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Pontiac, Sports Cars

2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe

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The new coupe version of Pontiac’s Solstice GXP roadster is a solid entry into the brand’s lineup.  Borrowing heavily from the GXP roadster (most all of the components are the same), the coupe is a viable option for those looking for a Pontiac sports car, but it suffers from the unfortunate tendency to try to do too much.

The biggest issue with the Solstice GXP coupe is the roof.  When the initial concept for a Solstice coupe first surfaced in 2002, the idea was promising and the design mirrored several other much more expensive coupe vehicles.  However, since that time, Pontiac’s designers decided that they would add a feature to their coupe that would set them apart from the competition.  Well, they have most definitely succeeded in that separation, but it’s hard to say if it’s for the best.

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The feature at issue is the roof.  Rather than have a fixed hard top roof, like that in the aforementioned concept vehicle, the Solstice GXP coupe has a romovable hard-top roof.  This is all well and good and the roof is well designed and only weighs 31 pounds so anybody can take it off or put it back on.  The problem is that there is not a lot of space in the GXP coupe and you can’t take the roof with you, although, to be fair, there is more interior room than the Solstice roadster.  So, if you are cruising with the top off and it starts to rain, you’re in trouble.  Pontiac does have an answer to that, though, in the form of a soft top roof.  This convenience costs you an extra $1,100 on top of the vehicle’s $31,000 base price.

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The performance of the coupe is virtually unchanged from the roadster version.  The same 260 horsepower four-cylinder Ecotec engine is under the hood, and the weight changes from the roadster to the coupe are virtually non-existent, meaning that the suspension and handling didn’t need to be tweaked when creating the new coupe.  Just like the roadster, the Solstice GXP coupe is fun to drive and is great when zipping around corners.

The bottom line is that the Solstice GXP roadster is a great sports car for the $30k price tag.  The Solstice coupe is a matter of personal preference.  If you don’t mind a car with only a cloth top, then avoid the coupe and go for the roadster.  If you want a dedicated hard-top, you can try the coupe or look at other brands.  If you want a hard-top, and a soft-top, and a convertible and don’t mind paying a bit extra and changing the roof every time you go out for a drive, then the Pontiac Solstice GXP coupe is the car for you.

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