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The Pontiac Solstice is an underrated and fun compact sports car with a convertible top for fun in the sun. These bubbly, diminutive sports cars are fun and inexpensive, but owners have a few worrisome complaints. So, what issues does the wee Pontiac have?

Cast iron and rust

There is a large piece under the Pontiac Solstice’s hood that is made of cast iron: the header. The header is the first piece of the exhaust that comes off of the engine. In most cases, headers are made of some kind of steel or other heat-resistance material. On the Solstice, however, Pontiac made the header from cast iron. Unfortunately, when the cast iron heat cycles over time, the drastic change in temperature wears on its flexibility.

While the engine is fixed into place with motor mounts, the metal of the header has to be somewhat flexible so that it won’t snap or break when the car goes over a speed bump or large rock. As a result, many Solstice models are susceptible to cracking headers. Unfortunately, RepairPal says a replacement could be around $450.

The Solstice isn’t practical

While the Solstice is a lot of fun to drive, it is far from a practical car. Sure, the seats are comfortable and most people can fit inside the car, unlike the tiny and weird cabin of the Lotus Elise. Some trim levels of the Pontiac Solstice don’t even have real cupholders. A small, pop-out cupholder slides out on the passenger side of the center console at the top of the footwell, but because the plastic in the car is so low-grade it becomes brittle and breaks over time, making it completely useless.

Some versions of the car have cupholders that pop out of the back of the center console, which is more useable but still unfortunate to reach for because it’s behind your elbow.

How much space is in a Pontiac Solstice?

A silver Pontiac Solstice parks on a stage.
Pontiac Solstice | Stan Honda, AFP via Getty Images

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The Pontiac Solstice also has almost no storage space whatsoever. Upon inspection of the trunk, you might notice that there is nothing more than a small strip of storage space that wraps around the bump where the convertible top collapses. With the convertible top folded, there’s barely enough space for a bread loaf. There is minimal storage within the cabin as well. Specifically, the model’s small glove compartment and two thin pockets on the back of each seat are woefully tight.

Another incredibly impractical thing about the Solstice is the battery placement. It may not irritate owners on a daily basis like the lack of storage space might. However, the battery location is very inconvenient when it needs to be replaced. For most cars, you could go to a Walmart or auto part store, grab a ten-millimeter socket and a new battery and swap the battery right there in the parking lot. That’s not the case with the Pontiac Solstice, however. To replace the battery, you’ll have to jack it up and remove the inner fender to access the battery.

The Pontiac Solstice is a great sports car to drive, but it does have some downfalls that might prevent owners from daily driving it. Of course, the Solstice has the potential to be a fun, fulfilling weekend cruiser.