NEW FOR 2008:

– Curtain airbags, XM Satellite Radio, tire pressure monitoring system, StabiliTrak stability control and OnStar standard on GT models
– Driver’s Package available on SE models
– No-charge sunroof available on GT models and SE with Driver’s Package
– Exterior colours: Midnight Blue Metallic, Nitrous Blue Metallic and Dark Slate Metallic

For 2008, the Pontiac G5 receives several updates, most of them to the GT model. The most significant upgrade is standard curtain airbags on GT models that were optional in 2007; they can also be added to other models as an option. A sibling to the Chevrolet Cobalt, the G5 was previously exclusive to Canada, when it was named the Pursuit, but Canadians have a choice of sedan or coupe, while American buyers can only get the two-door coupe.

The G5 is available as the Base and SE models, with 2.2-litre four-cylinder Ecotec engine, and as the GT, with 2.4-litre four-cylinder Ecotec. Both engines come with a five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission.

Features on the Base include 15-inch steel wheels, manual remote mirrors, rear deck lid spoiler, variable intermittent wipers, driver information centre, tilt wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, CD stereo and automatic headlamps.

The SE adds air conditioning, power mirrors, cruise control, floor mats, power windows, CD/MP3 stereo and power locks with keyless entry.

The GT adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, sport suspension, StabiliTrak, sport fascias, fog lamps, cargo net, tire pressure monitoring system, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, premium speaker system, XM Satellite Radio, and OnStar.

Like the Cobalt, the G5 is strong value in a compact footprint, with styling that, to many eyes, is more attractive than its Chevrolet sibling. There’s no supercharged model, surprising in that Pontiac has traditionally been the "sporty" brand, but the 2.4-litre engine works well here, especially when paired with the five-speed manual transmission. The Base model is basic transportation at a low price, but it can be optioned with such items as curtain airbags, ABS and air conditioning, and the SE and GT have available leather seating and sunroof.

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