The Torrent, Pontiac’s midsize crossover SUV, ended production in the summer of 2009. Leftover 2009 models offer a choice of 3.4-liter and 3.6-liter V6 engines.
The base Torrent uses the 3.4-liter LNJ engine, with 185 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque. This 12-valve, iron-block pushrod V6, now manufactured in China, is a very old design. Its basic architecture dates back to 1980, although GM revamped it extensively in the early nineties, with aluminum cylinder heads, roller rocker arms, and an aluminum intake manifold. For 2009, it received a number of minor changes to improve reliability, including more durable valve seats, chromed and polished Superação o Milagre da Fé online valve stems, and a revised electronic throttle control system. The 3.4-liter engine’s power is not impressive for this class, although it gives the Torrent adequate acceleration. High revs betray its age with a gruff sound and feel, but it has good low-end torque and decent fuel economy. EPA estimates are 17/24 for both FWD and AWD models.
The Torrent GXP, added in 2008, uses the much more sophisticated 3.6-liter LY7 engine. This all-aluminum, 24-valve DOHC V6 is part of GM’s “High Feature” engine family, developed by GM and its Australian subsidiary, Holden. First seen in the Cadillac CTS sedan in 2004, it has variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust cams, and variable-length intake runners to optimize torque at different engine speeds. In the Torrent GXP, it has 264 horsepower (up from 263 in 2008) and 250 lb-ft of torque. The high-tech V6 gives the Torrent much stronger performance, although some reviewers complain that it sounds even coarser and less refined than the elderly 3.4-liter pushrod V6. It also burns slightly more fuel; the FWD Torrent GXP matches the 3.4-liter’s 17/24 EPA rating, but the AWD version falls to 16/24. Both engines burn regular fuel.