With strong publicity and heavy advertising, not to mention a good product, it's easy for some people to forget that the Pontiac G8 started out as a Holden Commodore. The General Motors folk Down Under have always been fans of taking what basically appears to be a Commodore wagon and stripping it of a rear passenger compartment and roof; leaving a truck bed. They call it a Ute.

Pontiac won't call their version the Ute. It won't be the G8 Ute. More importantly - and to some, more disappointingly - the light truck version of the Pontiac G8 will not become the Pontiac El Camino. "In the end," said Craig Bierley, "we felt it was more appropriate to honor the El Camino’s unique place as part of Chevy’s heritage and not use that nameplate on a Pontiac." 

GM's so-called performance division wants you to believe the G8 ST, as it will be officially and formally named, is a sports car with truck-like capability. Truthfully, it's neither. The regular G8 is a nice car, but even it is at best a sporting sedan. Towing 3,500 pounds is nice, too. But truck-like? Not quite. Carrying a payload of 1,000 pounds doesn't make this a Silverado, either.

However, the G8 ST will combine much of a sports car's speed with some of a truck's ability. Towing and hauling is more than possible. 361 horsepower should allow a 0-60mph time under 5.5 seconds. Late next year the G8 ST should arrive at Pontiac dealers as a 2010 model. Its fuel economy will not be terrific, but with active fuel management (cylinder shutdown) and a six-speed auto, the G8 should use less gas than a traditional truck while traveling much faster.

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