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Today, I finally got to sit in a Solstice. This particular one is a F1K car that the owner allowed the dealer to display in the showroom for a week. Upon hearing that, I quickly ran to get my first real exposure to the car. I'd seen it the previous two years at Detroit, but actually getting to touch it was high on my list of things to do.

A little background. It's my turn to get a car. My g/f got her car in April of 2002, a Crystal Blue 2001 Miata. From that day on, I knew I wanted a roadster of my own. Now that it's my turn, my picks have been the Cobalt SS Supercharged (driven), the WRX wagon (driven, but not the 2006 with the new 2.5 liter), the S2000 (driven, but not a 2.2 liter), the MINI Cooper S (driven), and of course, the new MX-5 (not driven).

I looked up close and personal at the MX-5. It gave me no visceral reaction whatsoever. I haven't driven it yet, but so much about it disappointed me without having even seen the car. No iPod integration. Ugly. Poor Mazda reliability (trust me). But even so, it was ahead of the Solstice in my mind due to two factors. First, it is practical. It has an honest to God trunk (though smaller than my old trunk which has a spare in it) and the top was supposed to be easy to operate (it isn't). And secondly, it's lighter.

But lo, the magazines were saying the Solstice was more fun than the new MX-5. OK, point Solstice. And it's got an MP3 deck with iPod input and a place to mount it without any costly mods. Two more points Solstice. But it's supposedly a bathtub.

Anyway, sorry to bore you, but I wanted you to know where I was coming from. I get there and it looks gorgeous. It's also exactly how I'd order it, no XM or OnStar, chrome wheels, and sand interior. Wow.

Let's start on the outside, something we're all familiar with. I liked everything about the look. The top was up, and I didn't ask to lower it. The waves in the AFTBS were not even noticable, and much less noticable than the weird thing going on behind the window on the new MX-5. The trunk was hard to get to and small, but not as bad as I imagined it would be. Definitely liveable. One thing I noticed that might be an issue is the grille elements. The bumper foam butts right up against the backside of the inside half of each element. Getting a recessed aftermarket grille like the one offered on the GTO would not be an option without surgery.

Inside was where I was most impressed. The seats were comfortable, not S2000 or Cobalt SS comfortable, but better than the MX-5. About on par with my "surfboard" 2001 Miata seats. The materials felt great, looked better. The switches had a positive feel. While I liked the feel of the switches in the MX-5, the Solstice's felt better by a country mile. The seating position is deep, very similar to the S2000. But for some reason, it bothered me in the S2000, but not here. The instrumentation looks great, and is not as tunneled as I feared they'd be. No Matrix/Vibe or BMW Z4. I had trouble even seeing those gauges. The stuff that impressed me most was the small stuff. The cupholders felt solid. The clutch felt good. The touch points were perfect. This is the stuff GM has been missing on for years and this time they nailed every single point.

I haven't driven it yet, but based on what I've seen, the Solstice is now the front runner in my race for a car. I'll wait until the 2007 model year to buy, as I'm sure I'd like more power and I definitely want new colors. But given what I know now, the car I've dreamt of since the first concept is in reality the car I am most likely to buy.

Thanks, GM.

Tony
 

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kiljoy said:
Today, I finally got to sit in a Solstice. This particular one is a F1K car that the owner allowed the dealer to display in the showroom for a week.
Noticed you are in Cincinnati. Is the dealer in Cincy, and how long will the car be there. I can't wait to get my first look at one, and am less than an hour away.
 

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Firebird99 said:
Noticed you are in Cincinnati. Is the dealer in Cincy, and how long will the car be there. I can't wait to get my first look at one, and am less than an hour away.

Yes, where in Cinci? We hit the Cinci Ride & Drive back in July so we got to see, sit, and ride (wife only, not me) them, but we work down that way and it would be nice to see a production car, SINCE THE OWNER DOESN'T SEEM TO MIND anyway.

By the way, thanks to those owners that are letting people check out the cars. :yesnod:

Boo to the dealers who are doing it on the sly. :willy:
 

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Nery nice review :thumbs:

Being on the shorter side (5' 7") - I'm always curious how you 'fit'?

Thanks :)
 

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Dont forget to test drive the new Civic SI. Honda reliability and practicality with supposedly the best combination of sport and driveability yet from Honda. November, I think.
 

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Thanks Kiljoy!! Got to see this car yesterday and it was awesome! I have been wavering about the wait as I ordered on 4/16 but haven't even had my order picked up yet. Even went as far as trying out a certain Chrysler roadster model this weekend, but it is going back tomorrow as I got to finally see the Sol up close.

I guess I'll go back to waiting and just keep visiting the forum here for updates. Who knows, Maybe I'll even get to sit in one someday. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
MAKsys said:
Nery nice review :thumbs:

Being on the shorter side (5' 7") - I'm always curious how you 'fit'?

Thanks :)
I'm short (5'9") and short in the inseam. In the Miata, I sit with the seat forward a bit and the back reclined. Fit was good. I like being snug in a car, and to that end, the interior was a little too roomy (you're not going to hear that every day, boys and girls).

The sills are very high. Something I expected and feared. But to my amazement, the far away dash and light materials really didn't seem to be all around me the way the S2000 interior does.

Pedal placement and knee room is great for my height, but again, being reclined means less upward travel during pedal operation. In the Miata, the key fob hits my right knee. This doesn't seem to be an issue in the Solstice.

In terms of headroom and visibility, there isn't much to say. The top didn't hit my head so that's all I need. The laid back windsheild is more raked than a Miata, and the closeness to the header is apparent. This may bother some. Also, with it back so far, seeing over the header to view traffic signals may be hard for shorter drivers. View out and to the rear was better than expected.

Hey Firebird, they wouldn't let you sit in it? They did me.

Tony
 
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