For a little while there, it looked like Pontiac was getting its mojo back. The G8 is terrific, the Solstice GXP Coupe is ready to join the roadster, and the even more awesome G8 GXP is waiting in the wings. All rear-drive. All meant to be fun. And then GM goes and does this.
Behold, friends, the 2009 Pontiac G3 Wave. Yes, that's an Aveo5 with Poncho nostrils, and it reeks of product strategy that's more 1989 than 2009. Why not just call it G3 Le Mans? You know, in honor of the last Daewoo-sourced trashback that helped turn that whole "We Build Excitement" thing into a punchline. By comparison, this makes the equally distressing Pontiac G5 look like a Corvette ZR1 on the cool meter -- and trust us, this is the only scenario in which you'll ever see those two models mentioned in the same sentence again.
The press release after the jump explains that, "More than ever, fuel economy is an important factor in Pontiac's formula of style and performance." In the G3 Waveo, "performance" means red gauge lighting and 106 horsepower channeled through a 5-speed manual or cutting-edge 4-speed automatic. It also gets over 30 mpg highway, so we're supposed to bust out the Veuve Clicquot and celebrate this new era of efficiency at the Pontiac division. Thanks, but we'll skip this party.
The G8 and Solstice are genuinely exciting, desirable cars that had restored some luster to the Arrowhead, but this...
Pontiac Announces New Small Car for U.S. Market
2009 G3 Offers Sporty Functionality, Fuel Efficiency, Value
Pontiac G3 at a Glance
* Sporty, small five-door available in spring 2009
* Fuel-efficient 1.6L four-cylinder engine achieves 34 mpg
* Uncommonly high level of standard content, passenger room within segment
Detroit - Expanding its portfolio in the rapidly growing small car segment, Pontiac announced plans to bring the sporty, five-door hatchback G3 to U.S. showrooms early next year. When it arrives, the G3 will provide Pontiac with a total of four vehicles capable of more than 30 miles per gallon on the highway.
Already successful in Canada (as the Pontiac G3 Wave) and Mexico (as a sedan model), the G3 offers an EPA estimated 27 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway while providing the best shoulder and hip room in the segment for seating five adults.
"The small car segment has literally exploded in recent months, with sales up nearly 33 percent in the first six months of 2008 alone," said Susan Docherty, vice president of Buick-Pontiac-GMC. "With its proven success in other markets, we felt the time was right to bring the G3 into the BPG portfolio for our U.S. customers."
The 2009 G3 will join the all-new 2009 Vibe (32 mpg) and recently enhanced 2009 versions of the G6 sedan (33 mpg) and G5 coupe (37 mpg) in Pontiac's "Over 30" club.
"More than ever, fuel economy is an important factor in Pontiac's formula of style and performance," said Docherty. "The Vibe, G3, G5, and G6 prove that you don't have to sacrifice sporty design and responsive driving to achieve impressive fuel economy."
Generating 106 horsepower (79 kW), the G3's 1.6L Ecotec four-cylinder engine is mated to a five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission. It will also feature an unusually rich mix of standard features for an entry-level car, including air conditioning, a CD/MP3 audio system with auxiliary input jack, fog lamps, rear spoiler, OnStar, and a host of standard safety features, including four airbags, that gain the G3 a five-star frontal crash rating.
Interior space is optimized to comfortably seat five adults, including "theater"-style seating for rear seat passengers. The rear seats also feature a 60/40 split to offer up to 42 cubic feet of cargo space.
The Pontiac G3 will arrive in U.S. showrooms in spring 2009 as a 2009 model and will be backed by GM's five-year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. Pricing will be announced closer to introduction.