Hatchbacks have become increasingly popular lately, and Pontiac has a new version of its Vibe that's set to join the mix when it hits dealerships in the early part of 2008. The Vibe wears new exterior styling and also receives interior revisions. Available in either front- or all-wheel-drive form, the Vibe is powered by one of two four-cylinder engines and is related to the Toyota Matrix. Competitors include the Kia Spectra5, Mazda3 and Subaru Impreza.
The general shape of the previous-generation Vibe is evident when viewing the new model, but the 2009 Vibe is, on the whole, sleeker than its predecessor thanks to smooth bodysides and bumper moldings. The grille features Pontiac's characteristic twin-kidney design and is accentuated by a wide opening in the bumper right below it. New headlights flank the grille.
The rear of the hatchback features clear-lens taillights, and GT models have a liftgate-mounted spoiler. Sixteen-inch steel wheels with hubcaps are standard and 17-inch aluminum wheels are optional. GT trim levels have 18-inch aluminum wheels.
The Vibe can seat up to five people on front bucket seats and a three-person 60/40-split backseat. The Vibe has an unusual instrument cluster that features a round speedometer and tachometer and an elliptical housing for the fuel and engine temperature gauges. The Vibe has fabric seats, but the seats on GT models have leather accents.
There is 20.1 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats, but folding those seats down ups total cargo room to 49.4 cubic feet. The cargo floor and backs of the rear seats have rubber strips, which Pontiac says helps keep luggage stationary.
Under the Hood
The Vibe's standard engine is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that makes 132 horsepower (estimated). All-wheel-drive and GT Vibes get a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 158 hp (estimated). The larger four-cylinder is optional for the base Vibe.
Both engines run on regular gas and come standard with a five-speed manual transmission. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder can team with a four-speed automatic while the 2.4-liter four-cylinder can work with a five-speed automatic except in all-wheel-drive Vibes, which are only available with a four-speed automatic.
When properly equipped, the Vibe can tow up to 1,500 pounds.
All Vibes have six airbags, including side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags, plus antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and active head restraints for the front seats.