Home » The Pontiac Vibe Was Very Nearly Flawless: GM Hit Or Miss

The Pontiac Vibe Was Very Nearly Flawless: GM Hit Or Miss

Pontiac Vibe Topshot
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Who doesn’t love private label goods? Whether a great deal on laundry detergent or a set of otherwise-expensive speakers sold at a discount, we can all appreciate getting a deal, and that can extend to cars too. Today, we’re discussing a car that Automobile once described as “far and away the best small car from General Motors.” So what is it? No, it’s not the fantastically stingy Geo Metro, or even the excellent Chevrolet Prizm. It’s actually a car that, as the great David Tracy put it, we’re all underestimating. You already know what’s going on: A Pontiac Vibe check. Welcome back to GM Hit or Miss, where we have a crack at the great claw machine that was pre-bankruptcy GM product planning in search of greatness.

To understand the Vibe, we must go back to early-1980s California, where malaise at GM’s Fremont plant was running high. As the man in charge of Fremont Union Local 364 at the time, Bruce Lee (no, not that one), told This American Life, “It was considered the worst workforce in the automobile industry in the United States. And it was a reputation that was well-earned.” Ouch. Allegations of working under the influence, gambling on-site, sexual activity while on the clock, and absenteeism plagued the plant, and eventually, GM had enough. In 1982, the automaker fired everyone at Fremont and shut the facility down.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Chevrolet Cavalier

While the Fremont fracas was going on, General Motors wasn’t exactly at the top of the small car game. At the same time that Toyota had Tercel, Corolla, and Camry, GM had Chevette, Cavalier [Editor’s Note: I had a girlfriend with one of these. What a heap. She eventually hit a deer and totaled it, and got a ’70s Dodge Duster as a replacement. It was so much better, and it was also garbage. It was also the only car I ever towed in my Beetle. – JT] , and Citation. It shouldn’t be surprising that shoppers found the reliable, well-built Toyotas more appealing, and in the wake of the oil crisis, Toyota gained significant market share. So much market share, in fact, that the influx of Japanese cars scared the American automakers and government, leading to voluntary import restrictions.

Then came the lightbulb moment: By repurposing the Fremont plant as a joint venture, Toyota could build cars in America to bypass import restrictions without having to build a plant from scratch, and GM could pick up some captive imports while learning all about the Toyota Production System, a lean way of manufacturing that was taking the world by storm. A deal was struck, and a new company was created: The New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., or NUMMI for short.

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Chevrolet Nova

In 1984, NUMMI opened its doors as a great experiment in automotive manufacturing. Adding a dose of trepidation, This American Life reports that many employees were the exact same people who were fired from Fremont under GM. It seems like a bold strategy when taken at face value, but Fremont was still a United Auto Workers unionized plant and the gamble was that power structures were at fault for Fremont’s reputation, not the workers themselves. By prioritizing collaboration and fairness, Toyota believed it could pull this once-notorious plant out of the muck.

By 1986, NUMMI’s product quality was near or at the level of Toyota’s Takaoka, Japan plant, scoring 3.6 to 3.8 in the Consumer Reports Reliability Index while Takaoka products scored 3.8 to 4.0. That’s an astonishing feat, especially when you learn that products built in GM’s Framingham, Mass. plant in 1986 scored between 2.1 and 3.0 on the same scale. It was an incredibly smart idea for GM to team up with Toyota, although decades of tradition and labor tensions made it difficult to implement the Toyota Production System in other GM plants.

Pontiac Vibe Gt 1

After several hits like the Chevrolet Nova (a Toyota Corolla), the Geo Prizm (a Toyota Corolla), and the Chevrolet Prizm (also a Toyota Corolla), NUMMI started up production of its best GM-badged product for 2003 — the original Pontiac Vibe. I’ve racked up literally thousands of miles on these and their Toyota Matrix sister cars, and to this day, they fill the compact and practical niche better than almost anything else.

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Pontiac Vibe Profile

Despite its Japanese underpinnings, the first-generation Pontiac Vibe was an extremely American car. Its standard engine came from Virginia, its panels were pressed on-site, plastics were molded in NUMMI’s on-site plastic facility, and everything came together in a unionized plant. Sure, some of the parts may have said Denso on them, but the Vibe was like driving a slice of apple pie.

What’s more, the Vibe was actually better than its Toyota Matrix counterpart. Pontiac wanted this little wagon to be a feature-rich vehicle, so even the base model was comprehensively equipped. I’m talking about air conditioning with a cabin filter, fog lamps, a 115-volt outlet to run small appliances, and an adjustable roof rack. Sure, power windows and power door locks were still part of an option package, but Toyota was so cheap that a base Matrix didn’t even come with decals to black out its B-pillars.

Pontiac Vibe Cargo Area 1

Open the Vibe’s hatch and you’ll find the entire cargo area lined in durable, hardwearing, stain-resistant plastic. Sure, anything damp would turn the whole thing into a Slip-N-Slide, but anything dirty would just wipe off. Plus, the front passenger seat folded flat and was plastic-backed, meaning Vibe owners could pick up lumber without renting a truck. Owner could even lift just the rear glass to accommodate long, slim loads or easily drop shopping into the cargo area without opening the hatch. Granted, the struts on said rear glass can wear out quickly if you cheap out on replacements, but experience with quality units suggests they should last several years. Under the cargo area sat an enormous plastic organizer for everything from jumper leads to bandages, whatever you might need on the road. It’s an impressive piece of tiered storage that doesn’t really have a modern equivalent.

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Pontiac Vibe Interior 2

Pop all the seats back up and you’ll find a surprisingly low driving position somewhat at odds with the Vibe’s tall silhouette. It’s a car you sit in rather than on, which is good because an enthusiastic driver can invoke near-nautical body roll in particularly spirited cornering. Dial things down a notch and you’ll find enough passenger space for four fully-grown adults to peacefully coexist on a road trip, and enough headroom for each occupant to wear a 50-gallon hat. Sure, the steering wheel sits a bit too close to the dashboard for most drivers, but for the Vibe’s era and sub-$20,000 price tag when new, that’s not the worst trade-off.

Pontiac Vibe Interior 1

Look past the steering wheel and you’ll find fancy electroluminescent gauges buried deep in the instrument binnacle. Admittedly, the team messed up a bit for the 2003 model year when it decided that everything on every gauge face should be red, but that got fixed in 2004 with white numeric increments to enhance legibility. Speaking of user-friendliness, all center stack controls from the head unit to the HVAC panel sit high on the dashboard within easy reach of the driver, handy for minimizing distraction.

Although the Vibe is fairly utilitarian, it’s easy to forget how nice its cabin was by the standards of the day. Keep in mind, modern soft-touch plastics hadn’t yet proliferated the small car market in 2003, but that didn’t mean a life of grey boredom. Splashes of silver plastic and chrome adorned the dashboard and door cards, while fabric trim also did its part to liven up an entry-level interior. Sure, the plastics on the dashboard and door cards were hard, but the graining was tighter than a wingwalker’s harness and the coloring dark, ensuring a nice look. The Vibe is still a textbook example of how hardwearing materials can still look good with a little bit of thought and care.

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Pontiac Vibe Navigation System

Springing beyond the basics of the interior, the Vibe’s options list generally consisted of stuff you’d never expect to find in a small car of the time. A 200-watt audio system isn’t immensely powerful by today’s standards but was leagues better than most tinny systems of the time, and you could even pair it with the luxury audio feature of the era, XM satellite radio. Side airbags, a six-disc CD changer, and a DVD navigation system were also on the options list, and aside from heated seats, who could really want more than that?

Pontiac Vibe 1

So what was the Vibe like to drive? Well, it depends on which Vibe you bought. The base model with the economy-minded low-output 1ZZ-FE engine was adequate. Sure, the engine sounded strained like it was pushing out an enormous number two when attempting a charge to redline, but the Vibe would get you wherever you wanted to go no problem. Ride quality from the standard MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension was very good for the segment and the time, steering was quick if numb, and fuel economy was pretty average. However, if you wanted a little more excitement, the Vibe GT was eager to please.

Pontiac Vibe Gt Engine

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So the top-shelf sports bus Vibe still has a 1.8-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine. What’s the big deal? Well, the Vibe GT had the Yamaha-codeveloped 2ZZ-GE inline-four, and its party pieces were variable cam lift and a screaming 8,200 rpm redline. For 2003, this engine made a stout 180 horsepower all the way up at 7,600 rpm, and put that power down through a six-speed manual gearbox. Sure, the torque band is way up in the rev range, but hit the cam switchover around 6,000 rpm and it’s like a million furious hornets awaken to the whoosh of induction noise. Hold on all the way to redline to keep it in the power band, grab another gear, and grin from ear-to-ear like your name’s Aphex Twin. How’s that for a way to liven up a commute?

Pontiac Vibe Awd

However, what if your commute is up a mountain? What if you drive a snowplough and need a vehicle that can get to the plough before the roads are clear? Fear not, Pontiac did offer an all-wheel-drive Vibe with independent rear suspension, although it came with two caveats: The only engine option was a reduced-output version of the base 1ZZ-FE four-cylinder and the only gearbox available was a four-speed automatic.

Pontiac Vibe 2

In fairness, the Vibe did have two problems, but one was more of an annoyance than a catastrophically expensive issue. Toyota, in its infinite wisdom, decided to cut costs on the gauge cluster and have the odometer max out at 299,999. This was mildly annoying for Americans as it’s not uncommon for these cars to last for 300,000 miles, but it was catastrophic for Canadians because, like the vast majority of the world, measure distance traveled in kilometers. The second issue is reliability of the base five-speed manual gearboxes, primarily in pre-facelift models. Numerous owner complaints have been logged with NHTSA over premature transmission bearing failure, including one that states:

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2003 PONTIAC VIBE 5-SPEED. TRANSMISSION BEARINGS FAILED, CAUSING THE TRANSMISSION TO GRIND ITSELF UP AND STRAND THE CAR. FLUID CHANGED EVERY 30K MILES. FIRST TRANSMISSION DIED AT 70K MILES AND THE SECOND ONE NOW DIED AT 110K MILES. THIRD TRANSMISSION GETTING INSTALLED TO CORRECT A FAULTY DESIGN. BUYING A BRAND NEW ONE THIS TIME AND IT HAS COST ME THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS SO FAR. *TR

Odometer and gearbox problems aside, the Pontiac Vibe was so good that Toyota rebadged it as the Voltz and sold it in Japan from July of 2002 until July of 2004. It even made cameos in Gran Turismo 4, Gran Turismo 5, and Gran Turismo 6. GM, with Toyota’s help, built a genuinely world-class compact car at the same time as the General churned out the sad, plasticky 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier. How’s that for astonishing?

Second Gen

In 2008, Pontiac introduced the second-generation Vibe, which sadly converged with its Matrix sibling when it came to equipment. While Pontiac did manage to carve out an extra 0.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, features like air conditioning and fog lamps that came standard on the original Vibe were now optional.

Second Gen Rear

Sadly, things fell apart for the Pontiac Vibe and indeed for NUMMI in GM’s bankruptcy. As part of the restructuring plan, Pontiac was to be shelved altogether, cutting the Vibe’s lifespan short. In June 2009, the New York Times reported that GM pulled out of NUMMI, and Toyota wasn’t going to be left holding the bag for long. On April 1, 2010, Toyota built its last-ever car at NUMMI, a red 2010 Corolla as reported by Motor Trend. Despite the death of the plant and indeed the Vibe, NUMMI’s legacy lives on in a surprising way. In May of 2010, a small Californian start-up manufacturing sports cars bought the facility from Toyota. You may have heard of it, a little company called Tesla.

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The Pontiac Vibe was a massive hit, a solid little wagon perfect for day-to-day use. Practical, efficient, well-priced, and well-equipped, it set a standard that few small utility vehicles have lived up to. Even Toyota seems like it can’t make this sort of vehicle again. Thankfully, although it took more than a decade, GM seems to have learned from the success of the Vibe. The new Chevrolet Trax is a near-perfect successor, save for the absence of a few enthusiast-focused items like a manual gearbox or a hi-po engine option. Not that it will tempt many current Vibe owners, of course. When you have a paid-off car that’s this excellent of an all-rounder, why switch it up?

(Photo credits: Pontiac, Chevrolet)

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Redfoxiii
Redfoxiii
1 year ago

I have a 2019 Corolla Hatchback 6MT, which is as close as you can get to Vibe/Matrix today.

The cargo solution in mine is that there’s no solution if you have cargo. Seriously, one of the most poorly designed trunk spaces I’ve ever seen in a hatch, compromised for body lines – it fails the wagon test as there are no cargo windows.

It’s fine to drive. Quick steering with reasonable feel for an electric rack, rev matching, nice feeling stick, has a power band that pulls way higher in the rev range than it needs to.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
1 year ago

The utility of these things are amazing. I once hauled a 7ft Christmas tree home INSIDE IT with the back hatch closed. A quick wipe with a damp cloth and it was all cleaned up.

We traded up for a Saturn Vue (2ng gen) that we’ve had for 10 years. It equals the utility but lacks the easy cleanup due to carpeting and not plastic.

Both cars have a passenger seat that flips flat forward, so simple and infinitely useful.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
1 year ago

I drove a Vibe for about 10 years. It was my first “nice” car. Still my favorite to this day. It’s the only 20-year-old car I see on the roads that does not look super dated to me.

J Wamsley
J Wamsley
1 year ago

Thank you for championing this car. My in-laws have a pair of Toyota matrixes (matricies?) that I love driving. Not sure what the model designation is, but they are a pretty high trim level, leather interior, one is a manual. Absolutely fun to drive. Even at the advanced age the build quality shows, no rattles and tight interior. Decent size sunroof for back then. Great fuel economy and easy to whip around tight spaces.

The front seat also folds to the point where I can get a 9’2” longboard in there and still close the car up for security. Can’t do that in my wife’s Grand Cherokee. Also has a feature that is uncommon these days. The hatchback also has a operable rear glass. My wife’s $50k GC doesn’t have a separate release for the glass. It’s liftgate only FTW. Silly way to cut cost.

“If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”

Cyko9
Cyko9
1 year ago
Reply to  J Wamsley

I’ll bet the manual is an XRS – peak Matrix. I bought an XR with the automatic because it fit my life better then. Always wish I could’ve sprung for the more powerful engine and manual of the XRS. These are fun cars and incredibly versatile. You can load them up (though they’ll ride low). I’m partial to the Toyota’s design, but the Vibe has it’s own… vibe. The nose job is convincing, but the rear always looked a bit “different for the sake of looking different”.

Gubbin
Gubbin
1 year ago

It’s just so crazy that with Saturn and NUMMI, GM tried and succeeded in learning everything TPS from kaizen to captive unions TWICE, and walked away from it both times.
It feels like the remote-work revolution/backlash, where meeting middle-managers’ emotional needs trumps efficiency and effective people-skills.

GhosnInABox
GhosnInABox
1 year ago

It’s really worth noting that this vehicle comes from an era when automakers were really courting the hip, young college crowd (remember when they still cared?). I call it the Scion Era.

As such, the Vibe (particularly the 1st gen) is an absolute physical embodiment of millennial youth. I’d swear my tips frost at the mere sight of one on the road (usually as dented and faded from the past 19 years as I am). I saw a GT once and I think my jeans magically transformed into jorts.

I always wanted one (in that stock Son of the Mask green metallic paint) and still cherish a beautiful, meaty physical brochure for the 2004 model year like it was Action Comics #1.

Timothy Swanson
Timothy Swanson
1 year ago

My wife and I came close to getting a Vibe as our first family car. Stick shift, base engine was actually fun to drive. We ended up getting a stick shift Saturn VUE instead, and that vehicle served us well for 12 years, so no regrets. It’s a shame so few of these otherwise interesting crossovers don’t come with a stick, or much fun factor.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
1 year ago

Ssssshhhhh (puts index finger to lips).
I’ve been eyeballing manual Vibes for years now for a daily do all/car camper.
I’ve just recently began looking at my NUMI Prizm with fun, race hungry, cartoon wolf eyes and currently have the funding for a newish daily. Let’s not talk up the Vibe too much.

Last edited 1 year ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
1 year ago

A friend’s wife had one with a stick. Got to drive it once, great shifting transmission. It made the car fun. I believe they put the same stick in the Solstice, but I could be wrong.

MDMK
MDMK
1 year ago

I used to love those old 1st gen Vibes. It was right sized and its relatively conservative amount of cladding gave the Vibe a slightly rugged look which made it the most attractive Pontiac IMO. It was also the closest GM came to offering a proper compact station wagon post Cavalier.

I agree that along with the 2nd gen’s cleaner but less stylish appearance, the Vibe lost its uniqueness and visual heft as it fell victim to Toyota basically giving up on the Matrix by then.

V10omous
V10omous
1 year ago

The fact you could get the 2ZZ in these but not in the MR2 was and is utterly baffling.

Peter Andruskiewicz
Peter Andruskiewicz
1 year ago
Reply to  V10omous

It was part of the agreement with Lotus when the Elise switched from the ancient k-series (not Honda) to the 2zz that Toyota couldn’t use it in the MRS since it’d be too similar

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
1 year ago

The Vibe is the best car ever sold new at a GM dealership.

Fun fact: for 2003 only, you could get the Matrix XRS with an automatic, but not the Vibe GT…

However, the 2003 Vibe was available in a really cool shade of green. I’d LOVE to have a green Vibe GT, but they are very very rare 🙁

Toyota told them exactly how to make good cars, yet GM learned absolutely NOTHING from them.

Too bad about that stupid odometer problem. Every Corolla, Matrix, and Vibe of this gen does the same thing, and there is still no fix, still no redesigned odometer cluster with 888888 instead of a88888 🙁

Also stupid that GM never sold RHD Vibes to postal carriers, especially since they already exported them in Voltz form to Japan. This was just afte they stopped making the Saturn S-Series, which was sold in RHD wagon form.

Tesla won’t say how many of Tesla’s Fremont employees came from NUMMI. OTOH, about half of Rivian’s Normal, IL staff (former Mitsubishi/DSM factory) had worked there when they made Mitsubishis.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dogisbadob
GhosnInABox
GhosnInABox
1 year ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

An ex-GM employee once told me that their execs are too busy with “Robocop” style corporate politics to ever really do their job.

It is not an environment conducive to humility, open-mindedness or change.

This also explains the existence of the Cadillac Escalade V-series

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
1 year ago

I love these cars and have steered many friends and family members towards them. At one point I had 3 of them (2 vibes and 1 matrix) in my driveway when everyone happened to be at the house at the same time and I had helped all of them find them. Fantastic cars with unparalleled reliability and versatility.

My sister in laws 2003 vibe, that I found for her ran over sheet metal on the freeway that ripped the bottom of the oil pan off, and still drove another 20 miles home. We threw on a new pan and it lasted another 30k until something unrelated, I don’t remember what ended up resulting in it going to the junkyard. She replaced it with an 05 matrix and has always regretted it, she liked the vibe a lot better for some reason.

While smaller and no AWD option I would say the Scion and then later Toyota iM was more more a successor than the trax, but on the GM side of the house I guess that’s as good as it gets.

One of these days I’ll probably end up with a GT, but no matter how many times I’ve looked at them I’ve never quite talked myself into buying one for myself despite how perfect of a car they are for 99.9% of drivers and situations.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 year ago

My wife had a Matrix for a year or so as a company car, so I got to know it a bit too. We both hated the driver’s seat comfort. I’m not sure why it was so odd. I hated the over fussy dashboard. The goofy individually bezeled instruments must have increased performance somehow. LOL.

But, it was a very intelligently packaged car in the vein of pretty much what most people would ever need, if they could bring themselves to admit it. There was a reason why it was a Corolla – it was a Corolla! It was well built, efficient and a pretty fun drive (she had the Yamaha engine version, I don’t recall the model designation).

Styling, yeah it was ugly. It was a Toyota after all, but even the Pontiac take was an exercise in looking cheap.

Something in this size and form factor would easily go on my shopping list today. All I can think of is the recently departed Chevy Bolt (not quite the cargo utility and also dumb styling) or the MB B-class (probably ticking time bomb).

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
1 year ago

Depending on your height that would track with something some reviews touched on at the time, in these and the Corolla. IIRC the driving position was sort of high up and the non-telescoping steering wheel was far away, so taller drivers tended to not find the seating position comfortable while those shorter in stature were fine.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 year ago

I also think the bottom seat cushions had a wierd rake angle to them and may have even been a bit short. The old ‘airline seat illusion’: make the cushion too short so it looks like there’s more leg room, but then cut off the circulation of the person’s legs with a bad pressure point.

Randal Slifer
Randal Slifer
1 year ago

We picked up a 2003 Matrix XRS slushbox in 2004 to replace a beloved but lemonic Volvo 940SE. A great car and a marvel of packaging useful space into a tiny footprint. It wasn’t until I took it on a 7-hour trip and realized that I needed the seat to go back just another 1/2 inch or so. Great cars for the intended purpose, though.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
1 year ago
Reply to  Randal Slifer

You had an XRS automatic? 😮

How often did you use VTEC lift? 😉

Last edited 1 year ago by Dogisbadob
Randal Slifer
Randal Slifer
1 year ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

Hey, it was on the lot and the cracked head on the 940SE wasn’t going to last much longer. It was the right transport at the right time.

Last edited 1 year ago by Randal Slifer
Dodsworth
Dodsworth
1 year ago

People loved those Vibes. I had two friends who owned them and they both bought more than one. When I told them it was essentially a Toyota they chose not to believe me.

OverlandingSprinter
OverlandingSprinter
1 year ago

Still see AWD Vibes and Matrixes in my area because they’re cheap and have AWD, which is necessary here.

Interestingly — or maybe not — the Subaru Impreza/Crosstrek has an almost identical profile and similar specs.

  • Crosstrek: 177″ L x 71″ W x 64″ H and 3,641 to 3,946 lbs
  • Vibe: 171 x 70 X 62 and 3,284 lbs for AWD

If I was a teacher, I’d say Subaru copied Toyota and Pontiac’s homework when creating the Impreza/Crosstrek.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
1 year ago

Corolla Cross is close too. 176″ L x 72″ W x 65″ H, 3100-3400 lbs. And to really channel the spirit of the base Matrix, the base Cross has no rear wiper!

David Smith
David Smith
1 year ago

I’m currently driving an ’09 matrix for work and am also shopping for a car for my wife. Her short list is the Crosstrek and Corolla Cross. We decided to go with the Cross and were just waiting for the one that closest met our specs to be delivered to our local dealer when the recall came and bit our plans in the ass. It’s been a month now but since my wife will be away for the next month I guess I may as well wait it out.
If the recall hasn’t been sorted out by the time she gets back we’ll probably get the Crosstrek.

EXL500
EXL500
1 year ago

We rented the first gen a few times and really loved it. Then we rented a second gen and could not for the life of us find the windshield wiper controls. They were in some odd place, and there was no manual. The rental agent told us that happened all the time. Weird.

Norrsson
Norrsson
1 year ago

I created an account just to say Thank You to finally talk about the Vibe/Matrix. In my opinion, they’re better CUVs (in the “practical vehicle small enough to park in the city” sense) than any CUV currently on the market. Change my mind.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 year ago

As a former owner of a sad, plasticky 2004 Cavalier, I’m not sure it’s quite as bad as you make it out to be. The interior is unabated crap and it’s dangerously hideous, but it was a very comfortable car that ate up commutes and road trips alike, averaging over 30mpg the whole time.

Actually, now that I think about it, I’m not sure I prefer Vibes in any way except the hatchback body style.

Alexander Moore
Alexander Moore
1 year ago

The second gen Vibe only lasting a few model years was a damn shame as the accompanying Matrix was hideous, probably the start of Toyota’s ‘bulbous and tubby’ era.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/61/Toyota_Matrix_%28E140%29_rear_7.4.18.jpg/2560px-Toyota_Matrix_%28E140%29_rear_7.4.18.jpg

Last edited 1 year ago by Alexander Moore
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
1 year ago

That second gen Matrix is a candidate for the pufferfish classification

George Wilson
George Wilson
1 year ago

Editor’s Note: I had a girlfriend with one of these. What a heap. She eventually hit a deer and totaled it, and got a ’70s Dodge Duster as a replacement. It was so much better, and it was also garbage. It was also the only car I ever towed in my Beetle. – JT

DODGE Duster??? C’mon, Torch…

VermonsterDad
VermonsterDad
1 year ago

My wife had one, 2004 maybe, AWD. . . .Was a good, reliable form of transportation. I guess that was its purpose, but nothing really memorable either.

FuzzyPlushroom
FuzzyPlushroom
1 year ago

A friend (then-girlfriend) had a first-generation Vibe. It was stone-reliable, only needing regular maintenance items, though completely gutless with the automatic and additional weight of the AWD hardware. If I hadn’t rammed her Vibe up someone’s ass, she might well still have it, several years later.

Also: “Framington, Mass.” should be Framingham. The site of the plant is now an Adesa auto-auction house.

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
1 year ago
Reply to  FuzzyPlushroom

I’m guessing ramming her vibe up someone else’s ass is probably why she’s no longer your girlfriend…

JurassicComanche25
JurassicComanche25
1 year ago

My fiance bought an 05 Vibe early in the pandemic. I taught her to drive stick with it, and we drove it all over. Power? No. But it would move whatever we threw at it! 2 motorbikes in the back, a move to a new house, it took it all. Would return 35+mpg highway.

We sold it after 2 years, but Id love to get another. Was way too useful for what it was. So long our beloved Vibe, the Raider. Yes, she named the Vibe Raider.

Gubbin
Gubbin
1 year ago

There’s a picture of her in the dictionary next to the word “keeper”.

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