An all-new model in 2006, the Pontiac Torrent picks up a considerable number of features for 2007. On the safety side, the dual-stage front airbags include a Passenger Sensing System; curtain airbags include rollover detection; and four-wheel disc brakes, tire pressure monitoring system and StabiliTrak stability control are now standard.

Inside, there are new entertainment systems, including a six-disc CD/MP3 player, DVD entertainment system, and navigation system; the Driver Information Centre includes 20 personalization and vehicle information features; the Preferred Package includes a remote vehicle starter and auto-dimming rearview mirror; and there’s a PASS-Key III theft-deterrent system. Outside, there are two new wheel styles, a restyled rear spoiler, and new Granite Gray Metallic, Sonoma Red and Liquid Silver Metallic exterior colours.

Sharing its platform with the Chevrolet Equinox and Saturn Vue, the Torrent uses a 3.4-litre V6 with five-speed automatic transmission, and is available in front- or all-wheel drive, which detects wheel spin and transfers torque to the rear wheels when necessary. Trim levels are the base Torrent and Torrent Sport, both available in FWD or AWD; the Sport model features a sport suspension package with sport-tuned electric power steering and shocks.

The base model includes air conditioning, 16-inch aluminum wheels, fog lights, power mirrors, roof rack side rails, variable intermittent wipers, rear intermittent washer/wiper, tilt wheel, power windows, 60/40 folding and sliding rear seat and CD player. Anti-lock brakes with traction control are optional on the base FWD model, but are included as standard equipment on AWD models.

The Sport package adds deep-tinted glass, tubular aluminum roof rack with crossbars, cargo net, cruise control, leather-wrapped wheel, six-way power driver’s seat, ABS with traction control, and CD/MP3 player.

The Torrent rides and handles like a big car, with speed-sensitive steering and four-link independent rear suspension. The rear multi-position seat slides ahead or back, to maximize legroom or cargo space, and the fold-flat passenger seat allows for extra-long cargo. The rear cargo area can be optioned with a storage system that puts handy storage bins in the floor and wheel wells. It’s the most expensive of the three GM midsize SUVs, but it also has a lot of standard features; compare it to the Equinox and Vue, and also to the minivans Chevrolet Uplander, Buick Terraza and Pontiac Montana SV6.

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