in 2009 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $7,901 - $9,336
Original MSRP: $16,980 - $20,280
MPG: 25 City / 37 Hwy
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2009 Pontiac G5 Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2009 G5 is peppy, but doesn't have the oomph most test drivers expect. They also have mixed impressions about its road manners. The base G5's handling is nothing to write home about, but some find that the coupe is an adequate alternative to the sporty Mazda3.

  • "Like its Chevrolet counterpart, the 2009 Pontiac G5 is a friendly little coupe. ... Ride comfort is good on smooth highways but less so on rougher pavement, even with the base suspension." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Favorable fuel economy, smooth and quiet ride. ... Lethargic handling." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

Pontiac discontinued the GT's heftier 2.4-liter engine, leaving both trims with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine that's disappointing to most. The lighter engine does have better fuel economy due in part to its variable valve timing, and reviewers like its compatibility with either the four-speed automatic or the five-speed manual transmission.

The Environmental Protection Agency rates the G5 at 25/35 mpg city/highway with a manual transmission and 24/33 mpg with the automatic transmission. The GT model rates at 25/35 mpg with the manual and 23/32 mpg with an automatic.

  • "Furthering the G5's shortcomings is this year's discontinuation of the GT variant's more powerful 2.4-liter engine. ... Instead, Pontiac has made the 2.2-liter engine standard across the board. A disappointment, to be sure, though there is a silver lining - the 2.2-liter engine now has variable valve timing and this, in addition to a variety of other minor tweaks, has raised the G5's fuel economy by a few miles per gallon." -- Edmunds
  • "With the 2.2-liter engine and automatic transmission, the frisky G5 responds enthusiastically to the gas pedal, while starting off or at speed. The four-speed automatic transmission shifts are crisp but smooth, and downshifts come promptly." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With the manual transmission, G5 has adequate go from a stop. It runs out of steam at higher engine speeds, meaning that highway passing and merging require plenty of room and often times a two-gear downshift. Fortunately, the manual has smooth shift and clutch action." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

Test drivers are not impressed with the base G5's handling and braking, but they do reserve some praise for the sportier GT. To some, the GT's cornering compares well to the Mazda3, one of the sportiest affordable small cars.

  • "An abundance of body roll and numb steering limit the driver's overall connection to the car -- but to the G5's credit, the ride is both smooth and quiet." -- Edmunds
  • "Though not quite flat in quick curves, this coupe can deal with the corners quite capably." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The GT version gets stiffer suspension tuning than the base car, giving it a more sporty ride and better handling. I drove the G5 back-to-back with the Mazda 3, a car known and loved for its driver appeal. The G5 didn't feel quite as light and nimble on its feet as the Mazda, but it was every bit as well controlled and composed." -- About.com

Next Steps: 2009 Pontiac G5

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