The Pontiac G6 was introduced in 2005 as a replacement to the popular Grand Am. The G6 is offered as a sedan, coupe and sexy retractable hard-top convertible. I’m looking at leasing a G6 SE Sedan with the 3.5L V6, but unfortunately none were available at the dealership. I drove an Aura XE (see my review) which is based off the same platform and has the same 3.5L V6 and 4-Speed Automatic transmission as the G6 that I’m looking at. After driving the Aura, I can say that the 3.5L V6 is a great engine and worth opting for if you desire more power. I was able to drive a base 2.4L ECOTEC L4 and I’m basing my experiences on that trim level.
The exterior styling is conservative compared to some of the Pontiacs of the 90’s and early 00’s, but looks much classier while still looking like a Pontiac. I noticed the new G8 looks a lot like a larger version of the G6 which works well for Pontiac’s recent design theme.
The interior is styled nicely and has a sporty look and feel to it. The seats are very comfortable and wrap around you. There is lots of room inside, but rear headroom with the sloping roofline might be tight for some. The materials are surprisingly quite nice. They’re soft touch and rubbery feeling and is one of the few interiors that isn’t covered in hard plastics. While the new Saturn Aura’s interior looks classier, it has a lot more hard plastics than the G6.
The G6 is based off of GM’s Epsilon platform that was introduced in European GM models in 2002. The G6 benefits from that European chassis design with good handling and a solid structure. Also European is the 4-cylinder. The 2.4L ECOTEC VVT L4 that powers the base models was designed by GM Powertrain, Opel and Saab engineers and is a strong performer and feels smooth compared to the Quad IV of the past, but like that engine, loves to growl. Mated to the L4 is GM’s ubiquitous 4-Speed Automatic transmission that does the job well. Standard features on the base model include A/C, power group, 6 airbags, DIC and some other goodies, sadly ABS and ETS are not available on the stripped down base, but optional on the SE models.
The 2.4L ECOTEC VVT L4 is good for 169 HP and 162 LB-FT of torque. That’s about average for the class. I was surprised with the amount of get up and go the engine has. It needs to rev up to about 4000 RPM to get good use of those 169 horses but has no problem doing so. I would still get the 3.5, but if you’re on a super tight budget, then the 4-cylinder is worth a look. While the ECOTEC doesn't vibrate a lot, it’s quite growly sounding most of the time. I actually found it quite fun to rev and felt torquier than you would expect. The electric power steering, which is only in the 4-cylinder models is superb and has the best calibration out of any GM that has this system. It feels nice and firm at normal to high speeds and is light at low speeds to make parking super easy. I actually was surprised how great it felt considering my mom’s Saturn Vue Redline, which has the EPS feels so artificial. Handling is quite good and the base 16 inch tires seem to grip well. Brake pedal feel is nice and firm and has good modulation.
Overall, I came away quite impressed with the G6. If the base model drives this good, then I can’t wait to see how well the 3.5 drives. The G6 is light years ahead of the Grand Am it replaced and I think is definitely a great midsize car. I’m actually leaning towards this over the Aura, which ironically won car of the year. The G6 may not be for everyone, but if you love sporty cars or like the option of getting a coupe or convertible trim level, the G6 is definitely worth a look.