The 2009 Pontiac Vibe has a lot of things going for it - except its name. The word "vibe" makes me think of certain unmentionables, but the car's features are a good distraction from its unfortunate moniker.
The Vibe's interior has an effortless simplicity that makes it easy to navigate. The controls are simple and useful, which is a welcome change from the button overload I've experienced in many cars lately. I also was impressed with the adjustable cupholder that held both my travel mug and, later, a reusable water bottle with no problems. The center console was a problem, though; it was barely big enough to hold a garage door opener and the keys to my mailbox.
My teenager immediately noticed the car's backseat amenities. Of course there was the requisite auxiliary jack, but it was the 110-volt outlet - where he could easily plug in his electronics - that really caught his eye. My younger kids weren't as enthusiastic about the Vibe. The slope of the back windows made it a little difficult for them to see out, and their booster seats were just wide enough that they needed to move them over a bit to expose the buckle receptors.
The cargo area's plastic finish is like a skating rink. Pontiac tries to compensate for the slick surface with a slightly adjustable built-in trunk organizer that flips out of the cargo area. With the organizer open, I found a perfect slot behind it to stash a sports bag, and still had room for grocery bags. I liked the flexibility of the organizer - especially after a Costco shopping trip.
I closed the Vibe's door, however, it made a hollow "tink" sound instead of a solid "thunk," which bothered me every time. That noise made me feel uneasy about the safety and quality of the Vibe, even though all the evidence indicates that the car is safe and reliable.
The Vibe's all-wheel drive is a plus in the safety department, but it cost me in fuel economy. I got about 22 mpg in a mix of city and highway driving - a little surprising because the Vibe is a relatively small vehicle.
After getting over my issues with the name, I found the Pontiac Vibe to be a nice car. Its value pricing and cute exterior upped my overall opinion of it. It would be a good choice for a small family with young children or a teen driver.
*For more information on the 2009 Pontiac Vibe and its safety features, visit Cars.com. With questions or comments regarding this review, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LET'S TALK NUMBERS
Latch Connectors: 2
Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair
Fun Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove On): Good Times
2009 Pontiac Vibe
Base price: $18,910
Price as tested: $22,615
Engine: 158-hp, 2.4-liter I-4
Fuel: 19/24 mpg
Ground Clearance: 5.8"
Turning Radius: 17.7 ft.
Cargo space: 20.1/49.4 cu. ft.
NHTSA Crash-Test Ratings
Driver's side: 5 stars
Passenger's side: 5 stars
Front occupant: 5 stars
Rear occupant: 5 stars
Rollover resistance: 4 stars
Cars.com Expert Reviews
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|Bob Golfen||AZCentral.com||June 30, 2008|
|Emily Hansen||Mother Proof||June 17, 2008|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||April 22, 2008|
|Scott Burgess||The Detroit Newspapers||March 19, 2008|
|G. Chambers Williams III||Star-Telegram.com||December 21, 2007|
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