• Jul 14th 2009 at 11:58AM
  • 56

2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe's weird cupholders – Click above for high-res image gallery

If you've ever driven a Pontiac Solstice, you know that it's a very pretty but extremely flawed car. In the interest of getting the concept car's look exactly right in production form, GM had to make a host of compromises, which manifest themselves in a number of ways.

You all know about the roadster's ridiculously recalcitrant top mechanism and dearth of usable space for both humans and cargo. What you may not be aware of is that inside the cockpit, there are three cupholders. One is actually semi-usable – it pops out of the transmission tunnel on the passenger side but is a bit flimsy and threatens to dump on your passenger's lap. In the convertible, the other two are mounted in a pop-out tray below the storage bin between the front seats. Perhaps they were designed by someone with a cruel sense of humor. Or maybe by a fan of comic books, because unless one possesses the flexibility of Reed Richards, it's essentially impossible to reach for a drink nestled in one of them without incurring some sort of sports injury.

After our man Sam Abuelsamid reviewed the 2009 Solstice GXP Coupe, I got to spend a week with one myself. (My car had a manual gearbox – the only difference between the two). One of the first things I noticed about the interior is that the tray with the useless cupholders is absent from the space between the seats. I opened the owner's manual and, sure enough, the only cupholder mentioned is the one in the tranny tunnel. But while loading the "trunk" (as it were), I discovered an undocumented feature. Well, two of them, actually.



Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid, Alex Núñez/Weblogs, Inc.


You see, despite what the manual officially says, there are two additional cupholders in the Solstice Coupe. Warning bells should now be going off, because if I'm seeing cupholders only by peering down through the coupe's open cargo hatch glass, you know something weird is going on.



Behind each headrest sits a cupholder. No, that's not a typo – I said "behind each headrest." They're molded into these rectangular storage bins General Motors put back there. Obviously, someone at GM wanted to uphold the Solstice tradition of bizarrely-placed cupholders.



The irony is that they're actually more useful than the ones in the roadster, which are, you know, not. The idea is that the driver can simply reach behind the passenger's head and grab his or her beverage, and vice versa. I would not necessarily recommend this, mind you, because these secret "Easter egg" cupholders aren't particularly good at holding things – a half-liter water bottle tips pretty easily, for example. A small coffee cup sits so low that it requires a bit of hunting and careful lifting, and that has distraction-caused disaster written all over it. Careful with the tall drinks, too – you stand to bump the coupe's crossbar while pulling them it out.

But there you have it: One final quirk in the final Pontiac Solstice model.



Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid, Alex Núñez/Weblogs, Inc.


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  • 56 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have a Solstice GXP and when I test drove it I never even looked for a cupholder or opened the trunk because I didn't care. I was looking for a great looking, affordable sports car.

      I've never seen so much analyzation over features that are clearly not even important to the audience buying the car. What are the cupholders and trunk space like on the Lotus Elise?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Makes the miata look that much better - easy open top (while seated), brilliant chassis, nice engine. A brilliant car that ONLY the japanese could build. What is so sad is all thise idiots had to do was go buy a miata and copy it! What they did manage to do was build an overweight and over-complex roadster.

      GM you blew it - AGAIN. First the ridiculous targa top that you didn't make able to fit into the car - ever heard of cutting it in two you morons?, the stupid top that takes 30 seconds to raise or lower - OUTSIDE the vehicle, to now the dumbest cup holders EVER.


      And to think Obama in his infinite wisdom bought this company for 50 billion.

      We suck.
      Lar7789789
      • 6 Years Ago
      Another fine piece of GM engineering.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That truly is a half-assed cup holder design. It looks like nothing more than an afterthought, but then again in my experience, the details is where GM has always lost the most points. In some ways, this cup holder is the perfect metaphor for their (then) approach to building new cars.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ha, my 2006 MX-5 Miata has four completely useable cupholders for two occupants.

      Finally some place I can brag about that.
        • 6 Years Ago
        last i checked, only one occupant drove.
        • 6 Years Ago
        So, the other 3 are for the passenger then?

        Still doesn't make sense to me. Kind of like minivans bragging about having 14 cupholders when the can fit 7 passengers. Having extra space to hold stuff is nice and all, but do all those spaces have to become cupholders?
        • 6 Years Ago
        ...because two people need four drinks.

        I still don't get why you need a cupholder when you're driving.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Cup-holders I could live without, but no storage space WHATSOVER and the sh*tty-ass top design is just a deal killer. I mean my Elise had tons of trunk space compared to the Solstice, and it's a much smaller car. I know it's not a fair comparison but still...
      • 6 Years Ago
      When I had my S2000, my cupholder (well, water bottle holder) was behind the passenger seat. I could stick a bottle in there and it would hold.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I do the camelbak for long motorcycle trips. :) I don't need no stinkin' cupholders.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I usually use that spot too! The cupholders in the S2000 (and most likely the solstice/sky) are more for holding cell phones, change, garage door openers, etc more than cups.

        I use a camel-back for longer trips. Throw the shoulder straps over the "shoulders" of the seat and I'm all set.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I never thought of that idea. That's awesome.

        Bonus points if you route the hose up through a racing helmet.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "the other two are mounted in a pop-out tray below the storage bin between the front seats."

      This article was about THE Pontiac Solstice right? If so, exactly where are the rear seats?
        bluvalley
        • 6 Years Ago
        A friend of mine has the convertible and in order to use the cupholder under the storage bin you must have been born with a third arm. This isn't mentioned in the manual?

        • 6 Years Ago
        I have a solstice with cupholders in the exact spot as the solstice soft top and it's really as bad as they say. Yes, it's not the best place but it's WAY better than what they did in '09 on the soft tops, which is replace that cupholder with... Nothing! It's just a glued plastic panel. I'd rather have akward cupholders than none, because when you have a passenger, that other cupholder is in their way. And say what you want about drinks being a danger, but on roadtrips or anything like that, a drink is nice and I'm not likely to hit anything crazy driving down a long straight road. Don't go reaching for your drink in the middle of traffic, of course, but the same goes with changing radio stations, etc. Don't do distracting things at the wrong time, that's all you need to abide by.
        -Taylor
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've driven a solstice and sky and both we so awful in every aspect - expect the driving experience - I was amazed they made it to production.... it's shocking!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Do you get that much? I don't.
        • 6 Years Ago
        My 2008 Sky Redline is the best car that I have ever owned.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The cupholders are in the center console in a 1990-2005 Miata, but they're unusable if you have a manual transmission. They only get in the way. Plus they're not very deep.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Own a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata. It's little inconvenient, but far from unusable. I just have to tuck my elbow in.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I have a 2004 MazdaSpeed Miata as well. I just my two poorly placed cup holders as two very well placed storage bins for my keys and cell phone. =)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Peter: My NA Miata had a piece that replaced the ashtray with a cupholder. Completely impractical for shifting (especially if it had anything other than a soda can in it), but it was great on the one roadtrip I was able to take in the car (before I totalled it).

        IIRC, that plastic piece was an accessory you could buy at the dealership.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Solstice and Sky are both attractive. But if you want cupholders, get a car with more real estate inside. Seriously, if you were the designer, where would you put the things? Remember you don't want them where a spill could take out some expensive electronics or controls. The comments here about these cars, the Miata and others apply to the higher priced Cayman and Boxster as well. There is an elegant pair of swingout cupholders hidden in the passenger side of the dash, but they are light and flimsy. For those in hot climates who need to hydrate, the Camelback sounds like the way to go.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why all the fuss about cupholders? Seriously, the author is reviewing a rare, incredible driving machine and he's making the same tired comments about cupholders that 3,524 other reviewers have already made.
      Many of the cars I've owned have had no cupholders or they were worse than this.
      '72 Chevelle: No cupholders
      '92 Mustang: No cupholders
      '93 Z28: One cupholder

      The Solstice coupe is a nice car. It's really easy to buy $10 aftermarket cupholders, people. Buy a car for the driving experience, not the cupholders.
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