Compact car; Built in USA
  • 2-door coupe
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $6,600 – $11,200*

2008 Pontiac G5

2008 Pontiac G5

2008 Pontiac G5

  • Control layout
  • Fuel economy
  • Handling
  • Cargo room
  • Noise
  • Rear-seat comfort

Like the Chevrolet Cobalt, which shares the G5’s basic design, Pontiac’s coupe is a reasonably priced compact with decent handling response and interior design. A coarse engine and lackluster acceleration, even in the top-line model, betray its sporty intentions. Restricted rear-seat room and Pontiac’s lack of a four-door body style limit the G5’s appeal.


For the first time since the demise of the Sunfire in 2005, Pontiac offered a compact coupe. Named G5, the new front-wheel-drive coupe shared its basic design and four-cylinder powertrains with the Chevrolet Cobalt. Pontiac offered the G5 in base and GT trim, but did not offer a sedan or supercharged version, as Chevrolet did with the Cobalt. Base G5s had a 148-horsepower 2.2-liter engine; GTs got a larger (2.4-liter) 173-hp version. A five-speed manual transmission was standard; four-speed automatic optional. Traction control was available with the automatic transmission.

Antilock braking was optional on the base G5, but standard on the GT coupe. In addition, the GTs had rear disc brakes, fog lamps, and a sport suspension, with 17-inch tires on alloy wheels. Base-model coupes rode on 15-inch tires. Both models included a rear spoiler and cloth upholstery. Leather upholstery with heated front seats was offered for the GT. Front side airbags and curtain side airbags were available only in option groups. GM’s OnStar assistance and remote engine start also were optional. In both performance and accommodations, Pontiac’s G5 mirrored similarly-equipped Cobalts. Rivals included the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, and Mazda 3.

Yearly Updates

2008 G5
An antiskid system and GM’s OnStar assistance system were newly standard on the GT coupe. The GT’s 2.4-liter engine was now rated at 171 horsepower.
2009 G5
The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine previously found in GT was dropped for 2009, so both the GT and Base models shared a 2.2-liter four that gained 7 hp to 155. A wireless cell-phone link and USB port for connecting MP3 players were newly available.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

In base form, the G5 coupe used a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine that developed 148 horsepower, with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. A more powerful 2.4-liter four-cylinder went into the GT coupe, with the same transmission choices.

dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.2/134
Engine HP 148
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 152
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/145
Engine HP 171-173
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 163-167
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

1. EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years.

Road Test

Acceleration is adequate with the automatic-transmission GT coupe, but it’s not as lively as the horsepower figure suggests. In fact, it feels only slightly quicker than Chevrolet Cobalts with the 148-hp engine, which also is used in the base-model G5. On the plus side, the automatic transmission is responsive and quick to downshift for more passing power. We have not yet tested the base-model G5 coupe.

Fuel economy should match that of the Chevrolet Cobalt, which averaged 25.9 mpg in mostly highway driving, with the 148-hp engine. Base G5s used regular-grade gasoline, but Pontiac recommends premium for the GT coupe.

With its sport suspension, the G5 GT is firm and stable on most road surfaces, and never feels uncomfortable. Some body lean is evident while cornering, but the GT has good overall stability and grip. Steering feels quick and informative. The GT’s standard antilock four-wheel disc brakes provide good stopping control.

Although road and wind noises are modest, the 2.4-liter GT engine buzzes and drones while accelerating and cruising. Control placement is mostly logical, though the climate-control knobs are set too low for easy access while driving. Gauges have indistinct markings, and some are recessed too far into the dashboard for easy reading.

Front-seat space and comfort ranks around average for the class. Seats are generally supportive and have generous rearward travel, to accommodate tall drivers. Visibility is fine to the sides, but a tall rear spoiler and high deck on the GT coupe obscure views to the back. Even though the front passenger seats slide forward, access to the rear require contortions. Once back there, space is tight even for medium-size adults.

Cargo space is limited. The G5 has a usefully shaped trunk with good room, which is expandable via folding rear seatbacks. However, the trunk opening is too small to accept bulky items. Interior storage is limited to a small glovebox, center console, and door pockets.


Model Tested: 2007 G5 GT w/auto.

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 5
Fuel Economy - 7
Ride Quality - 5
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 4


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 5

Total: 48


2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.5 179.8 67.5 55.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.9 13.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.1 35.7 42.0 32.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 G5 w/side airbags 2-door coupe


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 5

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: Stones get caught between the front brake pads and rotors causing noise, pulsation and wear unless improved rotors with built-in spacers have replaced the original. 2005-08)
Description: The brakes may become spongy or the pedal may go almost to the floor unless the brake modulator valve is replaced. (2009)
Fuel gauge
Description: If the fuel gauge shows low, but there is fuel in the tank, reprogramming is required. (2007)
Description: The key may not come out of the ignition on cars with automatic transmission because the shifter button gets hung up, the pivot for the micro switch moves out of place or the slider gets stuck. (2005-10)
Oil leak
Description: The oil pressure switch may leak which shows up in the neighborhood of the starter. (2007)
Audio system
Description: When using a portable music player (e.g. iPod) there may be noise in the car’s speakers whenever the vehicle’s power adapter is used and a ground loop isolator (from Radio Shack) is required between the device and the power outlet to prevent the noise. (2007-08)
Audio system
Description: When using a portable music player (e.g. iPod) there may be noise in the car’s speakers whenever the vehicle’s power adapter is used and a ground loop isolator (from Radio Shack) is required between the device and the power outlet to prevent the noise. (2007-08)
Vehicle noise
Description: Squawking sound from rear suspension on bumpy roads requires improved rear control arm bushings. (2007-09)
Vehicle noise
Description: A squawking noise from the rear end requires replacement of the control arm bushings. (2007-09)
Water leak
Description: Water may leak onto the headliner near the sunroof switch due to the sunroof going out of adjustment and the sunroof trim (bezel) may come also loose. (2007-08)
Water leak
Description: Water may drip from the center map light due to leakage at the sunroof and the water traveling into the map light. (2007-09)
Electrical problem
Description: The power locks, cruise control, shift interlock and other accessories may not work; the engine may not go over 4,000 rpm and the check engine light may come on in cool temperatures (32-50 degrees F) after cold soak due to a problem with the transmission control module. (2007)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may occasionally come on during light acceleration due to a damaged torque converter O-ring. (2007-08)

Recall History

2007 vehicles originally sold in or currently registered in the states of Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, and Texas.
Description: The plastic supply or return port on the modular reservoir assembly may crack. If either of these ports develops a crack, fuel will leak from the area, resulting in a possible fire. Dealers will replace the fuel pump module free of charge.
Description: The driver may experience a sudden loss of power-steering assist that could occur at any time while driving. If power-steering assist is lost, it would require greater driver effort at low vehicle speeds, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will replace the electric power-steering motor free of charge.
Description: The transmission shift cable adjustment clip may not be fully engaged, so shift lever might not coincide with actual position of transmission gear.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.