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Negativity in press reports...

Be prepared for some negativity in the honest and objective reports by the media, they have a very good comparitive experience and common sense, I hope that forum members can accept their constructive opinions, positive and negative, without faulting them.
 

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So far we are 1 for 1 with Autoweek.

I imagine every mag needs to find something wrong but overall I'm kind of optimistic
 

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It's been so long since we had anything to read about the actual cars I'm anxiously awaiting anything in the press. As long as they don't get obsessed with these points, I'm prepared to concede:
1. Not near enough trunk space
2. Not quite enough power
3. Roof not quite as easy as some to deploy
4. Gas mileage not quite as good as a some other cars
5. Long wait if you want one
I'm looking forward to objective reporting on fit and finish, performance, handling, ride and braking.
But I'll defend to the death style and price. These I know about.
 

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Well here is the first less than wholy positive review.

Toronto Star Review

Sunrise for Solstice
Wheels is first into the driver's seat of Pontiac's production sports car. So what's it like on the road?

The sexy Solstice is intended as a halo car for General Motors, but the Mazda Miata isn't sweating yet


JIM KENZIE
WHEELS PREVIEW

KELOWNA, B.C.—It's about time somebody took a shot at the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

The classic little Mazda reinvented the affordable two-seat sports car segment over 15 years ago, and through various refreshes and one complete redo this past summer, has remained first in a field of one ever since.

General Motors revealed the Pontiac Solstice as a concept car at the 2002 Detroit auto show. As far as anybody is letting on now, it really was just a concept, that they really did not have plans to produce it or anything like it. For starters, they had no platform upon which to base it.

But the public and press reaction was so strong, so positive, that GM's hand was forced.

Three and a half years later, here it is, and soon to be followed by a Saturn version called the Sky.

Solstice's styling has survived virtually intact from the car-show concept stage, complete with the cool head-restraint extensions into the rear deck, and bumperless face and tail.

The voluptuous lines and huge 18-inch wheels make the car look larger than it really is — overall, it is almost exactly the same length and height as the new Miata, although Solstice's wheelbase and width are both about 80 mm larger.

Solstice also reminds me a little of the lovely BMW Z8 roadster, especially from the rear three-quarter view.

It is an absolute traffic-stopper everywhere it goes. "The best lines I've ever seen on a GM car!" said one admiring onlooker.

That's a bit of a stretch maybe, but suggests that the car's real role in GM`s plan for financial recovery — that of a halo car — might just work.

The platform they needed to build this car had to be pretty much created from scratch. Fortunately, hydroforming (a Canadian Magna process, by which elements are pressed into shape using hydraulic pressure rather than mechanical action of steel on steel) made design and fabrication of the Corvette-resembling central tunnel chassis a relatively easy process.

Hydroforming also is used for the first time in a volume production car for stamping virtually all the body panels, whose deep contours would have been almost impossible to "draw" using conventional metal pressing technology.

Hydroforming is more time-consuming than conventional pressing, but the simpler tools mean it took less time to engineer and develop, and was largely responsible for the car's short gestation period.

Fully-independent double wishbone suspension front and rear with Bilstein monotube dampers, fast-ratio hydraulic power rack-and-pinion steering and big four-wheel disc brakes complete the chassis basics.

Scandalously, ABS is an option ($600). Really, GM, do you want us to take you seriously or not? I know, I know, ABS isn't standard on Miata either. That doesn't make it right, or justify your mistake.

The engine is an Ecotec 2.4 litre twin-cam four-valve four-cylinder with twin counter-rotating balance shafts and variable valve timing, a modestly-revised version of the engine used in various small GM cars worldwide.

Output here is 177 horsepower at 6600 r.p.m. — and GM points out not too strenuously that it is using the new Society of Automotive Engineers procedure for reporting horsepower, meaning these are real horses, as opposed to the inflated numbers some manufacturers continue to use.

Peak torque is 166 lb.-ft. at 4800 r.p.m., with 90 per cent of that value being available from 2400 to 5600 r.p.m.

These are considerably higher numbers than the new Miata (170 hp and 140 lb.-ft.) but Solstice has some extra 165 kg to lug around.

With a power-to-weight ratio similar to Miata, we expected a zero-to-100 km/h acceleration time in the low seven-second range. But an impromptu hand-held sprint yielded numbers in the low 10-second range.

Then again, we were at altitude with two adults in the car, but subjectively it just doesn't feel like a seven-second car.

A five-speed Aisin manual is the only transmission available at launch; a five-speed automatic will be offered next spring.

The interior is roomy by two-seat sports car standards — taller drivers shouldn't have much trouble fitting in. The high belt line and bulbous hood again give the impression that the car is larger than it really is; shorter drivers might get that "too deep a bathtub" feeling, as opposed to Miata, which was engineered to feel small and nimble.

GM describes the interior as "minimalist." "Drab" might be another way to put it. A cliff face of grey plastic forms the instrument panel, with what are said to be motorcycle-inspired gauges. The optional two-tone interior is much nicer.

Deeply-contoured bucket seats are designed to provide good support in brisk cornering.

Solstice's top is manually deployable, and folds beneath the rear-hinged clamshell rear deck. The idea is to make the car look sleek — no "top stack" on the rear deck.

But it is also the car's major failing because one of Miata's most endearing qualities is that you can reach up with one hand and either drop the top or pull it back up. With Solstice, you have to stop, pop the rear deck with the remote (or an in-glove-box button), lift up the deck and fold the thing down. Reverse above procedure if it starts to rain.

The press information bravely says that there are 107.6 litres (3.8 cubic feet) of storage space with the top up. That assumes you're carrying loose sand or water; a huge hump in the middle of the trunk, presumably covering the fuel tank and rear suspension, means nothing much bigger than a small sports bag is going to fit in there. I had to remove half the stuff from my small roller-equipped carry-on bag to get it in there.

Golf clubs? Only if you saw them into tiny little pieces. Which is probably a good idea anyway.

The press info also conveniently forgets to mention how much space there is with the top down. As in approximately, none.

This drastically diminishes Solstice's utility as a real world sports car, and reduces it to a sunny Sunday afternoon play toy. Really, with 15 years of Miata to learn from, you think they'd have come up with a better solution. It's a textbook case of style over substance.

Driving the Solstice is a study in contrasts. I can't remember a car that I wanted to love more than this one. But there are ups and there are downs.

The steering is lovely: direct, linear, light yet full of feel. On the twisty roads of the B.C. interior, the handling feels flat, nimble and secure; a full analysis will have to await the inevitable racetrack opportunity.

Ride quality is also first-rate: firm but well-composed.

So, full marks to the chassis chaps (except for the ABS brakes, but we must blame the marketing dudes for that).

The Ecotec engine has always been a torquey little number, but the car cries out for a six-speed manual. Despite claims that the ratios are closely spaced for linear acceleration, the engine falls into a huge trough between fourth and fifth gears, and struggles to climb its way out.

And despite various vibration-reduction techniques like the balance shafts and direct-mounted ancillaries such as the alternator, the Ecotec will never be the poster child for refinement. It sounds coarse when revved hard, which is exactly what you need to do to overcome the gaps in the transmission, not at all like the sweet revving powerplant of the Miata.

The transmission itself is decent, with short, crisp throws. Again, not quite as good as Miata, but then no other transmission is.

Solstice pricing starts at $25,695, around $2,000 less than the new Miata. Solstice offers three option packages: the useful Power (locks, mirrors, windows, remote keyless entry) for $1,040, the easily-ignored Convenience (cruise, driver information centre, the dreaded fog lamps) for $710, and the marginal Premium (leather upholstery, leather-wrapped wheel and steering-wheel audio controls) for $2,110.

Incidentally, the automatic power door locks are even more irritating in this car than in most, first because there's no way to shut this damned feature off, and second, because unlike virtually all other cars, there is no unlock button you can push — you have to reach over your shoulder and pull up on the door lock plunger. Huge pain in the butt.

Air-con ($1,200), ABS , a variety of audio upgrades and GM's OnStar communication system are stand-alone boxes on the order form. Check them all and the price tag will approach $32,000; be a little circumspect and you'll have a properly equipped car for under 30K.

I wish Solstice were a closer match to Miata, especially in usability and engine refinement. As it is, it represents a very stylish and fine-handling competitor to the brilliant little Mazda sports car.

And that's more than anybody else has been able to accomplish in the last 15 years.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jim Kenzie, a freelance writer ([email protected]), prepared this report based on travel provided by the auto maker.

This was quote was interesting.

With a power-to-weight ratio similar to Miata, we expected a zero-to-100 km/h acceleration time in the low seven-second range. But an impromptu hand-held sprint yielded numbers in the low 10-second range.
 

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They mis-spelled 'liter' :glol:

[mod edit out of remarks]
 

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LBJay said:
I wish Solstice were a closer match to Miata, especially in usability and engine refinement. As it is, it represents a very stylish and fine-handling competitor to the brilliant little Mazda sports car.

And that's more than anybody else has been able to accomplish in the last 15 years.
I find the way the article ended most interesting.

If we find performance lacking we can always trade up to a turbo version later OR go for after market turbo or supercharger. But if the ride and handling are good, who cares about the trunk.

Everyone is going to compare this car to the Miata, oops MX-5, but the reality is a lot of us just don't fit in a Miata. And that is a shortcoming of the Miata that gets conveniently swept under the carpet. :brentil:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
MAKsys said:
They mis-spelled 'liter' :glol:

Serioulsy - so two lard-ass (or should I say Lard-arsed?) Cannuncks with a stop watch didn't much like the Solstice - I won't lose any sleep over it. :yawn:
That's the kind of response that is not neccessary, if it was glowing it would be praised.
 

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They might refer to this link http://www.solsticeforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4495&highlight=miata
where Mazda has already conceded the Solstice is a force to be reckoned with in the US roadster market before they came up with their subtitle.

OK. They didn't like the performance and trunk space. Was prepared for the truck space issue but lack of acceleration is a surprise. Hope others don't report the same.

By the way, what kind of professional writer uses the phrase:
overall, it is almost exactly the same length and height as the new Miata,
It's either almost or it's exactly! :brentil:
 

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It just seemed to me like he didn't want to give the car a chance. I know he says in the article that he really wanted to love the car, but it seemed to me that he'd rather be sitting in the Miata in his garage.

Also, Litre is a proper spelling of Liter, used mainly in Europe (england).
 

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"there is no unlock button you can push — you have to reach over your shoulder and pull up on the door lock plunger. Huge pain in the butt."

Poor baby.
 
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I am not losing sleep over a biased article. The Miata has been out for so many years, that we have an uphill battle. I am going to be proud to be part of the first years Solstice' owners.
 

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Be prepared for the overwhelming response when the general public sees this vehicle on the streets. Be prepared for the overwhelming demand. Be glad you've already ordered your Solstice.
 

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Bottom line is who cares about what the so called experts say. It is really the true car enthusiast opinion that matters and that is each one of us. I have owned cars that critics have knocked but I would call the best cars I've owned. We already know they have bias toward Japanese vehicles so why do we even care? I have seen the Solstice and there is no competition in my mind when it comes to the Miata. Mazda should be quaking in their boots. Solstice is going to put the Miata to shame!
 

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General Motors revealed the Pontiac Solstice as a concept car at the 2002 Detroit auto show. As far as anybody is letting on now, it really was just a concept, that they really did not have plans to produce it or anything like it. For starters, they had no platform upon which to base it.
But the public and press reaction was so strong, so positive, that GM's hand was forced.”
Pure conjecture. See the link for the entire story as the following is an excerpt:
http://www.popsci.com/popsci/print/0,21553,233259,00.html

"Half a mile west of Lutz's office stood the perfect stage for such a spectacle. Detroit's Cobo Exhibition Center hosts the annual North American International Auto Show every January. Lutz wanted to take that opportunity to unveil a stunning new GM dream machine. But the timing was against him: He had just four months at his disposal, and planning, designing, and building a credible concept car—one that runs—ordinarily takes at least twice that long, even with a multimillion-dollar budget. The car czar faced a choice: Wait a year to make his statement or forge ahead with a push car. Waiting was out of the question. Instead of squandering time on consumer clinics or tapping the company's already murky crystal ball, he shot from the hip. He launched a design competition within the company, challenging his employees to make an affordable two-seat roadster that would squeeze the best out of GM's neglected creative juices. "Keep the car simple, pure, and beautiful," Lutz decreed, "and it will be easy to love." He gave his designers a week to submit their ideas.
The race was on. While GM's West Coast team studied two rival roadsters—Honda's S2000 and Mazda's Miata—to help them lock in basic wheelbase and track dimensions, a surreptitious plan was being hatched in Detroit. GM's executive director of design engineering, Mark Reuss, conspired with project manager Mike Lyons to push Lutz's dream even further. Instead of building the fiberglass push car their boss had ordered, the two decided to build a real steel-bodied running prototype. It was a risk. Knowing their jobs could be on the line if the scheme backfired, Reuss and Lyons decided to keep Lutz in the dark as long as possible.

To compress the schedule, GM engineers decided to use as many off-the-shelf mechanical parts—from existing GM cars—as possible. Lyons recruited a small army of Detroit-area subcontractors to handle the myriad engineering and construction tasks involved in creating the body, chassis, powertrain, and various other odds and ends. Wheel to Wheel, a company with extensive prototype and concept-car experience, would build the engine and transmission. Roush Industries would supply the chassis, brakes, and suspension. InSite Industries was hired to provide stamping dies and steel body panels. Special Projects was assigned the critical task of gathering components from the other contractors and assembling them. Naming the car was another challenge. Pontiac, which had just painfully announced that 2002 would be the last year of its 1960s-era muscle car, the Firebird, desperately needed a lift. So Lutz put the new concept car under Pontiac's imprint. None of the designers or engineers was particularly cheered when Pontiac proposed the name Solstice, but it stuck after more evocative suggestions failed legal department scrutiny.

...a beaming Bob Lutz drove the sleek silver Solstice into the North American International Auto Show to a rave response. AutoWeek gave the two-seater its Best in Show rating. For the Solstice's creators, there was another level of satisfaction: They had begun a revolution in the time it takes to make a working prototype. Designers at every automaker in Detroit are now struggling to speed up the pace from concept to finished car—though it's unlikely that others will follow a four-month schedule that cost GM up to three times more than normal. As for GM, its Pontiac division is considering including a $20,000 version of the Solstice in its 2005 lineup."



This I’ll have to experience for myself:

Despite claims that the ratios are closely spaced for linear acceleration, the engine falls into a huge trough between fourth and fifth gears, and struggles to climb its way out.
 

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Hi gang.
Jim Kenzie (arguably the best car reviewer in North America) was one of the first to test drive the new Solstice. Check out today's Toronto Star Wheels section (it takes up the entire front page of the section plus a few part pages further into the section);
Here's the URL (but you may need logon privledges, so I'll post article highlights and low lights below):
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1125006612685&call_pageid=968867497088&col=969048871196

O.K., now for the Good, the bad and the not-so-bad excerpts:
Styling:
"Solstice also reminds me a little of the lovely BMW Z8 roadster, especially from the rear three-quarter view. It is an absolute traffic-stopper everywhere it goes. "The best lines I've ever seen on a GM car!" said one admiring onlooker."

Power:
" Output here is 177 horsepower at 6600 r.p.m. — and GM points out not too strenuously that it is using the new Society of Automotive Engineers procedure for reporting horsepower, meaning these are real horses, as opposed to the inflated numbers some manufacturers continue to use. Peak torque is 166 lb.-ft. at 4800 r.p.m., with 90 per cent of that value being available from 2400 to 5600 r.p.m. These are considerably higher numbers than the new Miata (170 hp and 140 lb.-ft.) but Solstice has some extra 165 kg to lug around. With a power-to-weight ratio similar to Miata, we expected a zero-to-100 km/h acceleration time in the low seven-second range. But an impromptu hand-held sprint yielded numbers in the low 10-second range. Then again, we were at altitude with two adults in the car, but subjectively it just doesn't feel like a seven-second car".


Interior Room:
"The interior is roomy by two-seat sports car standards — taller drivers shouldn't have much trouble fitting in. The high belt line and bulbous hood again give the impression that the car is larger than it really is; shorter drivers might get that "too deep a bathtub" feeling, as opposed to Miata, which was engineered to feel small and nimble".

Seats:
"Deeply-contoured bucket seats are designed to provide good support in brisk cornering."


Trunk Space:
"The press information bravely says that there are 107.6 litres (3.8 cubic feet) of storage space with the top up. That assumes you're carrying loose sand or water; a huge hump in the middle of the trunk, presumably covering the fuel tank and rear suspension, means nothing much bigger than a small sports bag is going to fit in there. I had to remove half the stuff from my small roller-equipped carry-on bag to get it in there. Golf clubs? Only if you saw them into tiny little pieces. The press info also conveniently forgets to mention how much space there is with the top down. As in approximately, none. This drastically diminishes Solstice's utility as a real world sports car, and reduces it to a sunny Sunday afternoon play toy. It's a textbook case of style over substance."

Summary:
Driving the Solstice is a study in contrasts. I can't remember a car that I wanted to love more than this one. But there are ups and there are downs. The steering is lovely: direct, linear, light yet full of feel. On the twisty roads of the B.C. interior, the handling feels flat, nimble and secure; a full analysis will have to await the inevitable racetrack opportunity. Ride quality is also first-rate: firm but well-composed. So, full marks to the chassis chaps"

"The Ecotec engine has always been a torquey little number, but the car cries out for a six-speed manual. Despite claims that the ratios are closely spaced for linear acceleration, the engine falls into a huge trough between fourth and fifth gears, and struggles to climb its way out. And despite various vibration-reduction techniques like the balance shafts and direct-mounted ancillaries such as the alternator, the Ecotec will never be the poster child for refinement. It sounds coarse when revved hard, which is exactly what you need to do to overcome the gaps in the transmission, not at all like the sweet revving powerplant of the Miata. The transmission itself is decent, with short, crisp throws."
 

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...With a power-to-weight ratio similar to Miata, we expected a zero-to-100 km/h acceleration time in the low seven-second range. But an impromptu hand-held sprint yielded numbers in the low 10-second range. ...
:rolleyes: Sure, if you just pull away, THEN get on the gas, upshift at 3800 RPMs - even the miata would do 0-100 kph in 10 seconds.

"handheld" measurements are notoriously unreliable, but many times there is no other way to do it. Speedo damping is a humongous factor, aside from the fact that the passenger cannot see the speedo in a Solstice.

I am waiting to see tested data from Automobile, R&T, C&D, MotorTrend - instrumented runs that are somewhat standardized AND corrected for conditions.

Maybe there was a time conversion for Canadian seconds?

If it seems that I am taking this with a bit of skepticism, it might be because I've had a chance now (since 06 MX-5's are arriving at dealerships, the salespeople are as curious as we are, and Test Fleet Solstices are somewhat easier to obtain in SE michigan) to HYPOTHETICALLY run stoplight accelerations side by side... ;)

Not sure if anyone else has, but I consider these cars to be performance "twins", maybe with DSC off and a good launch on the MX-5, it may have a three foot advantage approaching 75 MPH... but they are VERY close cars, even switching drivers - I would... ah... guess, anyways.
 

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Maybe there was a time conversion for Canadian seconds?
:lol: :lol: Calendars too. They beat the news embargo 'cuz it's already September first up north. :)
 

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Blame Canada.........

CoolOne2006 said:
Bottom line is who cares about what the so called experts say. It is really the true car enthusiast opinion that matters and that is each one of us. I have owned cars that critics have knocked but I would call the best cars I've owned. We already know they have bias toward Japanese vehicles so why do we even care? I have seen the Solstice and there is no competition in my mind when it comes to the Miata. Mazda should be quaking in their boots. Solstice is going to put the Miata to shame!
You are so right! I've owned 6 Miata's. I test drove the Solstice on Tuesday here in So. California. This article is so wrong. I had the opportunity of driving the Solstice, Miata and S2000 at the Ride and Drive Event. The Miata willl lose this battle with the Solstice. My ride in the Solstice was faster and smoother than the Miata. Better control, handling, etc. Besides, no one will base buying the car on any articles in a magazine. Too many people want this car, too many people will buy based on their personal experiences with the Solstice! :yesnod:
 

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From my July 21 posting re Oregon media event

Fortyninenorth said:
Got a great idea, how about the Pontiac folks in Oregon spend some time here answering our questions, rather than trying to impress a bunch of auto journalists who all seem to be too jaded to saw something positive about anything.

We are going to be the best sales force they have, just get us the cars!
I told you so! This was so predictable it hurts. And just wait until the uberfull of them selves glossy Auto press get to see their pieces in print.

All of the articles are going to Start with something like:
1) "The new Pontiac Solstice has the opportunity to save Pontiac's "Performance" image and we love the way the car looks BUT"

2) Throw in a suitable number of shortcomings that WE are all aware of.

3) End with some faint praise like for an American design/built car it isn't too bad. yada yada yada. Who cares.
 

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But it is also the car's major failing because one of Miata's most endearing qualities is that you can reach up with one hand and either drop the top or pull it back up. With Solstice, you have to stop, pop the rear deck with the remote (or an in-glove-box button), lift up the deck and fold the thing down. Reverse above procedure if it starts to rain.
How many people are driving their Miata's down the highway and dropping their tops? Not to mention if you have a NA you might want to unzip your unless you would like a huge a crease in the middle of the plastic window. That being said, a Miata's top is easier to drop. But if one if going to put all the steps into dropping a Sol's top, one should also do it for the Miata.

You Cannuncks actually use HP and ft/lbs? Figured you would be using kW and Nm.
 
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