NEW FOR 2009:

– All-new 1.6-lite Ecotec engine with variable valve timing and enhanced transmissions; up to 10 per cent improved fuel economy
– New exterior and interior styling on hatchback
– GM Oil Life monitoring system, variable intermittent wipers, new 15-inch alloy wheels, enhanced ergonomic controls and features
– OnStar standard on SE models
– Available XM satellite radio
– Exterior colours: Black Granite Metallic, Blue Moon and Tahiti Green added

For 2009, the Pontiac G3 Wave undergoes several changes, including an enhanced 1.6-litre engine and improved transmissions. The hatchback model also undergoes some styling changes. The new G3 addition to the name is in keeping with the Canada-only Wave’s imminent introduction into the U.S. market, where it will be in line with the designations on other Pontiac models.

A sister vehicle to the Chevrolet Aveo and Suzuki Swift+, the G3 Wave is sold as a four-door sedan or four-door hatchback (which the company calls a five-door), with 1.6-litre inline four-cylinder engine and five-speed standard transmission or optional four-speed automatic. Trim lines are Base and SE.

Features on the Base model include 14-inch steel wheels, manual remote mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, floor mats, tilt wheel, smoker’s package, cloth bucket seats, manual driver’s height adjuster, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and CD/MP3 stereo. The Base hatchback also includes fog lamps and a rear washer/wiper.

The SE adds air conditioning, heated power mirrors, cruise control, power locks with keyless entry, power windows, and OnStar.

The Base model can be optioned with air conditioning and OnStar, and both trim lines can be optioned with 15-inch alloy wheels, sunroof, spoiler, XM satellite radio, anti-lock brakes and front seat-side airbags. A special Podium Edition Package for the SE adds alloy wheels, spoiler, premium sound system, satellite radio, leather-wrapped wheel, and iPod cable.

Built by a GM subsidiary in South Korea, the G3 Wave competes in a crowded segment and should be cross-shopped against such models as its Aveo and Swift+ siblings, the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent. Its improved engine is peppy in this small package and steering is more responsive than expected. Its competitive price and long powertrain warranty also makes it a viable contender in the marketplace. For a limited time, a special cash-only offer brings the price of all models down to $10,470.

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