Pontiac introduces the Torrent as an all-new crossover SUV for the 2006 model year. This five-passenger compact is larger than most of its competitors and is one of the few to come standard with V-6 power. It offers the convenience of configurable interior seating, is available in all-wheel drive, and boasts the widest rear-door openings in its segment.
The Torrent is Pontiac's replacement for the peculiar Aztek and looks nothing like it. It shares the same basic car-like structure as the Chevrolet Equinox, its GM sibling. Compared to other compact SUVs, the Torrent and Equinox's extra-long 112.5-inch wheelbase and wide 61.8-inch track make them segment leaders when it comes to size. This of course translates into additional interior space-138.6 cubic feet-and added comfort for the up to five passengers. An unusual convenience for compacts is the Torrent's sliding rear seat. Move it fore or aft up to eight inches to provide either more leg room for rear seat passengers or extra cargo space. For added comfort, the backrest reclines. The seat's 60/40 split also adds flexibility, as does the fold-flat feature of the front passenger seat. Properly arranged, you can seat three and still have room to haul an eight-foot ladder inside.
The 2006 Torrent comes in one trim and is available with either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive. It also comes with only one engine-GM's 3400 3.4L, 60-degree V-6. It generates 185 hp and 210 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is coupeed to a 5-speed automatic transmission equipped with multiple shift schedules for varied load conditions. With the proper towing equipment it can pull a 3,500-pound trailer. Four-channel ABS brakes are standard on all models. Although the front brakes feature vented discs, the rear brakes use drums. Standard equipment includes 16-inch aluminum wheels (17-inch wheels are available), traction control on FWD vehicles, a sport suspension, dual-stage front air bags, power locks and windows, remote keyless entry, and a CD stereo with six speakers.
The 18-model Compact CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle) segment is where the Pontiac Torrent positions itself. These vehicles are rapidly growing in popularity because they succeed in combining car-like agility with SUV capability and versatility.
The segment sales leader, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM is the Ford Escape, which sold 165,122 units in 2005. Other sales leaders include the Honda CR-V (150,219 units sold in 2005), Chrysler PT Cruiser (133,740), and GM sibling Chevrolet Equinox (130,542). Although the Torrent is a new-for-2006 model, it was introduced early enough to net 10,303 sales in 2005. Other models with sales greater than 50,000 units during the 2005 calendar year include the Saturn Vue, Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Sante Fe and Tucson, Honda Element, Scion xB, and Subaru Forester.