both shopping experiences. I have a 1993 Eagle Talon (read my review “Thumbs Up DSM”) with 192,000 miles on it. It is still sharp and continues to run like new. It is old, but well cared for and after looking at what the world has to offer me I’m holding on to it!
All in all, the G6 seems like a 100% improvement versus the Grand-Am that it replaced. It all comes down to personal tastes in automobiles as well as brand loyalty and bang for the buck. Do your research and keep in mind that your purchase is expected to serve you well until the last day of the warranty. Make sure you change the oil and take care of your car.
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my review.