2008 Pontiac Torrent GXP Preview
Perhaps performance tweaks will help consumers see past this SUV’s flaws
Pontiac Torrent GXP Preview – 2007 Detroit Auto Show: One of the latest trends in the SUV marketplace is the addition of actual sport to the utility portion of the sport-ute equation. Models such as the Acura RDX, Mazda CX-7, and Toyota RAV4 Sport grip and go as well as they haul people and cargo, and General Motors is aiming the 2008 Pontiac Torrent GXP right at this new breed of performance crossovers when it goes on sale in the fall of 2007.
Why it Matters
Having your cake and eating it, too is the American way. Enthusiasts with families want to have fun just like everyone else, and these performance-tweaked SUVs help to make that a reality. Plus, the Torrent GXP helps cement Pontiac as GM’s performance division. Except for that, uh, identical Equinox Sport over at the Chevy dealer.
What’s Under the Hood
Good stuff here, the Torrent GXP’s powertrain is a sophisticated 3.6-liter double overhead-cam V6 engine with variable valve timing connected to a six-speed automatic with a manual TapShift feature. Making 263 horsepower on regular unleaded and driving the front or all four wheels, the Torrent GXP accelerates to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. Other performance tweaks include a stiffened and lowered suspension, 18-inch wheels with 235/50R-18 tires, and a hydraulic rather than electric assist steering system. Stability control, four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS and panic brake assist, and a tire pressure monitoring system are also standard.
What it Looks Like
Subtle design modifications help identify the 2008 Pontiac Torrent GXP. The hood, front fascia, and grille inserts are more aggressively detailed, and the lower portions of the body are painted to match. The roof rack is jettisoned for a cleaner look (but remains an option), and chrome highlights the door handles and exhaust tips.
Pontiac makes one significant change to the Torrent GXP’s interior, and that’s the addition of new seats with larger side bolsters. Cloth is standard, with leather optional. Pontiac also installs an optimistic 140-mph speedometer and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Otherwise, it’s business as usual, with the same fold-flat front passenger’s seat, sliding rear seat, and 68.6 cu.-ft. of cargo space inside. Dual stage front, front side-impact, and side curtain airbags with rollover protection are standard safety features. Options include OnStar telematics, a navigation system, and a DVD entertainment system.
What Pontiac Says
“Customers have come to equate the Pontiac GXP vehicles with an uncompromising balance of performance, style, and comfort,” said John Larson, Pontiac general manager. “The Torrent GXP delivers on that proven formula.”
What We Think
Based on a rather underwhelming piece of engineering, the 2008 Pontiac Torrent GXP contains a fundamentally sound powertrain and several useful interior innovations. It’s in the details that the standard Torrent starts to fall apart. Perhaps the GXP's performance tweaks will help consumers to see past this SUV’s flaws.
Photos courtesy of General Motors