2009 Pontiac Vibe (726)


This week we’re looking at the 2009 Pontiac Vibe Small SUV / wagon. It sets on a Toyota Corolla chassis just like its twin sister Toyota Matrix.

These cars, as is true of so many on the road today, are aerodynamically designed to improve fuel economy and unlike cars of old, today’s cars are stealth like by comparison. It is most noticeable to me as I pass trucks on the freeway. You don’t get buffeted around as you did in the past because of the newer wind tunnel designs. Little things like this go mostly unnoticed. Cars have less personality however as they take on that computer design and are not subject to the designers creative wishes. They are constrained by what the computer says will work best.

I suspect that is inevitable and we go faster, become more efficient and all that, but I can’t help but think we’d be better off if we went back to horse and buggies. Slow down and smell the roses … ok and other odors created by the horses. But really, is that any worse than the smell of fossil fuels burning our nostrils?

Think about it.

General Info:

Parts – US/Canadian 61%, Japan 39%,

Assembly – Fremont, CA USA.

Class:  – Small Wagons

Cars: – Vibe, G5, G6, G8, Grand Prix, Solstice, Torrent.


I have a suggestion for Navigation system makers. When it searches for a route to an intended destination it should provide a few alternates and let you choose which is best in the circumstances. That would be cool. It should also have an automatic feature that takes you around jam ups at the push of a button as you enter the next so many miles of the backup on the selected route.

Handling & Performance:

A delight to drive, for the most part, but although it is comfortable and relatively smooth on the highway you’ll notice a lot of road noise too. With today’s (perceived) need for cell phones new laws dictate no use except with hands free devices. This was a bit of a problem since it is harder to hear with the background noise.


Plain Jane, or plain wrap or some would say clean exterior lines is what you’ll see in the look of this utility commuter. That is also true of even the most expensive of cars these days. Paying more won’t buy you the unique styling that was typical 50 years ago. This is the age of computers and Uni-sex and lots of other boring changes in the name of “progress”.

Fit and Finish:

Very good but pretty typical in class.


Well… the price is right even with options. Good value here.

Features and Conveniences:

Light on the creature comforts but appropriate for the price. And of course you won’t suffer too much even at the base price that has manual roll up windows. You don’t see that much any more. Do you think we should be embarrassed if we drove a car with roll up windows?

Consumer Recommendation:

Resource – www.safercar.gov

My brother and sister in law have a 2003 Vibe they bought new about 6 years ago and now it has 100,000 trouble free miles on it and still ticking. They would buy another but now will likely wait to see who is elected. Their testimony is good enough for me coming from conservative careful spenders. He’s an accident reconstruction engineer and picky about things – especially the cars he drives. I can’t think of a better recommendation.

Recognized Competition:

Pontiac Vibe $16-21,000, Chrysler PT Cruiser $17-24,000, Subaru Impreza $17-28,000, Nissan Versa $13-16,000, Suzuki SX4 $15-17,000, Toyota Matrix $16-22,000, Chevrolet Malibu Maxxt $21-23,000, Scion xB $15,750, VW Jetta Sportwagon $19-26,000, Kia Rondo $17-21,000, Ford Focus $17-18,000, Mazda 3 $14-21,000, Mazda 5 $18-23,000, Dodge Caliber $16-24,000, Honda Fit $15-19,000, Chevrolet HHR $19-25,000.

Good News:

Outstanding fuel economy, good recommendation and comfy nice ride. Perhaps more important – It’s made in the good old USA.

Bad News:

A bit more road noise than is necessary. They should fix that.

Standard Equipment:

1.8 liter 132 hp inline 4-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual trans, power rack & pinion steering, air bags all over the place, OnStar with 1-year included, 4-wheel ABS disc brake system, rear child safety locks, stability control, tire pressure monitor, adjustable steering wheel, stereo with CD player, XM Satellite radio with 3 months included, center console, 60/40 fold flat rear seats, 16” steel wheels, power mirrors and rear wiper and defogger.

Options: Preferred package includes remote keyless entry, power door locks and windows and cruise control $945; Air conditioning $950 and MP3 player $150.

Gas Stats:

$3.19/ Gal avg. October 22, ‘08


for more information.

26 City and 32 Highway MPG

www.safercar.gov  or   888-327-4236


MSRP $15,310, with options $17,355..

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