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Hey y'all,
I already posted this in the Solstice Forum (under my other nom de plume), but I know y'alls will be equally interested.
Aug 27th Toronto Star Test Drive review

Jim Kenzie (arguably the best car reviewer in North America) was one of the first to test drive the new Solstice. Check out today's Toronto Star Wheels section (it takes up the entire front page of the section plus a few part pages further into the section);
Here's the URL (but you may need logon privledges, so I'll post article highlights and low lights below):

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Co...ol=969048871196

O.K., now for the Good, the bad and the not-so-bad excerpts:
Styling:
"Solstice also reminds me a little of the lovely BMW Z8 roadster, especially from the rear three-quarter view. It is an absolute traffic-stopper everywhere it goes. "The best lines I've ever seen on a GM car!" said one admiring onlooker."

Power:
" Output here is 177 horsepower at 6600 r.p.m. — and GM points out not too strenuously that it is using the new Society of Automotive Engineers procedure for reporting horsepower, meaning these are real horses, as opposed to the inflated numbers some manufacturers continue to use. Peak torque is 166 lb.-ft. at 4800 r.p.m., with 90 per cent of that value being available from 2400 to 5600 r.p.m. These are considerably higher numbers than the new Miata (170 hp and 140 lb.-ft.) but Solstice has some extra 165 kg to lug around. With a power-to-weight ratio similar to Miata, we expected a zero-to-100 km/h acceleration time in the low seven-second range. But an impromptu hand-held sprint yielded numbers in the low 10-second range. Then again, we were at altitude with two adults in the car, but subjectively it just doesn't feel like a seven-second car".


Interior Room:
"The interior is roomy by two-seat sports car standards — taller drivers shouldn't have much trouble fitting in. The high belt line and bulbous hood again give the impression that the car is larger than it really is; shorter drivers might get that "too deep a bathtub" feeling, as opposed to Miata, which was engineered to feel small and nimble".

Seats:
"Deeply-contoured bucket seats are designed to provide good support in brisk cornering."


Trunk Space:
"The press information bravely says that there are 107.6 litres (3.8 cubic feet) of storage space with the top up. That assumes you're carrying loose sand or water; a huge hump in the middle of the trunk, presumably covering the fuel tank and rear suspension, means nothing much bigger than a small sports bag is going to fit in there. I had to remove half the stuff from my small roller-equipped carry-on bag to get it in there. Golf clubs? Only if you saw them into tiny little pieces. The press info also conveniently forgets to mention how much space there is with the top down. As in approximately, none. This drastically diminishes Solstice's utility as a real world sports car, and reduces it to a sunny Sunday afternoon play toy. It's a textbook case of style over substance."

Summary:
Driving the Solstice is a study in contrasts. I can't remember a car that I wanted to love more than this one. But there are ups and there are downs. The steering is lovely: direct, linear, light yet full of feel. On the twisty roads of the B.C. interior, the handling feels flat, nimble and secure; a full analysis will have to await the inevitable racetrack opportunity. Ride quality is also first-rate: firm but well-composed. So, full marks to the chassis chaps"

"The Ecotec engine has always been a torquey little number, but the car cries out for a six-speed manual. Despite claims that the ratios are closely spaced for linear acceleration, the engine falls into a huge trough between fourth and fifth gears, and struggles to climb its way out. And despite various vibration-reduction techniques like the balance shafts and direct-mounted ancillaries such as the alternator, the Ecotec will never be the poster child for refinement. It sounds coarse when revved hard, which is exactly what you need to do to overcome the gaps in the transmission, not at all like the sweet revving powerplant of the Miata. The transmission itself is decent, with short, crisp throws."
 

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The golfers are going to ruin this car with there persistant whining of the small trunk. Who cares, the trunk should not make the car.
 

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Running out to get my Star now. I should also talk with my next door neighbour as she writes for the Globe and she went out to drive the Solstice as well.
 

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With a power-to-weight ratio similar to Miata, we expected a zero-to-100 km/h acceleration time in the low seven-second range. But an impromptu hand-held sprint yielded numbers in the low 10-second range. Then again, we were at altitude with two adults in the car, but subjectively it just doesn't feel like a seven-second car".
With a brand new motor and two fuller sized adults it may very well be a 10-second car. ECOTEC motors are notoriously tight the first 3-4000 miles.
 

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GMinTheDriveway said:
With a brand new motor and two fuller sized adults it may very well be a 10-second car. ECOTEC motors are notoriously tight the first 3-4000 miles.

didnt know that... i guess thats good news for my new cobalt ss.
 

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Lack of Trunk Space

Nothing noted that I didn't expect. I guess I will carry my golf clubs in the passenger seat. This will obviously not be the primary car in the family.
 

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I reviewed the article. In a race between Solstice and Miata, he puts Solstice in second place almost all the way around.

I agree that trunk space shouldn't be your primary concern, but, from what I am gathering it is much less trunk and much more roof storage. I did however see a pic on this site with what I assume was a small golf bag in the roof storage (roof up of course).

I'm struggling. I like the '05 Miata but the '07 Sky is so sexy. I just have to see the car for myself. Hopefully we can all see more of the Sky SOON!
 

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who cares about a trunk

as I am a loser and wont be having any riders. :cool: I don't need a trunk. I've got the front seat.
 

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One the best honest evaluations I have read to date. After getting my very own Solstice these remarks are on the money. The car is stunningly beautiful and comfortable. Once the driveline matures to match it's looks, and it will, the car will be the best all-around American roadster.

The engine is not as smooth as a Honda/Acura 4 cylinder, nor does it rev as easy. I like the feel of the shifter and once the power is boosted into the mid 200's a 6-speed transmission will offer better performance driving. The wings on the top are growing on me and make the car unique to others; people will either love them or hate them. The front bumper needs a redesign, IMO. The design is big and needs some reworking.

Regardless of what others may think, I do love this car and have more passion for them any other I car I have own. Because of this passion I want to get it refined to perfection!
 

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I will spend a lot of time driving the car by my self but when my wife and I take a trip it would be nice to have the roof down and put a couple of bags in roof storage.

For those who don't think it is a big deal, it is. The design department sliped up. They had 15 years of Miata history to work with and they don't seem to have learned anything from it. I am still waiting to see the Solstice for myself though. The article said that you couldn't fit golf clubs in it and I saw a picture with what looked to be a small bag fitting in ok with the roof up.

Form and Function must go together. :banghead:
 

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The trunk, or lack there of will be a vacation show stopper for most couples. You might want to view the Sky as not a regular car, but a recreation vehicle much like a big touring motorcycle. As an active member in the HSTA (Honda Sport Touring Association, www.ridehsta.com) when we have events many miles away we load up our bikes for the trip the best way possible. Some of our Honda Gold Wing members use a tow behind trailer that matches the bike. I can imagine that some company (maybe Pontiac badged) will create a tow behind matching trailer for those long weekend getaways. Once you arrive, undo it and have fun touring the area.
 

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Delnari said:
The trunk, or lack there of will be a vacation show stopper for most couples. You might want to view the Sky as not a regular car, but a recreation vehicle much like a big touring motorcycle. As an active member in the HSTA (Honda Sport Touring Association, www.ridehsta.com) when we have events many miles away we load up our bikes for the trip the best way possible. Some of our Honda Gold Wing members use a tow behind trailer that matches the bike. I can imagine that some company (maybe Pontiac badged) will create a tow behind matching trailer for those long weekend getaways. Once you arrive, undo it and have fun touring the area.
Very Prowleresqe.....
 

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Sky4christ said:
as I am a loser and wont be having any riders. :cool: I don't need a trunk. I've got the front seat.
Thank You.... you've said it all!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Sky4christ said:
as I am a loser and wont be having any riders. :cool: I don't need a trunk. I've got the front seat.
I guess that's the way I felt prior to my first roadster - who cares about function as long as it looks this hot..... :D
But when I analyse my priorities, I find that during the spring, summer & fall we're out in the roadster virtually every day - even if it's only to do some shopping or to the golf course or whatever. About 25% of the time we have stuff to carry (e.g. golf clubs, groceries, 5 bags of soil from the garden center, etc, etc) - and all that with the top down.
Little or no trunk space means giving up the use of a roadster for many of my current activities I use my roadster for, and that wouldn't make sense for me.
So, as much as I'd love to move into the Sky as my next ride, the liklihood appears increasingly slim (and Slim may have already left the building).
But for me that's no sweat as I love my Z4 and it does have the utility in want and need & I'll just extend the warranty on my Z4 from 4 to 7 years.
I'll still test the Sky and Sky Redline when they come outut , but I think the die is cast.
No doubt that the Sky will be a huge hit and that guys like me are in the minority. I'll always be a fan of the design - it's definitely a 10 out of 10.
 

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I'm young, single, and have no 'baby mamas' so I'll be cool with little or no trunk... All I need is an over night bag to fit in there and I'm good! This will be my first roadster.. Actually my first NEW car so I'm excited about that alone...

I just can't picture that minor 'flaw' (if you see it that way) causing me to pump the brakes on this purchase
 

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DuSpinnst said:
The golfers are going to ruin this car with there persistant whining of the small trunk. Who cares, the trunk should not make the car.
Relax, they can get a full set of clubs in the trunk. Have seen it personally, and if you use the soft-side Callaway travel bag, you can fit two full sets of clubs with the top down.

It won't fit a carry-on, though. That's because anything thicker than about 8.5" won't fit down into the area between the decklid hinge area and the edge of the tank. See pic. From the tank to the rear wall along the floor of the trunk is about 13". The distance between the rear of the tank and the seal of the trunk is only about 7", BUT it is 12" tall when the decklid is closed - so if you have something that is 44"X7"X12" hi, you can get it in the trunk and rear enough in the trunk to get it in with the top down.

Of course, why would anyone like an automotive writer think about carrying around a tape measure to take such measurements :rolleyes:? 'Cause the trunk size of the Solstice is a big surprise, right? I mean, it's not like we've ever discussed it or it even occurred to us either here or at Solsticeforum, right?

On a separate note:

Delnari, 10 second 0-100 kph? You've driven it, right? I understand what you are saying about the engine not being that great, but we ALL know the car is faster than that (especially those of us that have had a chance to drive it).
 

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Besides, the 0-60 is already coming in 7.2-7.4 at C&D and R&T. My point in criticizing Jim's article is that if you're gonna be critical, then at least make your criticism FACTUAL. IOW: Bring IT!

-You CAN fit golf clubs in the trunk. Proven. Got the Pics. "Sawing into pieces" is misleading at best, incorrect at worst.
-0-100 kph is under 8 seconds. At least two other mags have tested solstices and disproved the assessment. My own and my wife's own butt disproved this assessment weeks ago.

Knocking the Miata for having too many cupholders seems to be a bit "graspy".

We know that trunk space is kinda wonky, the engine could be more polished (I've always thought the ecotec seemed kinda like a tractor engine, but that's me).

Bathtub feel may be desired for some folks, who feel too exposed in the NB Miata. The NC beltline is higher, and approaces the S2000 for "bathtub" feel. If McKenzie didn't like it, great, but it can neither be counted as a plus or minus, nor used as such, it can only be used as a notation, since it comes to "personal preference".
 

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The 0-100 kpm (0-62 mph) would be in the 9 second range with an off idle start and under 5k rpm shifts. This is what I suspect the tester did to get these times. The engine shifts better under 5K through the first 3 gears.

I have done 5k rpm clutch drops and redline 1st to 2nd shift, no stopwatch in hand but my experience would tell me that low 7's or high 6's for the 0-60 mph times.
 

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kappaman said:
Besides, the 0-60 is already coming in 7.2-7.4 at C&D and R&T. My point in criticizing Jim's article is that if you're gonna be critical, then at least make your criticism FACTUAL. IOW: Bring IT!

-You CAN fit golf clubs in the trunk. Proven. Got the Pics. "Sawing into pieces" is misleading at best, incorrect at worst.
-0-100 kph is under 8 seconds. At least two other mags have tested solstices and disproved the assessment. My own and my wife's own butt disproved this assessment weeks ago.

Knocking the Miata for having too many cupholders seems to be a bit "graspy".

We know that trunk space is kinda wonky, the engine could be more polished (I've always thought the ecotec seemed kinda like a tractor engine, but that's me).

Bathtub feel may be desired for some folks, who feel too exposed in the NB Miata. The NC beltline is higher, and approaces the S2000 for "bathtub" feel. If McKenzie didn't like it, great, but it can neither be counted as a plus or minus, nor used as such, it can only be used as a notation, since it comes to "personal preference".
While talking with the a GM engineer he referred to the trunk layout as a "Mayan Temple" design. Referring to the shape of the gas tank in the trunk. Maybe come next Solar Eclipse we all raise are deck lids and pray to the great GM gods for it's creation. :lol:
 
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