For 2007, the Pontiac Pursuit is renamed the G5. Based on the Chevrolet Cobalt, the Pursuit was previously available only in Canada; the new name marks the model’s expansion into the American market. Canadians still have an exclusive, though: while the G5 is strictly a coupe in the U.S., Canadians can also get a sedan version, as in 2006.

The G5 is available as a base model or SE, with a 2.2-litre Ecotec inline four-cylinder, or as the GT, with 2.4-litre inline four. Both use a five-speed manual that can be optioned to a four-speed automatic, and all three lines are available in coupe or sedan configuration. Unlike the Cobalt, a supercharged version is not available.

The base G5 includes 15-inch steel wheels, power mirrors, deck lid spoiler, tilt wheel, disc/drum brakes, 60/40 folding rear seats and CD player with four speakers. Air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, cruise control and power locks are among the available options.

The SE adds 16-inch aluminum wheels, anti-lock brakes, fog lights, body-coloured mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control, floor mats, leather-wrapped wheel with integrated audio controls, power windows and locks with keyless entry, and polished exhaust tip.

The GT adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, lower rocker mouldings, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, sport suspension, and CD/MP3 player with seven speakers and integrated subwoofer.

Like the Cobalt, the G5 offers good value, a nice size, and to many eyes, a more attractive appearance than its Chevrolet sibling. It’s surprising that there’s no supercharged model, given that Pontiac has traditionally been considered the “sportier” brand, but the torquey little 2.4-litre does a great job here, especially when paired with the five-speed gearbox. This is a viable contender in a crowded segment, and should be shopped against the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla; it just might surprise you.

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