Are Pontiacs Good Cars?

With excellent ratings for reliability, safety, and fuel economy, Pontiacs are some of the best affordable cars around.
Written by Tiffany Leung
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
The Pontiac brand was discontinued in 2010, but that doesn’t make its remaining cars bad. Pontiac owners have touted the cars’ reliability and they have an average rating of 4.4/5 on
Pontiac is no longer a household name when it comes to the best cars on the market. The brand was mostly known for the wide range of sedans and sports cars that it offered in its last years. With the marketing efforts focused on emphasizing performance, the grand built a lot of buzz—but are Ponitacs good cars?
To solve this mystery, the
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has compiled data to identify Pontiac’s strengths and weaknesses. We’ll be looking at the brand’s last five manufactured models and discussing key factors like reliability, safety, and affordability.
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Are Pontiacs good cars? 

Pontiac was commercialized by General Motors in 1933. The brand focused on selling a lifestyle associated with car ownership rather than selling the car itself. The brand was propelled into popularity in the ‘60s and ‘70s with legendary cars like the Grand Prix, GTO, Firebird, and the Grand-Am—all of which were eventually discontinued.
Although the brand lost momentum in later years, Pontiac owners have reported satisfaction with their reliability and fuel economy
Pontiac was known for selling muscle cars, which later pivoted to more family-friendly cars in the late ‘90s. It’s a shame that the brand was pitted against GM’s own
and ultimately got weeded out of the family.
Here are the last five Pontiac models that came to the market in 2010 before the brand was discontinued:
Starting price
Vehicle type rating
Car and Driver rating
Pontiac G3
2006 to 2010
Subcompact car
Pontiac G5
2007 to 2010
Compact car
4.5/5 (2009 rating)
Pontiac G6
2004 to 2010
Mid-size car
Pontiac Solstice
2006 to 2010
Sports car
Pontiac Vibe $16,100
2003 to 2010
Compact hatchback
Did you know? Pontiac was originally a companion brand to GM’s Oakland automobiles. It went on to surpass Oakland’s popularity and eventually replaced it. 

Are Pontiacs reliable?

The combination of how often a car breaks down and how affordable and easy the repairs are will give you an idea of how reliable a car is. A reliable brand will offer generous warranties, have low repair costs, and have infrequent recalls. 
According to many Pontiac owners, they have experienced minimal issues with their cars over several years. J.D. Power awarded Pontiac the quality award from 2006 to 2008. This award is only given to brands with the fewest problems reported by 100 owners in the first 90 days of owning the car.
MORE: The 5 characteristics of a reliable car insurance company

Are Pontiacs safe?

Pontiacs are generally safe vehicles. However, the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) doesn’t have an overall safety rating for any of the cars aside from the Pontiac G3. On the other hand, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Pontiac G5, G6, and Vibe a good rating.
The Pontiac lineup wasn’t adorned with state-of-the-art safety features but comes with:
  • Anti-lock disc brakes
  • OnStar safety and security and OnStar advisor 
  • Stability control
  • A full complement of airbags
Here’s a complete rundown of Pontiac’s safety ratings and recalls for the latest models that were tested:
NHTSA rating
IIHS rating
2009 Pontiac G3
5 stars
2009 Pontiac G5
2007 Pontiac G6
2007 Pontiac Solstice
2010 Pontiac Vibe
MORE: How to find vehicle safety ratings

Are Pontiacs expensive to maintain?

Pontiac models have an average annual repair cost of $583, according to RepairPal. However, you can keep maintenance costs down by following the standard maintenance schedule outlined in the owner’s manual. This will also keep your Pontiac in peak condition since small issues will be addressed before they cause costly damages.
The Pontiac model that receives the most complaints is the Pontiac G6, with over 1,400 complaints on In general, the Pontiac G6 is a reliable car, but the 2006 model was plagued with steering problems. Major complaints included faulty power steering and a popping noise when turning, which ran repairs costs of $600-$1,200.

Are Pontiacs good on gas?

According to the data from the
2010 Fuel Economy Guide
, we calculated an average combined fuel economy of 24.9 mpg for Pontiac cars of that model year. Although Pontiac didn’t offer any hybrid or flex-fuel technologies, the GM Ecotec engine helped push the cars to have better fuel efficiency.
Here are the 2010 fuel economy ratings for all five Pontiac models from the EPA:
Pontiac G3
25 mpg
34 mpg
28 mpg
Pontiac G5
24 mpg
33 mpg
27 mpg
Pontiac G6
22 mpg
30 mpg
25 mpg
Pontiac Solstice
19 mpg
27 mpg
22 mpg
Pontiac Vibe
26 mpg
31 mpg
28 mpg
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While the overall fuel economy of Pontiacs isn’t exceptional, the models with a manual transmission option can improve the fuel economy. However, this will also depend on the driver’s skill to optimize the effect. If fuel efficiency is important to you and you’re comfortable with stick-shift cars, this is an option.
MORE: How to choose an eco-friendly car

Are Pontiacs fun to drive?

Most of the 2010 Pontiac lineup was reported to have an underwhelming driving experience, with the exception of the Pontiac Solstice.
The Pontiac Solstice was once one of the most underrated sports cars on the used market. While not the most practical car, with barely any cabin and cargo space, this car has excellent handling which makes it unexpectedly fun to drive. If you want to amp up the driving experience with more power, the GXP edition offers more horsepower thanks to its direct-injection turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter engine.
At a price of under $10,000 ($15,000 for the GXP edition) on the used car market, this speedy Gonzales is perfect for someone looking for something fun to drive without breaking the bank. The only drawback is that these cars are quite rare.
MORE: Should I buy a sports car?
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What’s the best Pontiac?

The best Pontiac is a matter of opinion. It all comes down to your needs and preferences. This factors in your budget, driving style, and what you plan to use the car for. That being said, there are a few models in the lineup that stand out as some of Pontiac’s best. 
  • Pontiac Solstice
    : If you’re pining for a powerful sports car without the “luxury tax,” the Pontiac Solstice is perfect for you. If you opt for the GXP trim, you’ll get an extra 83 horsepower and all the optional features in the base model as well.
  • Pontiac G5
    : This car has excellent reliability with many owners reporting no issues after many years of ownership. The Pontiac G5 makes a perfect car for small families. 
  • Pontiac Vibe
    : For those who love versatility and practicality, the Pontiac Vibe would be perfect. Don’t let its compact size fool you. It has an ample amount of cargo space and even an all-wheel-drive option. 

How to find affordable Pontiac insurance

Pontiac drivers pay an average of $1,387 for
car insurance
every year. In other words, Pontiacs are very affordable to insure. However, the exact rate you will pay depends on factors such as your car’s make, model, and year, as well as your driving record, demographics, and location.
If you want to save even more on car insurance, there's a simple solution. Download the
app, fill in your Pontiac’s details, and Jerry will send the best quotes from top providers straight to your smartphone. All you have to do is pick the policy you want and Jerry will handle the rest—including the tedious paperwork!
If you have any questions along the way, send our expert team a message in the app. The best part? On average, users save more than $800 a year on car insurance!
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Many of the Pontiac cars got rebranded as Chevrolets, meaning their reliability can be quite similar. However, avoid 2006 Pontiacs as they received a disproportionate number of complaints compared to other years.
Affordable maintenance and repairs are one of the perks of owning a Pontiac—as long as you keep up with your maintenance schedule, your Pontiac will drive for a long time.
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