Downside: Virtually no storage space. The manually operated roof requires more physical effort than the convertible tops of rival models.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Very good ride and acceleration. Handling is superior -- an absolute joy to drive.

Head-turning quotient: A motorized combination of Salma Hayek and Jennifer Lopez. You'd have to be dead not to notice this one.

Body style/layout: Two-door, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive roadster with a manually operated cloth top and clamshell trunk lid. It is built on General Motors Corp.'s Kappa platform, assembled in Wilmington, Del.

Engine/transmissions: The Solstice is equipped with GM's 2.4-liter, 16-valve, inline four-cylinder Ecotec (Ecology Technology) engine. It develops 177 horsepower at 6,600 revolutions per minute and 166 foot-pounds of torque at 4,600 rpm. The engine uses electronic variable valve timing and lift technology to help save fuel and reduce tailpipe emissions. A five-speed manual transmission is standard; a five-speed automatic is optional.

Cargo and fuel capacities: The Solstice has seating for two people. Cargo space is 3.8 cubic feet. Interior storage is minimal. Fuel capacity is 13.8 gallons. GM recommends premium unleaded "for best performance." But unleaded regular is okay.

Mileage: I averaged 27 miles per gallon on the highway in the manual transmission Solstice.

Safety: Rigid body construction, standard four-wheel disc brakes, optional anti-lock brakes, load-sensitive front air bags, optional OnStar emergency communications system.

Price: Base price on the 2006 Solstice is $19,420. Dealer's invoice price on base model is $18,158. Price as tested is $22,005, including $2,010 in options and a $575 destination charge. Dealer's price as tested is $20,522. Prices sourced from Pontiac and

Purse-strings note: The cost is in the options. Some dealers are asking for premiums. Compare with Mazda MX-5, Porsche Boxster, BMW Z-4, Honda S2000.