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2006 Pontiac Torrent

The Pontiac Torrent is one of three derivatives of midsize SUV’s that share GM’s Theta platform. The Saturn VUE and Chevrolet Equinox are the other two. It has long been a tradition for General Motors to share platforms across various brands as a way to fully capitalize on the large investment associated with designing and bringing a new vehicle to market. Though this approach has the potential to produce mundane, cookie cutter designs, it is in my opinion the right way for car companies to assemble vehicles.

2006 Pontiac Torrent

In today’s volatile market, this type of manufacturing not only helps keep costs in line, (something that GM has struggled with in recent years) it also ensures that new designs are introduced faster, with the result being additional choice. It also has the benefit of reducing the amount of natural resources required for building the vehicles of today. Like it or not, flexible assembly lines and shared platforms are here to stay.

What separates the Pontiac Torrent from its siblings is the excitement DNA that goes into every Pontiac vehicle. Though some may choose the simplistic design of the Saturn VUE as their favorite and still others may prefer the “cool” factor associated with the Chevrolet Equinox, the Pontiac Torrent has an air about it that the others just can’t seem to match.

Not only does it perform better in my opinion, the outward appear-ance gives it a stronger and more together feel than the other two SUV’s. Having spent quality time in each of these three vehicles, there is no doubt my money would be spent on the Torrent.

Powered by a 3.4L V6, the engine in the Pontiac Torrent produces 185 hp @ 5200 rpm and 210 lb.-ft of torque @ 3800 rpm.

Mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission, driving the Torrent is, well… exciting!

The six cylinder engine responds quickly to each request for power and does so with no discernable howl or shriek, just a controlled growl letting you know it’s hard at work.

An independent MacPherson strut suspension means cornering ability is sharp and crisp, while the rear suspension stays on track by means of an independent 4-link with coil springs and trailing arm setup. This suspension arrangement is unique to the Pontiac Torrent, further distinguishing it as the handling champ when compared to the Saturn VUE and Chevrolet Equinox. Additionally, the suspension is firmer and sportier while the electronic power steering has been recalibrated to provide better driver feel.

The Pontiac Torrent is available in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions. Brakes are front disc, rear drum with ABS is offered as standard equipment. With the front-wheel-drive model, traction control is available as an option.

Driving the Torrent is akin to driving many of the sporty four door sedans currently in the market. It handles winding roads with ease, powering through corners with the agility of a car, albeit a slightly top heavy one and stopping quickly when called on to do so.

Outward visibility is excellent, sightlines are for the most part unobstructed and parking the Torrent is a snap. Though getting in and out of any SUV is more difficult than a car, the step up isn’t as great as many vehicles in this category and the quality of materials used on the seats makes sliding across a painless endeavor.

2006 Pontiac Torrent Interior

Inside, the Pontiac Torrent rewards driver and passengers with a straightforward dash layout. This lack of tackiness is surprisingly something Pontiac is not known for, more often than not, their interiors are filled with inexpensive plastic parts and glowing orange gauges as darkness overtakes the day. While red numbers still appear boldly on the black faced gauges at night, the look this time around is clean and easy on the eyes.

A sloped center console provides easy access to HVAC system and stereo. Power window controls are located here as well, just below the gear shift, as are switches for the optional heated front seat.

Comfortable front buckets showcase a high back and extra length cushions suitable for occupants exceeding 6 ft in height. Leather is available, as is a 6-way power driver’s seat with manual adjustment lumbar.

You would expect, power window, mirrors, tilt steering and keyless entry to be included as standard equipment and the Torrent delivers. Given the Torrent’s penchant for cruising the highway, it is surprising that cruise control is a factory installed option. Multiple cupholders are found throughout, with map pockets on the front seats, a center console and an ingenious floor console included as well.

The basic stereo system is an AM/FM with CD player and six speakers. Good enough for many, the true audiophile will want to upgrade to the premium 7-speaker sound system with built in amplifier and subwoofer. Sound quality is very good, with XM Satellite Radio available as well.

When it comes to making a decision on which SUV to buy, having the choice of 3 vehicles is obviously better than one. The Pontiac Torrent delivers with good looks, solid performance, excellent interior space and a fun to drive attitude. Excitement it seems is a bi-product of good design delivered in triplicate.

For more information visit the Pontiac website here.

2006 Pontiac Torrent
Mid-size SUV
112.5 inches
Overall length:
188.8 inches
Engine size:

3.4L V6

5-speed Auto
Power assisted rack and pinion

Power Front disc, rear drum

Air bags:
2 (front)
Fuel mileage city/hwy:

FWD: 19/24
AWD: 18/23


$21,990- $23,795