Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last year, then you know that the American auto industry is in turmoil. Manufacturers are discontinuing models, filing for bankruptcy, announcing buyouts and mergers, and even dropping entire brands. In no time at all, vehicles that once helped define a generation will be consigned to the history books.
Acting quickly, however, can secure you a piece of America's automotive heritage before it's too late. Given the industry's record sales slump and the need to sell off inventory, you can probably land a great deal too. Check out these solid American rides that you may not be able to buy new after the 2009 model year.
2009 Pontiac G8
Available in three trims, the G8's power ranges from 256 horsepower in the base V6 to a whopping 415 horsepower in the performance-tuned GXP. And while its performance and handling dynamics are to be lauded, that's not the kicker. Believe it or not, this four-door back-road burner is also easy to live with. It seats five adults in relative comfort, features loads of standard convenience features and has a behemoth cargo hold. Plus its base trim has an EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy of 17/25 -- which is on par with competitors. Taken as a whole, it's easy to see why the G8 leads the class of American muscle cars.
2009 Saturn VUE Hybrid
Depending on trim, the VUE Hybrid's EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy ranges from 25/32 mpg to 27/30 mpg, respectable for a compact SUV. And though test drivers find that the VUE Hybrid's handling dynamics can't match those of its rivals, many find its body style and interior accommodations pleasing. It's not chic or luxurious, but at this price point the modestly equipped VUE Hybrid is a real bargain -- especially if you need the 56.4 cubic-feet of cargo space it provides. The fact that it's an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety "Top Safety Pick" is an added bonus.
2009 Cadillac DTS
Cadillac takes full-size luxury to a whole new level with the classy and stylish DTS -- a car so swanky that the White House had one modified to serve as George W. Bush's presidential limo.
In addition to its smooth ride quality, the Cadillac DTS is renowned for its large and lavish cabin. It comfortably seats five to six adults, features a wide range of modern hi-tech gadgets and boasts one of the largest cargo holds available outside of the SUV class. While its EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy of 15/22 mpg lags behind the competition, it's hard to argue with its old school Cadillac style. Longer than the Escalade and almost as wide as the HUMMER H3, the DTS is both bold and domineering.
2009 Jeep Commander
True to Jeep's reputation for building all-purpose, rugged utility vehicles, the four-wheel-drive Commander proves that it can handle just about anything that adventure seekers throw its way.
Available with a wide range of engine choices, including a HEMI V8, the Commander is a powerful performer. And while test drivers note that its highway ride isn't as comfortable as competitors, it is comfortable enough. Besides, the Commander's off-road capabilities dominate. And though its cargo space falls short of class rivals, it makes up for its lack of trunk room with seating for seven. Good crash test scores and a standard lifetime powertrain warranty are icing on the cake.
2009 Pontiac Solstice
While its performance dynamics falter in comparison to roadsters like the MX-5 Miata and soon-to-be-cancelled S2000, the Solstice is, nonetheless, a sporty ride - especially in its turbocharged 260-horsepower GXP trim. Where the Solstice really shines, however, is in its curb appeal. In addition to sensual and inspiring curves, the Solstice boasts either a manual-folding soft top or removable hard top. Both body styles are certified jaw-droppers. Typical of most small roadsters, the Solstice runs short on passenger and cargo room, but that's a small price to pay for killer looks and getting a killer deal.