San Francisco: Sometimes
I just do not understand the automakers. Take Pontiac for
example. Pontiac has a long history of great names, names like Grand
Prix, Bonneville, Catalina, Firebird, etc. Yet when they introduced
their new, mid-size car a couple years ago they went for an all-new
name; G6. G6? What vision does that invoke? It makes me think of the
G8 (Group of Eight; Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the
United Kingdom, and the United States) minus two.
The G6 Convertible
is not a traditional convertible; it is a hardtop convertible, a rare
breed, and usually an expensive breed. Think of some of the other
hardtop convertibles out there - Mercedes and Volvos - and go check out
their prices. The G6 Convertible should be a rousing success just on its
price alone. It is hard to tell how well the Convertible is selling
because its numbers are included in the overall G6 sales, which is doing
relatively well - over 100,000 sold for calendar year 2006 to date.
The Pontiac G6 is one of those
very good GM cars that no one notices, which is a shame, and itís double
so for the convertible.
The G6 is a
handsome, if somewhat anonymous, car. That is really the biggest problem
with the G6, it does nothing to stand out, nothing to say, Hello, Iím a
Pontiac! It could be anyone of a dozen cars from any country. I drove a
G6 Convertible for a week in car conscious Monterey and no one turned
their head until I put the top down, which is a shame, because it is a
very good car.
The key element of
the G6 Convertible is the retractable hardtop. You have seen these
before, going back to the Ford retractable of 1957, the car that scared
generations away from retractables. Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have had
retractable models for years now and have had great success with them.
The beauty of a
retractable is simple; you get the security and weather proofing of a
hardtop with the wide-open spaces of a convertible.
I always tend to
be very cautious around new technology, but this is not really new. Time
will tell if the G6 Convertible will stand up as well as its higher
priced rivals but I suspect the technology used is well tested.
The top goes up or
down in about 30 seconds with the touch of one button. Provided of
course that specific safety precautions have been taken. The first time
I tried to put the top down I had a devil of a time. I had carefully
removed all items from the trunk yet the top would not budge. Totally
perplexed I turned to the ownerís manual, something us guys really hate
to do. I read and reread the directions for lowering the top. Yes, the
transmission was in Park, the Parking Brake was on so what was the
trouble? It was either that I was pushing the button the wrong
direction (hey there were no directional arrows), or I did not pull out
the luggage shield (a window shade type cover in the trunk), which
ensures that no luggage interferes with the top stowage.
The week I had the
G6 Convertible I went away for a few days, which presented a small
problem. If you wish to put the top down there is precious little space
for luggage in the trunk. Essentially the G6 Convertible is turned into
a two-seater if you travel with luggage, because the rear seat will be
needed for your luggage. There is 12.6 cubic feet of storage with the
top up but only 2.2 with it down!
The G6 is
available in two versions, a GT and a GTP. The GT is equipped with a
3.5-liter, over-head-valve V6 that makes 217 hp and 217 lb-ft of
torque. The GTP gets a 3.9-liter, over-head-valve V6 that ups the
figures to 227 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque. Neither of these engines are
barnburners but they are smooth and adequate. Both are coupled with a
4-speed automatic transmission that delivers the power to the front
wheels. The 3.5 delivers 20-mpg city and 28-mpg highway, while the 3.9
is slightly lower at 17-city and 24-highway.
Even in its base
version the G6 Convertible is nicely appointed. Outfit it the way you
want and you can end up with a very fine automobile. I ran through the
options and could only run the price up to $32,506.98 from its base
price of $29,215.00.
thoroughly enjoyed my time in the G6 Convertible. I just wish it stood
out a bit more. If you want an all-weather convertible there is none
better than the Pontiac G6. By
Bruce Hotchkiss © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
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Column Name: The G6 Convertible is not your traditional
Topic: The 2006 Pontiac G6 Convertible
Word Count: 856
Photo Caption: The 2006 Pontiac G6 Convertible
Pontiac Internet Media
Series #: 2006 - 57
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2006 Pontiac G6
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2006 Pontiac G6