2006 Pontiac Solstice First Drive
A halo rides on Pontiac’s new star
Which is not to say that the rumored eight-figure product placement on The Apprentice was for nothing, as it introduced perhaps the most exciting vehicle to come from GM in a long while to young professionals. The first GM vehicle to fully bear the design imprint of GM vice-chairman and car-czar Bob Lutz, the Solstice did indeed catch the eye of viewers, generating 1,000 orders in 41 minutes for a first-edition version and enough buzz to ultimately sell out the first half-year’s entire production run of 10,000. Of course, Lutz – the former Chrysler Corporation executive hired by GM in 2001 to bring back the excitement to GM’s lackluster fleet of models – knew all along it would be like this, ever since that January day when he stood in front of a skeptical media and introduced the 2006 Pontiac Solstice at the 2004 North American International Auto Show.
We’re not skeptical anymore. Not with 177 horsepower from a four-cylinder engine, a starting price of $19,995 and a design that turned heads all over New England during our three-day drive. With styling as appealing, and exotic, as a pricier Lotus Elise or Porsche Boxster, we were instant stars wherever we traveled, followed by heads that snapped and hearts that swooned. From young to old, from entrepreneur to farmer, the Solstice attracted attention like s’mores on a summer night. But forget captivated crowds, chocolate-and marshmallow-covered lips, and even your favorite tunes – we wanted to stay out all night, driving this rear-drive pocket rocket up and down blue highways and back byways, enjoying its exhaust note as our own personal open-air symphony.