"GTO. Firebird. Fiero. The history of Pontiac is peppered with nameplates that helped establish the brand as a legitimate performance division within GM. Whether they were ramming air, making a chicken scream, or putting the engine behind the driver, the folks at Pontiac always had something interesting to draw enthusiasts into the showroom."
Also I found the following press release published by Yahoo:edmunds said:Most Significant Vehicle of the Year
Most Significant Vehicle of the Year: Pontiac Solstice
GTO. Firebird. Fiero. The history of Pontiac is peppered with nameplates that helped establish the brand as a legitimate performance division within GM. Whether they were ramming air, making a chicken scream, or putting the engine behind the driver, the folks at Pontiac always had something interesting to draw enthusiasts into the showroom.
That all ended in 2002 when the Firebird flamed out. Not only was the division's pony car dead, but there wasn't a rear-wheel-drive model to be found in the entire lineup. So much for "building excitement." The "new" GTO (from Australia?) tried to revive the brand's image in 2004, but it's the all-new 2006 Solstice that has returned a sense of thrill to Pontiac showrooms — and created customer orders that far exceed initial supply.
Beyond it's arresting appearance and rear-drive chassis (GM calls it the "Kappa" platform), the Solstice features a four-wheel independent suspension, standard 18-inch wheels and a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The price is right at just under $20,000, but if you want power windows, cruise control, or even air conditioning, you'll have to pay extra.
Of course, you can't say "Solstice" without someone saying, or at least thinking "Miata." That car is all-new for 2006 as well. But with a 16-year history of making a sporty two-seater, Mazda's redesigned Miata isn't as significant. But GM going from concept to reality in 27 months on a two-seat roadster? A roadster that looks as good as the concept while offering an entertaining ride and attractive interior for less than $20,000? Beyond redefining the low-priced roadster market, the Solstice also revives the company's image. For 2006, there really is some excitement at your local Pontiac dealer. Now that's significant.
Honorable Mention: BMW 3 Series
The sport sedan that sets the bar has raised it once again. Just when the competitors from Audi, Infiniti and Mercedes look to be catching up…WHAM! A new 3 Series arrives and puts them squarely in its rearview mirror. We knew a redesigned 3 was coming, and we figured it would be a great driver. What's so significant about that? All we can say is — drive the new 2006 model and find out yourself. It's tough to convey exactly how the 3 Series continues to redefine excellence in the entry-level sport sedan segment. But we know, without a doubt, that it does.
Honorable Mention: Honda Ridgeline
After years of watching the lucrative truck market from the sidelines, Honda has jumped into the fray with its own take on what an open-bed vehicle should be. The Ridgeline is tough to classify, as it looks like the Chevrolet Avalanche while being roughly the size of the Toyota Tacoma. It doesn't offer the Avalanche's "Midgate" between the cabin and bed, and it doesn't have the rugged, utilitarian feel of the Tacoma. But it is the first truck with a trunk beneath the bed, and its carlike ride and handling make it very easy to maneuver in city driving. Think of it as the "minivan" of trucks, with a cabin that could have the best interior storage array of any vehicle on the market. Whatever you call it, it's an entirely new class of vehicle from Honda.
Honorable Mention: Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
When is a sedan a coupe? When it has a sleek body that almost makes you forget about the second set of doors. But the new CLS from Mercedes-Benz doesn't just look sporty. It uses the E-Class platform with recalibrated suspension settings to improve handling on twisty roads, and its interior design and materials are a clear cut above the E500. Engine choices range from the venerable 5.0-liter V8 that makes 302 horsepower, up to the 5.5-liter, 469-hp V8 in the CLS55. Regardless of which version you choose, you can bet it won't blend in at the local country club parking lot
Article said:Press Release Source: Edmunds.com
Edmunds.com Announces Pontiac Solstice as Most Significant Vehicle for 2006 at SEMA Show
Wednesday November 2, 1:00 pm ET
LAS VEGAS, Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Edmunds.com (http://www.edmunds.com), the Internet's premier resource for consumer automotive information, today named the Pontiac Solstice as its Most Significant Vehicle for 2006 during the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.
This accolade is awarded annually to a vehicle that, according to the editors at Edmunds.com, significantly changes the rules of a given segment, creates a new niche or redefines an automaker's image.
"The Pontiac Solstice has expanded the affordable sports roadster segment with an attractive, innovative package at a truly affordable price," observed Karl Brauer, editor-in-chief of Edmunds.com. "It's given a lot of consumers a great reason to become enthusiastic about what's new for 2006 -- and also offers performance enthusiasts an exciting new reason to visit their local Pontiac dealer."
Past "Most Significant" award winners include the Chrysler 300, Nissan Titan, Nissan 350Z, Mini Cooper, Chrysler PT Cruiser and Honda Insight.
"We're honored that the Pontiac Solstice has been named Edmunds.com's Most Significant Vehicle for 2006," said Jim Hunter, Solstice Product Manager, as he accepted the award presented by Karl Brauer and Kevin Smith, editorial director of Edmunds.com's Inside Line online magazine. "Given the quality and character of the other new 2006 vehicles, as well as Edmunds.com's reputation as a key source of unbiased information, singling out the Solstice for this award is truly a great compliment to the team that envisioned this new American roadster and worked hard to get it on the road."
Edmunds.com also announced the winners of its eighth annual "Editors' Most Wanted" vehicle awards, recognizing the vehicles the Edmunds.com editors would choose to buy with their own money.
The 2006 Winners Are:
Sedan Under $15,000 Mazda 3
Sedan Under $25,000 Dodge Charger
Sedan Under $35,000 BMW 3 Series
Sedan Under $45,000 BMW 5 Series
Sedan Over $45,000 Audi A8
Wagon Under $15,000 Scion xB
Wagon Under $25,000 Dodge Magnum
Wagon Under $35,000 Audi A4
Wagon Over $35,000 Mercedes-Benz E Class
Coupe Under $15,000 Honda Civic
Coupe Under $25,000 Ford Mustang
Coupe Under $35,000 BMW 3 Series
Coupe Under $45,000 Chevrolet Corvette
Coupe Over $45,000 BMW 6 Series
Convertible Under $25,000 Ford Mustang
Convertible Under $35,000 BMW Z4
Convertible Under $45,000 Lotus Elise
Convertible Over $45,000 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
Compact Truck Toyota Tacoma
Large Truck Nissan Titan
SUV Under $25,000 Nissan Xterra
SUV Under $35,000 Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer
SUV Under $45,000 BMW X5
SUV Over $45,000 Toyota Land Cruiser/LX 470
Minivan Honda Odyssey
Exotic (Coupe) Bentley GT Coupe
Exotic (Sedan) Bentley Flying Spur
"The Editors' Most Wanted winners are the vehicles our editorial team would choose to park in their own garages if given the opportunity to buy a vehicle in each of these categories," Brauer explains. "Every vehicle on the list offers a compelling mix of performance, quality, style and value-for-the- money and truly deserves recognition for this achievement."
Details on all award winners can be reviewed at http://www.edmunds.com/emw and video clips are available at http://www.edmunds.com/video/.
About Edmunds.com, Inc.
Edmunds.com is the premier online resource for automotive information. Its comprehensive set of data, tools and services, including Edmunds.com True Market Value® pricing, is generated by Edmunds.com Information Solutions and is licensed to third parties. The company supplies content for the auto sections of NYTimes.com, AOL, CNN.com, About.com and IGN.com, provides weekly data to Automotive News, and delivers monthly data reports to Wall Street analysts. Edmunds.com also publishes Inside Line (www.insideline.com), a free online magazine for auto enthusiasts. Edmunds.com was named "Best Car Research Site" by Forbes ASAP, has been selected by consumers as the "Most Useful Web Site" according to every J.D. Power and Associates New Autoshopper.com Study(SM), and was ranked first in the Survey of Car-Shopping Web Sites by The Wall Street Journal. The company is headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif. and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit.