2007 Pontiac Wave SE sedan
2007 Pontiac Wave SE sedan. Click image to enlarge

Related articles on Autos
Test Drive: 2007 Pontiac Wave
Buyer’s Guide: 2005 Pontiac Wave
Buyer’s Guide: 2006 Pontiac Wave
Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Pontiac Wave
Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Pontiac Wave
Buyer’s Guide: 2009 Pontiac Wave

Manufacturer’s web site
General Motors Canada

Join Autos’s Facebook group
Follow Autos on Twitter

By Chris Chase

Korean brand Daewoo hasn’t sold cars under its own banner in North America since 2002, when the company went out of business on this continent after just four years of sales. It would make its return in 2004 under the ownership of General Motors and Suzuki (GM-DAT), which began selling a number of “rebadged” Daewoo models in the hopes of attracting import shoppers looking for a good deal.

One of those “good deal” cars was the Pontiac Wave, a subcompact based on the Daewoo Kalos introduced as a Canada-only model in 2005, a year later than the near-twin Chevrolet Aveo. Sold as a four-door hatchback (Wave5) or sedan, the Wave was powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine making 103 horsepower; the standard transmission choice was a five-speed manual, and a four-speed automatic was the option.

In 2007, sedan versions of the Aveo and Wave got new styling and a tweaked suspension, plus some changes to the standard features and options lists. Hatchback models wouldn’t get the updated styling until 2009, when both sedans and hatches also got a new, more efficient engine and were renamed the G3 Wave.

2007 Pontiac Wave SE sedan
2007 Pontiac Wave SE sedan. Click image to enlarge

The G3 Wave was discontinued, along with the rest of the Pontiac line, after the 2009 model year, though a few 2010 models did make it out of showrooms.

Fuel consumption, while decent in the grand scheme, was a letdown compared to other small cars. The 2005 Wave’s ratings of 8.8/6.1 L/100 km (city/highway, with manual transmission) were more on par with many compact cars, rather than other subcompacts; ratings for cars with the optional automatic transmission were even a bit higher. It wasn’t until 2009, with the more efficient motor, that ratings moved closer (though still not close enough) to average for the class, at 7.9/5.7 with the manual transmission and 8.2/5.8 with the automatic.

Consumer Reports calls the Wave’s reliability so far “much worse than average,” citing a number of trouble spots and naming the car to its “worst of the worst” list of used vehicles to avoid.

2007 Pontiac Wave SE sedan
2007 Pontiac Wave SE sedan
2007 Pontiac Wave SE sedan. Click image to enlarge

Two problems I was able to find evidence of online had to do with the older 1.6-litre engine’s valve-train. One was for valves that don’t “seat” properly, meaning that they don’t close completely, which prevents the engine from generating the compression it needs to run properly. This was covered, at least in the U.S., by a technical service bulletin issued by GM. Read about this issue in a thread at Topix.com.

Next up, is the issue of frequent timing belt failures, in some cases, before the manufacturer’s recommended replacement interval of 60,000 miles (about 96,000 km).

This Topix.com thread about hard-to-start Aveos could be linked to Consumer Reports’ assertion that fuel system troubles plague these cars regardless of model year.

Here’s a thread about poor performance in cold weather. It appears that either the older 1.6-litre engine’s throttle body, or the electronic engine control module – or both – dislike working in sub-zero temperatures. Three of the four recalls that apply to the first-generation Aveo and its clones deal with throttle body icing in cold weather.

Connect with Autos.ca