in 2009 Affordable Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $10,531 - $13,588
Original MSRP: $24,820 - $31,415
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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2009 Pontiac Torrent Performance

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

The 2009 Pontiac Torrent handles and accelerates well. However, it's not as sporty as it claims to be, and fuel economy is disappointing for a compact SUV.

  • "The aggressive GXP has a meaningful amount of extra power but suffers from a rough ride and excessive amounts of noise. Any number of midsize crossover SUVs deserve a higher place on your shopping list." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Handling -- defined here as the ability to go around a corner quickly, gracefully -- is OK at lower speeds, but becomes suddenly cumbersome and unusually nose-heavy (even for a front-drive vehicle) with the addition of 1 or 2 mph." -- USA Today
  • "Most small SUV shoppers will find the ... Pontiac Torrent's ride and handling balance reasonably carlike and quite acceptable." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The base Torrent comes with a 3.4-liter 185-horsepower V6 engine, while the GXP gets a 3.6-liter V6. Both engines provide adequate enough acceleration. According to the EPA, the FWD Torrent achieves 17/24 mpg city/highway with either engine. AWD models achieve 17/24 mpg with the 3.4-liter engine and 16/24 mpg with the 3.6-liter engine.

  • "The 3.6-liter V6 engine provides very good power delivery from a stop and for highway passing and merging. The transmission has a tendency to hunt between gears at highway speeds." -- Consumer Guide
  • "While the 3.4-liter V6 powering the Torrent is far from a cutting-edge design, it has more than enough horsepower and torque to provide a nice balance between good acceleration and reasonable fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Under the hood, the standard 3.4-liter V6 engine offers decent if not especially refined performance." -- Edmunds
  • "There is a choice of V-6 engines ... and they give the consumer a choice between average and impressive power. That's not quite sports car performance, but it's impressive for an SUV." -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Handling and Braking

The Torrent boasts a comfortable around-town ride. The GXP model, while tuned for sportier handling, disappoints some test drivers with its tame driving dynamics.

  • "Despite the aggressive suspensions and tire combination, the GXP's handling isn't what we would call sporty. Despite rather numb steering, grip is decent, but there is quite a bit of body lean in turns. Tracking and straight-line stability are good, as is braking control." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Handling trails import-brand level, but it's a cut above many domestic SUVs. The ride is a little better controlled than some, yielding a reasonably comfortable around-town experience." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The suspension tuning of the standard Torrent is biased toward a smoother ride at the expense of sharp handling, so it exhibits some body roll when cornering briskly. In addition, its electric power steering feels numb and lacks responsiveness. Consumers looking for quick moves will probably prefer the GXP, as its performance-tuned chassis is calibrated to handle more power and offers greater potential for speed." -- Edmunds

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