Monday, March 25, 2013

25k: Better Than A BRZ: 2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe Turbo

If you've ever surfed over to the Canadian version of craiglist called kijiji, you have invariably found a motley assortment of Zambonis, ice fishing rigs, swamp tundra buggies, Ford Model Ehs, and all manner of salvaged-from-moose-impact vehicles.  But every once in a while a rare vehicle is listed that hasn't been bitten by the tin worm or crashed while playing car-hockey on Top Gear Canada.  Find this 2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe for $25,000 CAD ($24,464 USD) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada via  Thanks to tip from Andy L.

When the GM Kappa platform was first released in 2006, performance enthusiasts rejoiced around the world.  Finally GM had listened and was releasing a lightweight, performance oriented, budget car for the masses.  The Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky, Euro market Opel GT and South Korean Daewoo G2X were to forever change the automotive landscape in the direction of simplicity and goodness...and then the automotive market crash of 2008 occurred.  GM spiraled into bankruptcy and shuttered its Pontiac and Saturn divisions, ending the Skystice production in 2010, all the while keeping Buick on life-support...a fitting term given the demographics of Buick buyers.

You may ask yourself, would the authors at the Daily Turismo, known cheapskates, skinflints and beggars, buy a new Skystice?  Of course not!!  So why are we disappointed?  If the Skystice production had continued at its originally planned rate, a new model (or two) would have been released by now and the market for used rear-drive-coupes would be flooded, prices would drop and like a Bengal tiger on a giraffe calf, we would have our cake and eat it too!  Or at least we would be able to pickup a sub-$10k Skystice and drive it like maniacs for a year and then sell to the next cheapskate.  Alas, it was not to be, and models such as this one have (and probably will) maintain their value quite well given their rarity and performance/dollar ratio.

At the heart of the performance equation is a 2.0 liter Ecotec SIDI-turbo (Spark Ignition Direct Injection - Turbocharged) inline-4 that puts out 260 horsepower and 260 ft-lbs of torque stock, or 290 hp and 340 ft-lbs with a dealer installed ECU tune.  The Gen II Ecotec LNF engine was an excellent high performance engine from GM and found its way into Cobalt SS, HHR SS and even the $100k Fisker Karma. 

The inside of the Solstice is often described as cramped, probably by folks used to driving Ford Transit vans; we think a snug interior isn't a bad thing and should only lead you to a deeper connection with your machine.  A connection you will have, since these things are often described as driving like a 4-cylinder turbocharged Corvette.

This Solstice looks in fantastic condition, probably because it only has 10,000 kilometers on the odometer, which we can only assume is like 50 miles...because we are American and cannot understand the metric system.  So, if you can't decide between a new Subaru BRZ and Scion FRS, we say the answer is a used Solstice GXP.  It is faster, better looking and won't depreciate (as much), unless the Spaniards who purchased the GM Kappa platform tooling figure out how to build a large volume Solstice clone...probably not.

See a better turbocharged, rear drive coupe, that is factory new? email us here:


  1. Having just relocated from MI, I had the opportunity to see a couple of these on the roads, and even talk to a couple of owners. These cars look even better in person.

  2. Wow, that's nice. Never even knew they made a coupe, never seen one. Wikipedia says only 1152 regular production of these out of more than 64,000 Solstices produced, 2009 model year only. Any Sky coupes? On my list now. Thx, DT!

    1. ~ remember i warned you, you can not unsee these images;

    2. Real hideous! Looks like a one-off custom. Similar to the Falken Sky Coupe drifter.

  3. ~ mr Liss fulfills his challenge! well done, sir.
    and for those who demand more power from their Solstice, Sky, G2X, there is the LSv8 conversion.

  4. @Scot - I should have heeded your warning. Shudder.

  5. Admittedly, I'm not a big Pontiac or Saturn fan, aside from the 1st gen Firebirds perhaps. I had high hopes for what the Fiero *could* have been, but no need to worry - GM ensured nothing good would ever come of that. The Solstice GXP Turbo Coupe is, however, quite a looker - particularly in this sharp metallic red. Very nice.

  6. Pretty sure that the Soulstice concept was a coupe, IIRC. The production version is a doppelgänger for it, which I think is a creditworthy move by the general, given the climate. Interior is absolute bore-ville, but you will never see yourself driving in

  7. the opposite direction.

  8. "...Ford Model Ehs..."
    That right there is comedy!
    Consider that line stolen.
    Thanks for the laugh and the great blog!!!

  9. Not sure where you got the idea that Kijiji is the Canadian version of Craigslist. We actually have both here as quite separate web sites. Both provide a wide variety of cars, trucks and assorted other listings just as in the USA.

  10. In the US, Craigslist is the largest classified section on the internet. Up here, kijiji is. Believe that's all the statement is saying.
    You can't even remotely compare the two up here, kijiji has 100x the postings Craigslist, autotrader, buysell, used*city* and every other fleabit classified does combined.
    (as an aside I have no idea why Craigslist is so loved by you Yanks, it's just, terrible)

    Anyone needs this puppy looked at, let me know. I'd love to squeeze my 6'4" frame into it in the name of "testing it out for out of city buyer" :)

  11. You guys keep crackin me up! I/m with Anonymous........I'm with myself!.."Ford Model Ehs"..STOLEN.

    And I'm hanging on by the shorthairs here......I actually like the way this modern machine looks....whether I'd spend 25 K on this or on my wet dream 02tii...........meh!

    Still......perfect car for a maldjusted scot?!

    1. ~ oouuuccch, shot from the saddle, you nail'd me.
      . identify yourself, scoundrel.

  12. This particular car is a rare beasty. Only about 80 coupes made it to Canada, and of those most were slushboxes and/or 2.4L cars. This one has the power upgrade, presumably from new, so it's likely still under a full warranty. The Z3/Z4 M coupes or the Audi TT-S are good alternatives, but more money. The only comparable value I can think of is a 370Z.


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