2009 G6 New Car Test Drive
The 2009.5 Pontiac G6 brings a fresh appearance some nice engineering upgrades to this sporty lineup of midsize sedans, coupes and convertibles.
A mid-year freshening gives these late-2009 models a sharper look up front, more like that of the top-level GXP. And the four-cylinder is now offered with an optional six-speed automatic transmission that delivers EPA-estimated fuel economy of 22 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway.
We've found these cars enjoyable to drive and quite pleasant. The G6 two-door coupe is sleek and sporty, the convertible features a dramatic folding hardtop, and the sedan is an attractive alternative to other midsize sedans. Most come with V6 engines, though the sedan is available with a four-cylinder engine.
For 2009, XM Satellite Radio is now standard on all models. And several new option packages, which according to Pontiac were inspired by consumer demand, make it easier to upgrade and personalize the G6. As before OnStar, side airbags and anti-lock brakes are standard equipment on all G6's.
We've found the G6 GT and GXP models to have good road manners, even when driven hard, thanks to their long wheelbase and European-designed architecture. This is based on test drives of the G6 GT sedan, GT Convertible, and GXP coupe.
The price point makes the Pontiac G6 a popular choice as a mid-size sedan and we've found it roomy and plush with excellent overall function. The coupe is comfortable and sporty. And for a real open-top experience, the convertible features one of the longest retractable hardtop roofs in production.
The G6 offers some interesting features. It can be started remotely from the comfort of your home by pressing a button on the key fob, a luxury on bitter cold winter mornings or sweltering summer afternoons. The G6 was designed to offer a strong value among midsize cars, and we think it's an alternative worth considering.
The G6 sedan ($21,165) comes standard with a 164-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Standard features also include air conditioning; tilt/telescopic steering wheel; power windows, door locks, and mirrors; AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input jack; XM Satellite Radio hardware; OnStar; and 17-inch five-spoke wheels with 225/50R17 tires. The Preferred Package ($370) adds cruise control; remote vehicle starting; leather-wrapped steering wheel, brake handle, and shift knob; and steering wheel audio controls. A Special Value package deletes some equipment and drops the tire size to 215/55R17 for a credit ($1,890).
New for 2009 are two Sport Packages for the base model. Sport Package 1 ($1,245) upgrades to a six-speed automatic transmission for improved performance and economy, and also adds TAPshift transmission controls on the steering wheel, a rear spoiler, and StabiliTrak electronic stability control. Sport Package 2 ($1,495) includes a 221-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, four-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, fog lamps, and a rear spoiler. Also, the power steering assist switches from lightweight electric to heavy-duty hydraulic.
Expanded for 2009 is the Sun and Sound Package ($1,235), which now comes with lighted visor mirrors and an electrochromic inside rearview mirror with compass, as well as a six-disc CD changer and power sunroof.
The GT sedan ($24,710), GT coupe ($24,610), and GT convertible ($32,300) make the Preferred Package and Sport Package 2 standard (including, of course, the 3.5-liter V6); and add a 200-watt Monsoon premium sound system. Additionally, the convertible comes with 18-inch machined-face wheels. A Sport Package just for the convertible ($1,290-1,490) upgrades to a 222-horsepower, higher-torque 3.9-liter V-6, chrome-tipped exhaust outlets, 18-inch ChromeTech wheels, automatic air conditioning, and a six-way power driver seat.
The GXP sedan ($29,060) and GXP coupe ($28,960) feature a 3.6-liter V6 providing 252 horsepower, driving through a six-speed automatic transmission. Backing that up are a sport-tuned suspension, StabiliTrak, 18-inch ChromeTech wheels, unique front and rear fascias, dual chrome exhaust tips, and a leather interior.
The Sun and Sound Plus Packages for GT ($1,535) and GXP ($1,125) include not only the sunroof and six-disc CD changer but also 17-inch ChromeTech wheels for the GT, or 18-inch Black ChromeTech wheels on GXP. The Street Edition for the GXP ($990) adds hood scoops and a hammerhead spoiler.
Other options include a six-way power driver's seat ($200) for the base and GT models, an engine-block heater ($75), and various appearance items. A Premium Package ($1,195) for base and GT adds heated leather-appointed front bucket seats and six-way power adjustment for the driver's seat. All models offer the new MyLink Package ($250-395), which bundles one year of OnStar Directions & Connections, a full year of XM Satellite Radio (rather than the standard 3-month trial), a USB port, and Bluetooth phone connectivity. Safety features that come on all models include driver and passenger frontal and side-impact airbags, ABS with traction control, and LATCH child-seat attachments. All models except the convertible come with side curtain airbags as well. Outboard front seat belts have pretensioners and load limiters. OnStar 8.0 is standard on all models, an excellent safety feature thanks to its ability to summon help.