If you base your judgment on their looks, you will say that the Saturn Sky and the Pontiac Solstice are very different. However, if you look underneath their exterior, you will be surprised how similar they are to each other. Saturn Sky vs. Pontiac Solstice – how do they compare?
The Pontiac Solstice looks muscular and curvaceous. But the Saturn Sky looks edgy and razor-sharp. The Solstice can be a convertible or Targa-style coupe, and the Sky is a roadster.
Both vehicles are made by General Motors and used the Kappa automobile platform. Both were launched in the same year, in 2006.
The Sky and the Solstice may look very different from each other. But when you look underneath their skins, you will see that they have a lot of similarities. They are both 2-seaters and are sports cars. But these are not the only things that they share.
Read on to learn more about the similarities and dissimilarities of the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice.
Saturn Sky vs. Pontiac Solstice
The Pontiac Solstice looks muscular and curvaceous in terms of appearance, while the Saturn Sky looks edgy and razor-sharp. The Solstice can be a convertible or Targa-style coupe, and the Sky is a roadster.
General Motors both crafted the vehicles and used the Kappa automobile platform. Both were launched in the same year, in 2006.
The Saturn Sky was produced by the Saturn Corporation, a subsidiary of General Motors. It is a two-seater roadster that was first introduced in the first quarter of 2006 and launched as a 2007 model. It was built using the Kappa automobile platform.
The Pontiac Solstice was produced by Pontiac, another automobile company owned and operated by General Motors. It was built on the Kappa automobile platform and launched in 2006. GM produced only one generation of this nameplate.
The Saturn Sky is a roadster. It offered a decent amount of bang for the buck. This roadster has an exterior styling that can easily catch anyone’s attention. In its turbocharged version, this car can generate tremendous speeds.
Meanwhile, the Pontiac Solstice comes either as a Targa-style coupe or a two-seater convertible. GM introduced it at the North American International Auto Show in 2004. Its roadster version came into production in mid-2005 at Wilmington, Delaware, for the model year 2006.
The design and production of both the Saturn Sky and the Pontiac Solstice were influenced by GM’s desire to compete with other roaders such as the Mazda MX-5. However, the production of these two sports cars was discontinued partly because of GM’s cost-cutting moves.
What Is the Saturn Sky?
The Saturn Sky is the fraternal twin of the Pontiac Solstice. It was introduced to car consumers shortly after the Solstice was launched in all the auto show circuits in 2006. The Sky version was launched as a roadster.
But it is basically the same as the Pontiac Solstice with some slight differences. It has a slightly different interior and different front and rear fascia.
There are two other car variants that the Sky shared its looks under the GM corporate umbrella. One is the Opel GT made in Europe, and the other is the Daewoo G2 X which was dubbed the-only-one-in Korea.
Unfortunately, the production of the Saturn Sky was discontinued by GM. The carmaker attempted to save the car by introducing some design innovations and by increasing its speed. But several factors contributed to its demise, causing the cancellation of the car and the whole brand in 2009.
What Is the Pontiac Solstice?
The Pontiac Solstice was very well received in 2002. The car was a two-seater convertible with small exterior dimensions, a rear-wheel drive, and a four-cylinder engine. Its interior also looked great. On paper, the whole package seemed to be very appealing.
The production car was unveiled in 2004. It was built on the new Kappa automobile platform. It was an all-new car platform that relied heavily on borrowed parts from other GM vehicles to control production costs.
The differential and automatic transmissions were borrowed from the Cadillac CTS. Other car parts came from the Cobalt/G5, the Cadillac XTS, the Chevy Colorado, and the Hummer H3.
The side view mirrors came from the Fiat Barchetta, while the manufacturers borrowed the seat frames from the Opel Corsa, and the backup lights came from the GMC Envoy.
Due to the changing car market, brutal restructuring, and declining sales, GM was forced to stop all Pontiac car production. The carmaker has to make the necessary decision to rescue the company from bankruptcy. Pontiac was one of the casualties.
Similarities Between the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky
GM developed the two sports cars, the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice, to answer other roadsters such as the Mazda MX-5. On the outside, these two cars look different from each other. But inside, they share a lot of things.
1. They Have the Same Engine
The Solstice and the Sky are powered by a 2.4-liter, 173 horsepower LE5 variant of the GM Ecotec engine. This engine is the same engine that powers the Cobalt and other GM vehicles at that time. This engine is not known for its capability of powering a sports car.
2. They Have the Same Transmission
Both Solstice and Sky have the same transmission. It was either a five-speed automatic or a five-speed manual Aisin transmission. The manual transmission was borrowed from the Chevy Colorado. This transmission is not known for its capacity to be a transmission for sports cars.
3. They Have the Same Differential
Both sports cars use the same standard differential. There is an option to get a limited-slip differential or part of the “Club Sport” package of Pontiac. This differential was borrowed from the Cadillac CTS.
It transmitted the sporting prowess to the otherwise standard capacities of the 2.4-liter engines and the manual transmissions that the Sky and the Solstice were built with.
In doing these cost-cutting measures, GM could bring down the production costs of these two sports cars. GM did it because the market for two-seater sports convertibles was and still is limited. It has to sell the Sky and the Solstice at affordable prices.
4. Other Similarities Between the Sky and the Solstice
The Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice are also similar in the following components:
- Rear-wheel drive
- 2 seats
- Same chassis
- Air conditioning
- Power windows
- Locks on mirrors and doors
- Optional remote entry, four-wheel ABS, sound deadening, OnStar vehicle security system, satellite radio, upgraded audio, upgraded chrome wheels, leather seats.
The Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky Are Special Cars
The Pontiac Solstice and the Saturn Sky are not your ordinary standard cars. They are considered special cars. Based on GM production records, the carmaker has only produced 1,200 Solstice Coupes units, 64,000 Pontiac Solstices units, and 34,000 Saturn Sky cars.
Their values will not likely increase in the future since the manufacturers produced enough of them.
Early versions of convertibles like a 2009 GXP coupe usually have approximate book values ranging from $9,500 to over $17,000. However, the majority of the asking prices are way above these figures.
For instance, there are ads for such cars asking prices that range from $15,000 to $18,000. Be prepared to add a little more to your budget if you think of buying this type of car.
Choosing Between the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky
There’s not much difference between the Sky and the Solstice in terms of their engine, suspension, drive trains, and chassis. The design and comfort of their interiors are only slightly different from each other as well.
Therefore, if you are in the market for either the Saturn Sky or Pontiac Solstice, you will need to look at their other features, such as their styles. Your style preference will be the main factor that will swing your decision.
When it comes to style, the Saturn Sky looks sharper and sleeker. Meanwhile, the Pontiac Solstice offers a more refined look with its rounded and smoother body.
Saturn Sky or Pontiac Solstice – Which to Choose?
There are enough of these sports cars, so you can afford to be picky. If you are after performance and power, you can consider the Redline and the GXP models. But if you want just to put some mile on the car, look for the G80 LSD or the Premium Package.
If you are looking for the rare versions, search for the Solstice coupe models. But expect to really pay that much higher than the convertible models. The amount will be justifiable if you will use it for showing off. But if you will only use it for your commute, go for the standard convertibles.
Base Models Vs Upgraded Models
The base models of Sky and Solstice can give enough performance and power for the typical car owner. But if you are a speed buff, go for the sportier versions like the Pontiac Solstice GXP or the Saturn Sky Redline.
These two vehicles are sports-tuned and offer more power and greater handling. With a turbocharged and intercooled 2.0 LNF Ecotec engine, the Redline and the GXP can bring up 260 horsepower with 260 lb.-ft. of torque.
The GXP and the Redline provide a more controlled ride with their upgraded and stiffer suspension package. Their turbocharged engine also offers a 3.73:1 ratio, together with the LSD as standard equipment.
In addition to these performance and power upgrades, the Redline and the GXP offer a suite of aesthetic and cosmetic enhancements to distinguish them from the base models. They have more aggressive lip spoilers, headlights, front grilles, and rear bumpers with dual exhaust tips.
GM has also upgraded the interiors. These include a redesigned cluster and a raised limit in the speedometer. There are some trims added to the seat and an updated badging in the entire vehicle.
Pontiac Solstice vs. Saturn Sky – What to Look For?
If you have shortlisted your search for a Pontiac Solstice or Saturn Sky, here are some additional things that you should look for before you make the decision:
1. Check the Shocks
At relatively low miles, the Sky and the Solstice commonly develop shock leaks. If you can get the vehicle to a lift, have the wheels removed, and check the shock assemblies for signs of fluid leak residues.
The car’s ride quality and vehicle handling will be negatively impacted by leaking shock absorbers.
2. Check the Differential Axle
Another common problem of these car models is the leaking differential axle. This problem could occur at any mileage. If not corrected in due time, the wear on the differential internals will increase. You should correct this problem right away.
3. Check the Occupancy Sensor
A faulty occupancy sensor on the passenger side seat is another common problem of the Solstice and the Sky. A faulty SRS light will continuously light up and cause issues with the passenger side’s dashboard airbag.
The electrical wiring harness and the sensor are deeply embedded inside the vehicle and are very difficult to track down.
4. Check the Interior Plastic Parts
Some interior parts of these vehicles are made of plastic, such as the cup holders, the center console, and armrests. Over time, these plastic parts become brittle. They can crack with a little pressure. This problem is common to these cars.
5. Check the Alignment of the Tulip Panel
The tulip panel located directly behind the seats can be misaligned due to the complex soft top operation. If it is misaligned, the silver panel could crack. Cycle through the top functions several times to ensure that the mechanism is still running smoothly.
6. Check the Body for Damages
The Sky and the Solstice’s under chassis are much closer to the ground than regular cars. Over time, they get dents and bumps. Check the front bumper and lip for some cosmetic damage that may not be visible right away.
The Saturn Sky’s fender panel is made of fiberglass, while that of the Pontiac Solstice is steel. Fiberglass can crack.
7. Check the Convertible Soft Top Assembly
A common problem of the soft top assembly in these cars is within the deck lid latching mechanism. It can get misaligned too.
There will also be some general wear and tear on the top and problems with the front locking latch. If the car has issues like these, be sure that it is reflected in its price.
Conclusion: Pontiac Solstice vs. Saturn Sky
General Motors makes both the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice. Their body designs are markedly different from each other. The Saturn Sky looks edgy and razor-sharp, while the Pontiac Solstice looks muscular but curvaceous.
However, when you look beneath their skins, there are many similarities between them. They are built with the same platform and share many other elements. Every Sky is a roadster while there are Solstices that are convertibles and some which are strictly coupes.