Rental Car Review: Pontiac Torrent

Last week I picked up a Pontiac Torrent in Greensboro, NC and drove an hour to see a client. The Pontiac Torrent is a small SUV/Crossover and shares a platform with the Chevy Equinox.

My silver exterior/black interior Torrent had roughly 19,000 miles on it. I found that I really like the Torrent in comparison to other recent small SUV rentals like the Suzuki XL7 and the Hyundai Santa Fe. The Torrent has nice fit and finish in and out. While it’s no screamer on the road, it’s much better than the low end Japanese and Korean competitors. I actually prefer it to the RAV4 I rented a while back. Performance is acceptable and while I wasn’t blowing people away, the engine wasn’t struggling up North Carolina hills like the Suzuki did. The transmission didn’t lurch while finding gear going up hills. I would have like a little more low end torque for zipping in front of folks on the highway.

The black interior really grew on me. It’s stylish and manages to avoid the boring expanse of plastic look I’m seeing in so many cars. Unfortunately, living in Florida, black interiors are death. So as much as I like the black look, I’d never pay for it. There was plenty of room for myself and the 2 other colleagues who were with me. Back seat and trunk room were very generous.

Despite the mileage the car was in good shape, everything worked. Don’t laugh, I’ve had Mustangs with 3,000 miles where the interior lights didn’t work and the rear hatch hydraulics were shot on Suzuki XL7 I mentioned earlier.

Due to a flight conflict I had to drive 5 hours to Altanta and the Torrent performed beautifully. I did realize that I would like more/deeper dashboard level storage. I couldn’t find a great place to stick my cell phone. I kept feeling like it was going to fall out. Also, the door handle is completely horizontal and a little angle on it would have been nice. My last nitpick is that I hate the window controls in the middle. I know it’s a Mercedes kind of thing but when you are trying to simply get out of the rental lot, searching for the window controls is one more hassle I don’t want.

All in all, I was very happy with the Torrent and if Avis wants to regularly give me Pontiac Torrents to rent, I’ll take them all day long.