A hard-hat convertible

<p>Everyone loves convertibles. But they’re sort of backward, considering cars were originally designed to keep us sheltered from the elements.</p>

 

Pontiac’s G6 is way cool for summer


 

 

As a convertible, the G6 looks great. Its best angle is probably the rear three-quarter view, looking at the tail lights, rear deck and interior.

 




Everyone loves convertibles.





But they’re sort of backward, considering cars were originally designed to keep us sheltered from the elements.





Convertible tops haven’t evolved much since the turn of the century, either — usually comprised of cloth stretched over a flimsy metal frame. Convertibles are always a compromise, but the Pontiac G6 GT convertible makes very few concessions over a traditional coupe. Let’s start from the top down.





As a convertible, the G6 looks great. Its best angle is probably the rear three-quarter view, looking at the tail lights, rear deck and interior. That said, the front is too similar to the G6 coupe and sedan.





Getting into the rear seat area is simple, requiring only a lever to tilt the front seats forward. Once back there, you ain’t moving — Pontiac has fitted two rear bucket seats that are well-bolstered. Fine for the feeling of sportiness, sure, but the car is strictly a 2+2 carrier.





Up front, controls are easy-to-use, but some digital displays are affected by loads of sunlight. The stereo is great for West Hill or Wasaga Beach, with good bass and clarity. A small disclaimer: Bloc Party sounds great, but pop in Akon and your results may vary.





There is evidence in pop culture that Pontiac is getting its mojo back, too — a G6 GTP coupe stars alongside the upcoming G8 sedan in 50 Cent’s music video for Amusement Park. Since the convertible is a close cousin of the GTP coupe, it’s safe to say a lot of the coupe’s coolness rubs off on other Pontiacs.





The biggest problem is getting from coupe to convertible in the G6. Pontiac has fitted a rocker switch to the fully automatic folding hardtop, making operation simple, with one catch — it’s slow. In our testing, we saw an average of 34 seconds from top up to top down.





The biggest problem is getting from coupe to convertible in the G6. The catch? It’s slow.





Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the difference between looking cool and holding up traffic when a light turns green. For the record, its closest competitors complete the operation in around 20 to 25 seconds.





Driving the G6 is great —lots of power, good handling and a nice turning circle. It’s reasonably quick in a straight line, but is far more suited to cruising than corner-carving.





With the top down, though, some road surfaces bring out a little cowl shake (when the body of the car and the windshield frame seem to move independently of each other). Not a big deal most of the time, but it shows some extra stiffening is needed.





The ultimate selling point? When winter hits, folding the metal roof up turns the car into a cozy coupe, perfect for waiting out the bad weather. No cloth top can boast that kind of weather protection.





For the price, it makes the G6 convertible a compelling choice.















Pontiac G6 GT convertible


Type: Mid-size 4-passenger hardtop convertible FWD



Price: $35,960



Engine: 3.0-litre V6 DOHC



Horsepower: 224 @ 4800 rpm



Torque (lb-ft): 217 @ 4800 rpm



Highlights: Nice looks, good stereo, practical, two cars in one, competitive price.





 
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