2009 Pontiac G8 Photo

2009 Pontiac G8 - Review


Ask an average Australian about the latest Pontiac-purveyed product from his (or her) homeland and you’re likely to be stricken with a few derogatory nicknames for the vehicle that play off the ‘common’ sounding name of the Holden Commodore. Made popular as a fleet vehicle and the traditional family hauler, the Commodore has a less-than-stellar reputation Down Under when it comes to exciting sports sedans. But to this American’s eyes, the G8 is the rebirth of the Everyman American sedan.

The mild-mannered power of a well-made naturally aspirated V6 might be just the ticket for balancing big-sedan comfort with mid-sized efficiency - though that’s up for debate as well - but it sure isn’t what you’d expect from the aggressive looks and Aussie-bred demeanor of the new Pontiac G8. Despite the less-than-impressive performance, however, almost everything else remains the same as its bigger brother, and without the intoxicating aroma of the big V8 found under the hood of the G8’s GT variant, the true essence of the car is easier to discern. Few other publications have tested the V6 variant. Is it possible that the ego-enhancing effects of a large-displacement V8 have skewed the results in favor of an otherwise bland car?

At first blush the G8 is an exciting car. The styling isn’t typical of the last half-decade of American cars, though the past year or two have brought some interesting competition. It has an air about it that certainly impresses more than the Grand Am or Grand Prix ever did, at least for this reviewer. Even the also-Australian GTO, beloved by some but detested by many as heretical to the original Goat, didn’t offer the combination of utility, visceral appeal and affordability that the G8 brings to the table. The athletic, forward-biting stance and angular lines give the car purpose, and though the front end may be a bit overwrought, it clearly brands the car a Pontiac, and makes it recognizable from blocks away. But a good first impression isn’t enough to carry the day anymore - buyers are looking for well-built, easy-driving, safe and efficient transport more than ever before.

The quick verdict: the G8 manages to rise to the challenge for the most part, and its few foibles are not significant enough to justify its relegation to the ‘also-ran’ list. Perhaps even more importantly, there is unlocked potential in this car - it could be great, with just a little help. Handling is as good as you can expect from an affordable large sedan, with a predictable and capable nature that speaks of a well-designed chassis tuned for comfort over speed.


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Comments (3)
  1. This car deserves the DI V-6, but it puts it too close to the V8 - perhaps 2010

  2. what? Commodore has a less than stellar reputation in Australia?

    What you talking about? Everyone loves the Commodore (and the Falcon) down here!!!
    All the young people buy them and do them up. Older buying the new, already quite powerful models.....

    Of course no one cares about the base fleet models, but everyone loooooves the SS and HSV models. MASSIVE street cred. Probably more than any other car in this country...

  3. i heard someone say that the g8 is the best looking pontiac in ages, lol and its australian designed haha, thats not good for pontiac..
    anyway..i dont think the g8 or the commodore look any good, but the reason why people love it soo much here in australia is coz there soo cheap for soo much power. im not a huge fan of commodores i see them too often lol but i do see why soo many people buy them in australia. and i agree with daniel evereyone loves commodores down here! i know little kids and thats all they talk about!, i think australia could design better cars but for the average australian a commodore is all they want and need.

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