GM's Auto Show In Motion
December 1, 2005
By Scott Lewis
Last year I went to
GM's Auto Show In Motion.
I enjoyed it a lot. I felt a lot more comfortable with the event as I
got used to it. I was apprehensive at first, so I didn't get the most
out of some of the cars I drove early in the day. I also over prepared
for the event.
Well, I had the chance to do it again this past November. I still over prepared, because I am geeky that way, but this time I got a better feel for all the cars I drove.
Auto Show In Motion
What is Auto Show In Motion? The show itself is a great chance to test drive dozens (they say 150) cars and trucks. It is unlikely that anyone drives every car there, but I supposed you could if you made an effort to do so. You test drive the cars by yourself. There are absolutely no salesmen present to push anything on you. For the most part you can take your time and thoroughly examine the cars... from a control standpoint. You don't see people raising the hoods though there are cars on display for that purpose. However, some of the more desirable cars will have a waiting line. The GTO with a manual transmission had a long line at the Nov. 04 event. This might make you think twice about spending a lot of time sitting in the car tinkering with the radio.
Basically all the cars are lined up with the keys in them, ready to drive. You just start the car, drive out of the "parking" section and pull up to the starting line. An event person tells you when you can leave. This keeps the cars far enough apart on the course not to interfere with each other. The course is a pylon course laid out on a large parking lot.
There are a couple of downsides to the test drives. One, you CANNOT get the cars up to highway speed. The courses are low speed trips through the pylons. They told me to keep it under 25 mph on the passenger car course. The second problem overall is that the parking lots are smooth so you have no way of knowing how well the cars can take rough roads. Every car is smooth here.
The plus side it that GM supplies its competitor's cars (more in a moment), so you can get a mini test drive of a LOT of cars in a short time. You could never get close to this going from dealer to dealer. This level of comparison, especially without the hassle of sales people, is invaluable.
Cars of Interest (Before I Get There)
Like last year, I decided to think about all the cars I wanted to drive. This is the over preparation I am still doing. Last year I expected things to be at least somewhat limiting in the cars you could drive, which is why I made a list... just in case I had to choose which cars to drive. Last year's preparation was unnecessary, though fun.
This year I listed the cars I wanted to drive (if they are available) to save time while at the event. I wanted to better compare specific models, and check out what was new. Also, I am in the process of building a complete list of new cars I will be interested in buying come 2007. If any of those cars are present I want to drive them. (BTW... I will have the new list of cars coming in a few months. I am working on a special format to display them. I hope you'll like it. Stay tuned.)
Keep in mind I made this list before going to the event. Below I will summarize the driving experience after I have driven the cars. For now here are the cars I want to look at:
Pontiac Solstice - They had the 05 Corvette at the Nov. 04 event. I got my chance to drive it before seeing one on public roads. I loved it. Granted, the Corvette was one of three vehicles at the event you could only drive once, all others you can drive as often as you like... just get back in line. Basically I was able to drive the new Corvette before seeing any out on the road. I have heard that the Solstice is on sale in limited volume. I am hoping they have one at the 05 ASIM. You can bet that even if they have a Solstice there to drive they won't have a Miata there... not even an 05 model (the Mazda is all new for 06, more later).
Pontiac GTO - The 04 ASIM had the 04 GTO with the 350 hp engine. This year I expect to drive the 05 GTO with its 400 hp engine. Hopefully they won't restrict the number of drives (they didn't last year) beyond waiting in line. I will head here first before the line builds up.
Chevrolet Cobalt SS - This is a new vehicle and wasn't present last year. I am curious how well this pocket rocket will compare to the Acura RSX. If it's present I hope it has a manual transmission.
Cadillac CTS (CTS-V) - They didn't have a CTS-V you could drive last year. I doubt they will have one to drive this year. I would like to take another shot at the CTS... if it has the 255 hp engine. I was too easy on this car last time and didn't get a good enough feel for it. I am also more curious about comparing it to its competition.
BMW 3 Series - I expect they with have a 325i at the event. This is what was present previously. However, the 3 Series is all new, so it would be a chance to drive the all new 3 series. I don't expect they will have a 330i present (more later).
Acura TL or TSX - I didn't even look for these at the 04 ASIM, so I don't know if they had them. I really like the TL with its 270 hp engine. I just wish it were rear wheel drive. The TSX doesn't compete as well against GM iron, so I doubt it will be there.
Mercedes Benz C350 - I would expect them to have at least one C class, but will they have the C350? Doubtful!
Audi A4 - Hopefully with the Turbo 2.0 engine. This is one that needs a manual transmission for a good evaluation. Even if it is present it will be with an automatic.
Honda Accord - I drove one last year and really liked it. I want to drive it again. This time I want to find out if it is a 4 or 6 cylinder car. I am curious about how much power it has in 4 cylinder trim. With the 4 it gets 34 mpg on the highway.
Honda Civic - I'm only interested if the new 06 model is present. I don't expect this to be there. I won't bother with an 05 Civic.
Lexus IS 250 or 350 - I doubt it will be available. Too new.
Infiniti G35 - Sedan or Coupe. I know they didn't have the coupe there last year, but I didn't even look for the sedan. Last year I only drove the CTS, STS, BMW 325i and BMW 530i from the luxury car section. I was too anxious to get over to the Corvette to bother with any of the other luxury cars.
Pontiac Grand Prix GXP - This is new and has a 303 hp V-8 driving the front wheels. It also has wider front wheels and tires than the rears. This is to reduce torque steer. Car and Driver said it did an amazing job. I am curious.
Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS - Last year this car had the Supercharged V-6. This year it also has the 303 hp V-8. I want to see if it gets the same staggered tire arrangement as the Grand Prix.
Hummer H3 - I told my youngest brother-in-law about this event because I expect this to be there. He is planning to attend. He is thinking about buying one. I am mildly curious what something like an H3 feels like with a 5 cylinder engine. Last year I drove the H2 SUT. I didn't really care for the vehicle, but for the course. You drive up a sideways hill, so looking out the passenger window sees the ground. This was wild. I was a little worried it might tip over. Then there is the 40% incline/decline mound you drive over. Very cool. I don't know if this will be the same for the H3, but I am hopeful.
Pontiac G6 GTP Coupe - I drove the G6 sedan last time I was at ASIM. Now I hope to get a chance to drive the coupe. I mentioned last year that the G6 had a lot of promise. I want to see some of that now. I am particularly insterested in the GTP version with the 240 hp engine, up from the 200 hp equipped car I drove last year. Basically I am looking to see if the upcoming G6 Convertible (with a retractible hardtop) will be a viable car for me come 2007.
As I said last year GM picks the competition very carefully. For instance, I stated earlier I don't expect a G35 Coupe to be present. I don't believe there is a decent car in the entire GM line-up that directly compares to the G35 Coupe. Also, GM has nothing to compete with the Mini Cooper or New Beetle so they won't be there either.
I would be very surprised to see a Honda Accord Coupe with its 240 hp V-6 to directly compare against a Pontiac G6 GTP with 240 hp. I would love it, but I am sure it won't happen. I think this might give people a chance to see the Accord is better.
GM supplies a 325i and 530i. I am sure they are more worried about the 330i and the 545i.
I will have a heart attack if I see a Mustang there. If they want you to compare their cars against the competition why wouldn't they want to put the 400 horsepower GTO up against the Mustang GT with a mere 300 ponies. Could it be because the Mustang is a lot better. Or even a little better and a lot cheaper.
Even though the Dodge Charger with its Hemi engine is direct competition for the Pontiac Grand Prix with its V-8 I don't expect to see a Hemi powered Charger there. However, there is little reason not to have the lower end Charger there with a V-6. I doubt this, but I will look for it.
Don't expect any competition for the Corvette. No Porsche Boxster, Nissan 350Z or Mercedes SLK350. I would be surprised if they had any competition for the Cobalt SS. No Dodge SRT-4 or Acura RSX Type-S.
However, the new Chevrolet HHR is direct competition for the PT Cruiser. I wonder if they will have these ready to compare. That will be interesting. My youngest son really likes the PT Cruiser.
Finally, I don't expect to see a Mazda Miata present to compare to the Solstice. This one will be a shame. Given the limited time you get with the car (people won't be playing around putting the roofs up and down) the Solstice's looks will blow away the Miata. Plus the short drive though the pylons will not provide a serious chance to compare the handling limits of these cars. The Solstice should win people over given the constraints of this event.
Everything above was written before going to the event. Everything below was written afterwards. Let's see how the event went.
For starters I want to tell you about the event itself. It was just different enough from 2004 that I should mention some things before we get to the cars. First off, I took my youngest son with me to the event. He is 7, and they made him sit in a booster seat during the test drives. I really got into comparing the cars with my son. I had him climb into the cars that were on display (not the ones to drive) and give me his opinion of the back seats. I wanted to know if he would be comfortable riding in the back for a drive up to Dallas (where his cousins live).
The event does a great job of providing car seats and boosters. However, it was a little too restrictive to really enjoy the event with a child. They would not allow him to ride in the front seat of the Solstice or the SSR pickup. You had to be 13 to be a passenger in these. Also, they would not allow him to ride in the back seat of the Cadillac CTS-V, because you had to be 18 to be a passenger on the performance course.
I also had to look at cars he liked looking at, so this slowed us down. The line for the Solstice was so long I could not see waiting for it. Once I learned he could not ride as a passenger I was unable to drive the Solstice, because I could not leave him alone while I drove it. I had to be content with sitting in the display model under the tent.
With my son we drove the Chevrolet HHR, Mercedes ML350 and the Hummer H3 all on the Sport Utility Course. From the SUV Course we could see they had about 6 SSR Pickups with the tops down over on the Pickup Course. We headed over there were they told us about the 13 year old rule for passengers. Oh well.
We walked over to the passenger car section and drove the G6 Coupe. The line for the GTO was already too long for me to force my son to endure. They had 4 Solstices there, all with the tops down. This line had more people on it than any other line... even the GTO. We took a quick walk over to the Luxury Car Course to see what cars were available. I noticed that the Cadillac SRX, their mid size SUV, was in with the luxury cars, not with the SUVs. Strange since it would compete with the Mercedes ML350 in the SUV section. As for the competition in the luxury section all they had was the BMW 530i, Mercedes C320 & E350, and the Lexus ES 330. No 3 Series from BMW. No G35, No Acuras. No Audis. Rats!
After this I took my son over to the Hummer "Off Road" Course. Just like last year, I wanted to do the course. I figured my son would like it. There was a small line to drive the H2 on this course, a course you can only drive on once like the performance course. However, there was no waiting for the H3. I let my son decide if he wanted to do this course in the H3 or the H2. He decided not to wait and we drove the H3. It was great. Like last year you drive up a sideways hill of road base. My son thought we would tip over. The instructor told my son this is what the car was made for. Then we went up the hill and down the other side. My son said the seatbelt was the only thing holding him in the car.
At this point we headed for the Cafe to get the snack, and then went to the Performance Course. That's when they informed me he could not go on the performance course. Darn! And they had the Cadillac CTS-V there... with no waiting.
At this point we left. My son was getting tired, and it was too restrictive to get the most out of the event.
Now, I am a nut! I just couldn't leave well enough alone. Sitting in all the cars I wanted to drive was not good enough. I returned the next day by myself to drive all the cars I really wanted to drive. It was drizzling a little when I got there. I arrived about 5 minutes before it was supposed to open hoping this would provide little to no waiting for the cars. I was right, and it was helped my the slight moisture in the air. It stopped drizzling within the hour and overall I was not deterred by the precipitation. In fact, it was helpful. I took a bee-line to the Solstice as soon as I arrived. I was able to drive the Solstice with the top up... which was a blessing. It gave me a sense of how claustrophobic the interior can be. Without the restrictions of the previous day I was able to go from car to car fairly quickly, and tried to take notes as much as I could. It became tiresome to take notes after every car, so eventually I settled on taking notes walking between the different courses.
What was different this year? They moved the SSR from the Performance Course to the Pickup Course. This allowed you to drive the SSR as many times as you liked. BTW... by the time I made my way over to the Pickup Course all six SSRs had their tops down. Cool! The SSR was replaced by the Cadillac CTS-V on the Performance Course. Way Cool! Last year I complained that they should have put the "potholes" and "speed bumps" from the pickup section on the car sections. Someone at GM must have read my article because every course except the Performance course had potholes and speed bumps. Nice job!
This year's Passenger Course was tighter than last years. I am sure I was able to go faster in the GTO last year than this, even though this year's GTO had 50 extra horsepower. The Pickup Course was the best course overall. O.K. They let you go as fast as you could on the Performance Course, but I could only do that once. I could drive the SSR as many times as I was willing to wait in line for it, and the course was good. Better than the SUV or Passenger Car Courses.
Finally the Cafe took a turn for the worse. Last year they served you a "fixed" lunch which included a sandwich (on a round roll), a bag of chips, a cookie and a can of soda. This year the sandwich was replaced with an apple. Much more of a snack than a meal. What the heck... it was free.
So, how were the cars. You will be surprised with some of what I am about to tell you. Overall, I was impressed. GM does actually have some cars that I should consider for my next car. Granted, the competition at the event was well picked to make the GM cars look good. I didn't drive any of the competition... except the Mercedes ML350, because I was curious if this would be a nice car for my wife when she decides to trade in her Acura MDX.
Pontiac Solstice - This was the car I was most interested in driving. So were a lot of people as it had the longest line. If I can get away with getting a two seater for my next car this is at the top of my list. It is affordable, fast enough, and very cool looking. Unfortunately it did not meet my expectations.
The transmission was very clunky. In fact, it was so clunky that I made sure to drive a different car (there were three black and one silver versions of the Solstice at the event). The second car was still clunky, though not as bad as the first. Also, a lot of noise came through the transmission tunnel, making the clunkiness seem worse. The engine was pretty rough as well. It had enough power, and felt torquey, but at high revs it will get noisy.
I liked the overall feel of the car as it drove. It shook just a little over the potholes, but it was less than I expected after hearing all the noise from the tranny. This car feels light enough (coming from driving a Camaro as a daily driver) and seems like it will make a nice highway cruiser (if they can quite it down).
I just could not warm up to the cloth seats, definitely get the leather which were nice and comfortable. Leg room is limited. I am 5' 10" and had the seat back as far as it could go. Six footers may have to look elsewhere. Be careful if you have big feet as well. The foot well seemed tight when I first got in, but once I put my feet where they belong all was good. The pedals are close, so you have to use the dead pedal or you will find it very crowded down there. The seatbelt is so far back it is a nuisance to reach, not something you want in a daily driver. Also the recline knob is tucked so far down and back you have to open the door to get to it. The cup holder sticks out from the panel between the seats. I accidentally popped it open just getting comfortable, and your elbow hits it when shifting back to the even gears (2nd, 4th, etc.). The dash layout was not inspiring, and the overall feeling is that the interior is just too cheap. To be really picky the small plastic sun visors suck. I don't see how they will work much if you are driving into the sun... which I do everyday on my to and from work.
I watched as they lowered and raised the top on the Solstice (in the tent area). It is not much better than my 67 Camaro was with its manual top. The corner "wings" of the top have to each be manually popped into place, so you must walk around the car to put the top up. Maybe they will upgrade some of this when they come out with a supercharged or turbocharger version. I wonder if they are even thinking about building a power top. I drove a 99 Miata a few years ago and it was a nicer place to be... if a lot slower. The new Miata (I mean MX-5) has enough power to beat the Solstice, and you can raise and lower its manual top from the driver's seat. I guess I need to make a trip to a Mazda dealer to check out the 06 MX-5.
Pontiac GTO - I still like the GTO, but all is not good. Actually only one thing is worse than last year's goat. The seats. Last year the GTO had some of the best seats in the entire GM line-up. That distinction now belongs to the Cobalt SS. The GTO's seats were very soft, though they had large bolstering. It was like sitting in a La-Z-Boy recliner that wrapped around you. I didn't like it. I would have tagged this as the car to drive this year, but the tighter course restricted the GTO too much. I never had to shift out of first gear... though I did to check out that wonderful clutch. The clutch on the GTO was one of the smoothest of the event. The only car with a better clutch was the Cadillac CTS-V. The GTO sits more like a sedan that my Camaro, and it seemed welcome. I thought the steering was just a little heavy, but it worked well. The GTO still shows its Australian roots. It does not have auto power windows, not even auto down for the driver. I still liked this car. I hated the seats, and if I decided to buy one that could be a problem. At the sticker price of a GTO they should at least get the same Recaro seats from the Cobalt SS.
Chevrolet Cobalt SS - I really liked this pocket rocket. The engine seemed smooth and powerful. The tightness of the course made it too hard for me to watch the boost gauge, but there was plenty of power. This engine needs to go into the Solstice. I would really like to see what this could do in the real world. Being from the philosophy that "torque is your friend" I think this would make a good car to go up against the Acura RSX. This cars feels more powerful at low revs than a regular RSX, though it has been too long since I drove the RSX Type-S to make that same claim. The Cobalt SS gets fantastic leather Recaro seats. I think they were strictly manual adjusted, but I don't really remember. I found them so good I just loved sitting in them. I found the seating position to be a little better than the RSX. Just sedan enough to be more comfortable than a low slung sports car, but low enough to still be sporty. A real nice compromise, and a pleasant surprise coming from a GM front wheel drive car. The overall fit and finish of the materials was better than a lot of other cars. In fact, I was surprised how nice the door panels were upholstered. Way to go GM. I hate the wild rear spoiler on this car. I wonder if that can be deleted at the factory. I think this car could make a great alternative to the import tuner crowd. If my next car were destined to go to my kids this would be high on my list.
Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS - This car wins the award for the most "unimproved." Is that a word? How do you say that this car got worse than last year... by a wide margin. The V-8 engine just didn't feel that great. I remember the supercharged V-6 seeming surprisingly spunky last year. Maybe the car gained weight. This car also got worse on the inside. I said last year, "This car came the closest to matching my Camaro for comfort and seating. I felt like I was in a newer version of my Camaro." Not this year. The seats where terrible, flat with no support, and the seating position was definitely a step backwards. Sorry! One thing to note, the new engine has one of those "throttles by wire" because in neutral you could only rev the engine to 3500 rpm... with the pedal to the floor. The steering felt very heavy in this car. I assume this is due to having a V-8 in a front wheel drive car. Better luck next time. GM, it is time to take this car back to rear wheel drive.
Pontiac G6 GTP Coupe - I was very glad they had the GTP version of the G6 Coupe present. This car showed me that Pontiac is making progress. The coupe has a remarkably large rear seat. This will be necessary because invariably the back seat takes a hit when cars become convertibles. I liked the seats in the G6 GTP, though they are not quite up to those in the Cobalt SS. The 240 hp engine felt smooth, smoother than I remembered the 200 hp V-6 from last year's G6 sedan. Pontiac is making this car a bit better. I did not get a chance to see how good the automatic transmission was. I put it in manual mode and left it in first gear the entire time. And it has a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, even the CTS-V doesn't have that.
This car is good enough to get me to keep thinking about it when it goes topless. The 2006 G6 Coupe was better than last year's Monte Carlo SS, and a lot better than this year's Monte. I really can't wait for them to get the retractable hardtop available. I am hoping for a car that is as quite as a coupe with the top up. We'll see.
Hummer H3 - I don't like it. I found it awkward to get into it. The floor is very high off the ground, and then once seated you seem close to it. Weird! The window sill is way to high to comfortably rest your arm on, and the armrest has a bulge at the rear that interfered with my elbow. No way. I found the interior to be way to "rubbery." Not much different from the Solstice in this regard. Too cheap feeling. However, my son got a real kick out of the "off road" course, and thought the back seat was very roomy, which it was.
Chevrolet SSR - This was the surprise of the day. I sat in, but did not drive, the SSR Pickup last year at ASIM. This year they had six of them to drive (I assume three were automatic and three were manuals). I drove the manual first. The shifter is heavy and clunky. By far the worst manual at the event.. and I drove 5 manual equipped vehicles. The clutch was also a problem. When I first let it out I lurched the truck and chirped the tires. Clearly I looked like an idiot, because I could here people behind me laughing.
Once I got use to the very short take-up on the clutch I was able to shift fine. In fact, the truck course was the only one where second gear was worthwhile. You could have driven the course in first all the way, but you would have sounded like you were racing the truck. Second gear was appropriate for some of the course. In fact, I really liked the course. It was just open enough to enjoy driving this "sporty" truck. Granted, you work that steering wheel a lot. And I mean A LOT. This was the only course that required hand over hand turning of the steering wheel. This is mostly because trucks have slower steering.
I found the SSR to feel more torquey than either of the other Corvette powered vehicles I drove. I don't know why. It is the heaviest car/truck to get the Corvette engine. That means one of two things: 1) The course let me get on it more, or 2) The truck is geared better for low RPM kick. I am inclined to believe it is the gearing because the CTS-V had a long enough straight that I don't think it was the Truck Course that made the difference. (LateR GM mailed me inforMATION on the SSR and it does indeed have a 3.73:1 ratio rear end gearing. This is better than my Z28 and probably the reason it felt so strong.)
I was lucky. I waited a bit for the manual equipped SSR. When I finished my lap there were a couple of automatic SSRs waiting, with no one in line. I stepped into the line and immediately got a ride in the auto version. When I finished that lap I took a quick ride in the Colorado Extreme. Why not, it was just waiting there. When I returned there was a line for the auto equipped SSR but not for the manual. I stepped into the manual line and got another drive. This time I worked the clutch much better and enjoyed the trip even more.
The truck leans a fair amount in the corners. But the power is all there at any moment. It really does feel like a big block Muscle Car from the past. For all I knew, if I closed my eyes I could have been in a modern version of my old 440 powered Road Runner. The SSR actually handles better than my old Roar Runner, though. I really liked this. What is wrong with me? The SSR shook going over the potholes, but not too bad. Just a little worse than the Solstice. I could live with it.
The interior is a bit clumsy. Probably on purpose. Gauges at the tip of the console are so far out of sight they are only there for passengers to tell you when your engine is about to blow. It definitely has a retro feel to it, though. I saw one SSR that did NOT have running boards. However, all the SSRs I drove had running boards. Why? Although this truck sits a little high, you don't need running boards to get it. Not only that, but they get in the way when getting out of the vehicle. I'll take mine without the running boards, please.
If they ever offered this in a fixed roof version for under $30K I would buy it. Yes, I just said that. I think this vehicle, even with its fancy retractable hard top, is way overpriced. But with the kind of power delivery, looks and retro styling I would buy one if it was priced closer to a Mustang GT. So what if the Mustang is a better car... this isn't a car, and will be more "out there" than the Mustang in 20 years.
Chevrolet Colorado Extreme - If this is supposed to be a sporty truck I can't tell. It has a column shift automatic. Where's the sport in that. The trucked leaned more than any other vehicle I drove at the event. It wasn't extreme in my book. Next!
Chevrolet HHR - I only drove this for my son. He liked it, but he is only 7. Anything new is cool to him. I thought it was way too cheap feeling. Enough said.
Cadillac CTS-V - I saved the best for last. I was very glad they had this car available to drive. This is, without a doubt, my favorite car this year. Granted, had I been given a chance to drive it back to back with a Corvette I might say something different. But this car really doesn't compete with the Corvette. If I need a four door I will seriously consider this car (Used... they cost too much new).
The seats where a little flat, but they were very comfortable. They had suede inserts that were sooooo soft, and should help hold you in place like cloth seats. I loved them. Perfect for my middle-aged, fat American ass. The engine was very smooth, which is what I would hope Cadillac would do with the car. It was quiet enough to be a true luxury car, but when you got one it you knew you were driving a performance car. A four door sports car.
Granted, this limited drive does not tell me if this car handles better than a BMW sedan, but I don't care. It was a wonderful drive. If I have the money when I go shopping this car will be at the top of my list. It was everything I expected.
The President of of my company ordered a Charger SRT8. It has 425 horsepower. This Cadillac is good for the same 0-60 run in 5 second flat. Yes, the Cadillac stickers for about 10 grand more, but it is a true luxury car. The Charger will seem cheap by comparison. Plus, I will probably look to get a one or two year old model and beat the depreciation.
So Pres... wanna drag?
Well, I really enjoyed my two mornings at the 2005 Auto Show In Motion. I was able to drive 5 manual equipped cars (up from two last year) and able to drive 3 Corvette powered cars (up from two last year). I was able to drive more, and with better confidence than last year. All in all it was a great time.
I also got the chance to see that GM is really doing a good job with a few cars. Too bad they can't get their act together and make all their cars as good as the ones I enjoyed.
Overall... if I buy my next new car with the intent is it going to my kids the Cobalt SS is high on the list, and will require a serious test drive. The G6 is getting better, and I can't wait to drive it with a retractable hardtop. The GTO's seats took a step backwards, but I would still like this car if it were a little cheaper. I have high hopes when they redesign it. CTS-V is everything I want in a luxury sedan. If I can afford one I will seriously consider it. The SSR was the surprise of the day. I liked it. More than I thought I would... since I didn't think I would like it at all. I doubt I will consider it at over 40 grand, but if they ever make an affordable version with a fixed roof I will be lining up.
I was somewhat disappointed in the Solstice. We'll have to see. My guess it that it will sell on looks alone, so Pontiac will have little reason to improve it for some time. That's a shame.
Until next time...