Here’s our latest Car Blog Showdown. This week, in tribute to the expected end of the Pontiac marque, tgriffith and jgoods were each invited to tell us about what they believe to be Pontiac’s best-ever vehicle. Which is your favorite?
Before we get to our cars, jgoods wanted to share a personal Pontiac story – here goes:
Fieros have always had an amazingly bad rap—from engine fires (that were rare) to unsafe construction to lack of power. Well, I admit to the latter. My 1986 Fiero SE, like the one pictured here, was silver and slow, and it had the 2.3-liter “Iron Duke” four-cylinder. It had no fires, and it was basically a marvelous car to hotrod and enjoy for very little money. I bought it used in 2002 for less than $2,000 and finally gave it to my younger son, who had just gotten his driver’s license. Two days later he rear-ended a Volvo in the school parking lot while inserting a CD. Naturally, we have not spoken since.
The Fiero had a plastic body over a very strong I-beam structure, a mid-engine design that got even better when they added the V6 in 1985, and decent handling, which could be easily improved. Mileage ranged from 27-40 mpg. The story is well known about Pontiac’s killing the car just when it got good, and unfortunately, this typifies the kinds of marketing decisions GM is famous for.
Now here’s our showdown:
jgoods’ 5 reasons why the 1986-88 Fiero is the best Pontiac ever made:
* Where are you going to get a well-designed, easily hotrodded, safe, and sporty midengine car for this kind of money?
* The Fiero’s styling still holds up, both in SE and GT (long snout) versions.
* Fieros are still plentiful in the used-car market, many in good condition.
* The Fiero is extremely safe, with plastic body panels over a central I-beam frame, a wide stance, and no rusting.
* Drop in a small-block V8 or a 2.3-liter Quad 4 and watch what happens.
tgriffith’s 3 reasons why the 1986-1988 Fiero isn’t the best Pontiac ever made
* The Fiero was just Pontiac’s attempt to compete with the superb Toyota MR2.
* Some CarGurus user reviews say the Fiero drives like a go-cart.
* If you have a silver one, you’ll get it confused all day long with the “Back to the Future” DeLorean.
tgriffith’s 5 reasons why the 2009 Pontiac G8 is the best Pontiac ever made:
* The G8 GXP is the most powerful Pontiac ever, with a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 13 flat at 108 miles per hour.
* The G8 GXP has the rumbling exhaust and torquey response of 1960s muscle cars combined with the precise handling and responsive ride of modern performance cars.
* The quality of the G8’s interior challenges the likes of Audi.
* The hood scoops and low front fascia make the GXP look as good as it drives.
* The team at Autoblog tried to push the GXP hard enough to expose weaknesses, but couldn’t find any.
jgoods’ 3 reasons why the 2009 G8 GXP isn’t the best Pontiac ever made:
* The G8 has a great engine, but no manual transmission available!
* The G8 still looks like a Pontiac, particularly the front end.
* When GM goes bust, what’s going to happen to your G8 for parts, service, and warranty?
Which do you think was the best vehicle ever made by Pontiac? Why?