Pontiac launched its entry-level Vibe hatchback wagon as an early 2003 model. Styled by Pontiac and engineered by Toyota, the Vibe is produced at a Toyota/General Motors joint-venture facility in Fremont, Calif. Pontiac's Vibe is related to the Toyota Matrix.
Like other small crossover models, the Vibe combines some features of a sports car, a sport wagon and a sport utility vehicle. That sounds like a lot of sportiness, and the Vibe leans in that direction because Pontiac has long been positioned as the sportiest member of the GM divisions.
For 2006, a stereo system with MP3 playback capability and a Sport Package that includes a premium monotone appearance group are available. Security and Premium Packages also are offered. A Sun and Sound Package, which includes a sunroof and Monsoon sound system, replaces last year's Moon and Tunes Value Package.
Designed to target youthful buyers, the Vibe comes with front- or all-wheel drive. A tire-pressure-monitoring system is standard on GT and all-wheel-drive models, and GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability system is available. GM's OnStar communication system is optional.
Exhibiting a sleek wedge profile and short overhangs, the Vibe displays basic styling cues that suggest an SUV. A slight resemblance to the company's controversial and now-defunct Aztek may be noted, but the Vibe is considerably less radical.
Tapering side window lines are reminiscent of the Ford Focus Wagon. The distinctive roofline has an integrated roof rack. Bold features include a vented front fascia with a twin-port grille and recessed fog lamps.
The Vibe measures 171.9 inches long, stands 62.2 inches tall and has a 102.4-inch wheelbase. Standard wheels measure 16 inches in diameter, but 17-inch wheels are available. All-wheel-drive Vibes have an independent rear suspension.
The Vibe can seat five occupants; it was developed to yield a spacious interior within a compact frame. Both the front passenger seat and the 60/40-split rear seat fold flat, creating a level load floor for cargo up to 8 feet long. When the backseat is folded down, cargo space behind the front row totals 54.1 cubic feet. Leather seating surfaces are optional.
Chrome-trimmed gauges in the driver-oriented cockpit feature the traditional red Pontiac backlighting. Chrome tie-downs are installed, and a CD player is standard. An in-dash six-CD changer and XM Satellite Radio are optional.
Under the Hood
The base 126-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder teams with a standard five-speed-manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. With all-wheel drive, that engine produces 118 hp and works only with the automatic. The Vibe GT holds a 164-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder that teams only with a six-speed-manual gearbox. Premium fuel is recommended for the GT. For extra performance, a dealer-installed supercharger has been available for the base model.
Antilock brakes are standard on all-wheel-drive and GT models and optional on the base front-drive Vibe. The Vibe GT gets all-disc brakes, while other models use a front-disc/rear-drum setup. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain-type airbags are optional.