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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I stopped by on my way home from work and got lucky. Below is the EXACT post I made first at miata.net minus the intro -- I own an MSM so of course I go there first. ;)

[start post]

Hoping to see one in person, I left work early to have a look. Yep, sure enough, a whole slew of them plus an NB and an S2000. As I was driving it up it was clear that they were packing up. Already loading a bunch of them back onto the trucks and only two still on the lot.

I looked them over when one of the guys came over and said hello and wanted to know if I was buying one. I explained that I wasn't but was active for quite awhile now (as I have been) on the Solstice forums. He grinned and said, "Want to go for a spin?"

Hmm, let me think about that..."No," I says, "Just wanted to look at them."

Yeah, right. Let's go! And so we did.

Exterior Impressions
It sits high on the back end giving it a sort of jacked up, abrubt stop to the back end kind of look to it. The frame was also sitting quite high off the top of the tires. These were pre-production so who knows. This one needed to be lowered, badly.

The spot where the cloth top meets the body paneling looks awful. Almost like Ponitac threw up there hands and said, "Dude, we have NO idea how to make this look right so this is how we're going to do it, period. Don't like it? Tough, it's late and we're going home." Seriously, it just looks awkard and it gave it a cheap feel.

Interior Impressions
The passenger side was very narrow, worse than my MSM. Perhaps the designers made more room for the driver? That would make it driver-centric and I hope that's what they did. But where I was sitting? Long drives? Forget it, no thanks.

Console was completely driver focused...and big...and curvy, not unlike the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. It said, "I'm a Pontiac"...if that makes sense. Control knobs were big. This car had XM radio. The guy taking me on the spin turned on the radio but I asked him if he'd mind turning it off as I wanted to hear the engine.

I could get used to the interior, it wasn't bad...just different from what I'm used to.

Driving Impressions
The guy raced the engine to launch us. Two quick observations...engine sounded a bit buzzy and the exhaust note was disappointing, not deep or throaty in the least. But it did seem quite rev friendly.

The car is not overly fast but it's a smoother acceleration than my MSM...the car seemed fairly linear up to redline (yep, he took it to redline nearly every shift) but the MSM does pack a nice turbo puch I've grown to enjoy. I guess this is a matter of personal preference.

Handling. This is what really counts, yeah? Ok, I'll say it...I was impressed. Body roll? Less than my MSM. No kidding. Turns? Well, I have to say either I've been a big patsy when it comes to driving my MSM or the Solstice handles as good or better. It did feel a bit heavy in the turns but the guy driving seemed to have NO trouble steering the car with the throttle. And he took the turns much faster than I expected. A pleasant surprise and a wild ride. He really beat the bejesus out of this thing.

What really surprised me is how there seemed to be very little oversteer. No understeer from what I could tell. He did generate some oversteer when I asked him about it but the car balanced itself extremely well coming back out of the turns.

I was really, really impressed.

Granted, until I drive one it won't mean anything. The guy taking me on what felt like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride through the convention center lot could have quite simply been an excellent driver, far better than I most likely. And the right driver can make any car look great.

And the Solstice FELT great.

I'm now really looking forward to driving one myself, though it won't be as nearly as brutal as this guy was, the dealer would never allow it and I'd feel bad abusing the car in such a manner. Outstanding drive though and a load of fun.

So there you have it...a bit of lucky timing and I got a wicked A ride in the Solstice. I loved it.

I chatted up the guy and gals (they were hired by Pontiac, but not employed by them) about the car...blah blah blah, just small talk. They gave me a brochure but it was a bit limited, mostly just talking about some options, nothing really good or insightful. It was all they had.

So I walk away wondering...would I buy a Solstice at some point to replace the MSM? You know, I may...I just may. The biggest drawback is everytime I looked at the steering wheel, there was a Pontiac emblem on there. I know, I know...unfair bias. But I want to see long term reliability. Heck, even the guy that took me out said to wait at least one, if not two, model years. I asked if they had any problems and they said no. I believed them, especially the guy after saying his advice was to wait two years before getting one. And he didn't come off as being anything but truthfull based on other comments.

I don't know. I think Pontiac has a winner. Mazda has a contender on their hands.

matt
 

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Matt123 said:
The spot where the cloth top meets the body paneling looks awful. Almost like Ponitac threw up there hands and said, "Dude, we have NO idea how to make this look right so this is how we're going to do it, period. Don't like it? Tough, it's late and we're going home." Seriously, it just looks awkard and it gave it a cheap feel.
This was a Pre-Production Model, Top issues were resolved before going into production. ;)
 

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Solstice v. Miata

Check out Excelsior's pic of his Sol next to a Miata and you will see that Mazda doesn't have a contender on its hands, but rather it must now overtake the new champion, the Pontiac Solstice! ;)
 

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My above comment shouldn't be taken as a shot against Miatas (they are great cars), I'm just promoting the good looks of the Solstice.
 

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"The passenger side was very narrow, worse than my MSM. Perhaps the designers made more room for the driver? That would make it driver-centric and I hope that's what they did. But where I was sitting? Long drives? Forget it, no thanks."

are you sure about that? i have tested both s2k and nb miata and found the opposite to be true. both miata and s2k felt much more narrow than the solstice- from either driver or passenger side.

"I think Pontiac has a winner. Mazda has a contender on their hands."
it's too bad pontiac didn't have the new MX-5 to test/compare. that is going to be the real competitor for the solstice. everone who loves cars owes Mazda a debt... before the Miata, a reliable sports car was an oxymoron.
 

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Solstice is the New Champ! (former miata owner)

sol4soul said:
My above comment shouldn't be taken as a shot against Miatas (they are great cars), I'm just promoting the good looks of the Solstice.
I've owned 6 Miata's and have yet to step foot into a Solstice. However, I have a friend that is a professional driver that test drove the Solstice. His exact words "THIS CAR IS THE REAL DEAL". He also stated "MAZDA WILL LOSE THIS BATTLE". He was highly impressed with the exterior styling, interior compartment and driver handling. This guy drives professionally for Porsche. He told me to forget about the new Miata...... :yesnod:
 

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Interesting Matt. The first half I read I was saying to myself well he's in the Madza camp, this is going to give this thing some serious knocks here.

You took me by surprise with the 2nd half starting at the handling. Nice to hear that coming from an MSM guy. From my reading of MF the last year or so a lot of people didn't give this thing a chance on handling because of the weight factor.

I'll have to surf over to MF and check out the response you got :leaving:

Oh and you should have taken the wheel when he offered it ;)
 

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different ride, same place....
Ride and Drive may have been a bust in King of Prussia, rained in the morning, I asked my son check it out ---he did (actually did something that Dad asked),later in the day and had a ride of a lifetime. Son's impression this car sticks to the road like nothing he has ever been in.

What a blast we all are going have taking the corners in this one. Team is packing up and on the way to NJ next. Thank You Forum members for giving this info out to our family, at least one of us had the chance to drive it (nothing past 2nd gear) and have a pro driver show what this baby can do... Thanks GM Ride and Drive team for being so great to my son.
 

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MGA1500 said:
different ride, same place....
Ride and Drive may have been a bust in King of Prussia, rained in the morning, I asked my son check it out ---he did (actually did something that Dad asked),later in the day and had a ride of a lifetime. Son's impression this car sticks to the road like nothing he has ever been in.

What a blast we all are going have taking the corners in this one. Team is packing up and on the way to NJ next. Thank You Forum members for giving this info out to our family, at least one of us had the chance to drive it (nothing past 2nd gear) and have a pro driver show what this baby can do... Thanks GM Ride and Drive team for being so great to my son.
Does anyone know where in NJ they are going???

:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Unless they've done a complete redesign, I fail to see how the top is going to look attractive coming down on the body panels the way it is.

I don't like it...it's probably why you see very few photos with the top up. I think it looks stupid. It looks like it was stuck on with glue...not unlike the first soft tops for the Viper, just bloody awful.

But now that I've seen it in person...well, there's something tickling the back of my brain about the outside design...in a not so good way. I'm not sure what it is. But the ride...well, the ride would help me forget that pretty easily. Like I said, I walked away grinning. Pontiac built a go-kart.

But I'd never buy one (even now) until I could drive it. It's why I went with the MSM over the S2000. I loved the S2000 until I met her in person, she wouldn't talk to despite being a great dance partner. The MSM, on the other hand, gave me a warm, friendly hello before I even got off the lot. And thus I bought.
 
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ntouched said:
I've owned 6 Miata's and have yet to step foot into a Solstice. However, I have a friend that is a professional driver that test drove the Solstice. His exact words "THIS CAR IS THE REAL DEAL". He also stated "MAZDA WILL LOSE THIS BATTLE". He was highly impressed with the exterior styling, interior compartment and driver handling. This guy drives professionally for Porsche. He told me to forget about the new Miata...... :yesnod:

It's posts like that that almost make me sorry I found this site. Why? Cause now I want my car that much more. :lol: :willy:
 

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Matt123 said:
Unless they've done a complete redesign, I fail to see how the top is going to look attractive coming down on the body panels the way it is.

I don't like it...it's probably why you see very few photos with the top up. I think it looks stupid. It looks like it was stuck on with glue...not unlike the first soft tops for the Viper, just bloody awful.

But now that I've seen it in person...well, there's something tickling the back of my brain about the outside design...in a not so good way. I'm not sure what it is. But the ride...well, the ride would help me forget that pretty easily. Like I said, I walked away grinning. Pontiac built a go-kart.

But I'd never buy one (even now) until I could drive it. It's why I went with the MSM over the S2000. I loved the S2000 until I met her in person, she wouldn't talk to despite being a great dance partner. The MSM, on the other hand, gave me a warm, friendly hello before I even got off the lot. And thus I bought.

So in summary....
1) You hate the top
2) Have an issue with the exterior design
3) Loved riding shotgun
4) Want to drive one
5) Have a strange relationship with cars


:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So in summary....
1) You hate the top correct, but I don't often drive top up so no matter
2) Have an issue with the exterior design there's something just a bit off that keeps me from going gaga over the design now that I've seen it in person, though I still really like the styling
3) Loved riding shotgun I wasn't given the choice...better shotgun then wondering how the car handles from the sidelines, eh?
4) Want to drive one correct, though I'd like to drive my MSM right now too but I need some sleep
5) Have a strange relationship with cars perhaps, the Japanese engineers call it Oneness between Horse & Rider
 

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Matt123 said:
So in summary....
1) You hate the top correct, but I don't often drive top up so no matter
2) Have an issue with the exterior design there's something just a bit off that keeps me from going gaga over the design now that I've seen it in person, though I still really like the styling
3) Loved riding shotgun I wasn't given the choice...better shotgun then wondering how the car handles from the sidelines, eh?
4) Want to drive one correct, though I'd like to drive my MSM right now too but I need some sleep
5) Have a strange relationship with cars perhaps, the Japanese engineers call it Oneness between Horse & Rider
I feel like a reporter :lol:

Congrats on the ride. Sounds like it was loads of fun. :yesnod:
 

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Matt123 said:
So in summary....
1) You hate the top correct, but I don't often drive top up so no matter
2) Have an issue with the exterior design there's something just a bit off that keeps me from going gaga over the design now that I've seen it in person, though I still really like the styling
3) Loved riding shotgun I wasn't given the choice...better shotgun then wondering how the car handles from the sidelines, eh?
4) Want to drive one correct, though I'd like to drive my MSM right now too but I need some sleep
5) Have a strange relationship with cars perhaps, the Japanese engineers call it Oneness between Horse & Rider
I feel like you are trying to be politically correct here. Bottom line, you basically dislike this car form an asthetic point of view. Handling you are leaning one way but are still skeptical. Point taken. Looks wise, I disagree of course, but we all have opinions. I personally think the Lamborghini Gallardo is the best looking "retail car" on the planet. I'm SURE you disagree, as will many others, but that's for another discussion. So what is it exactly you find "off" about the Solstice? Just courious. I happen to think it's 97% perfect for a "true back to basics roadster." Do you like the Saturn Sky any better? That would answer alot.

By the way, I don't have a cool "Troll" picture. Can someone help me out?
 
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