The Pontiac Vibe offers sporty styling and performance with practical cargo and people-hauling capabilities. This five-door hatchback boasts a roomy interior for front and rear passengers. Its creatively designed cargo compartment features a track system with adjustable tie-down anchors. The seating arrangement is flexible, allowing the driver to flip down the passenger seat when hauling items up to 8-feet long. That seat can be used as a desk for a laptop computer, which can be plugged into the 115-volt electrical outlet.
For the tuner crowd, Pontiac offers the Vibe GT, tuned for performance and dressed to impress. A selection of over-the-counter accessories is available to enhance its look. Vibe comes in wild colors, including Fusion Orange, Lava, Satellite, and Envy. XM Satellite Radio, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a supercharger for the base model have been added to the options list for 2004. All-wheel drive is available for drivers in the snowbelt.
On the road, we found the base model pleasant and comfortable with a hatchback's cargo-hauling versatility. The GT offers more driving excitement, though the high-revving engine doesn't seem at home here.
Vibe was conceived by General Motors and is built to Toyota assembly standards, with Toyota components. (Toyota sells its own version of the car, called the Matrix, with different styling cues.)
Pontiac builds the 2004 Vibe in base ($16,605), AWD ($19,555), and GT ($19,905) versions.
The base Vibe comes with a 130-horsepower four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, a four-speed automatic optional ($850). The Vibe comes standard with wind-up windows, manual door locks, and 16-inch steel wheels, but it is otherwise reasonably well equipped with air conditioning; a CD player; a two-prong, household-style 115-volt power outlet (as well as two automotive-style 12-volt outlets); and power mirrors. Anti-lock brakes ($500) are optional.
The all-wheel-drive Vibe (AWD) is similarly equipped, but its engine is de-tuned to 123 horsepower. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) and automatic transmission are standard; no manual transmission is available.
The Vibe GT is a factory-built sport compact with 180 horsepower and a six-speed manual transmission. It also gets four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, 16-inch cast aluminum road wheels, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. No automatic transmission is available.
Side-impact airbags are optional ($575) and come packaged with an alarm system. A Power Group ($750) adds cruise control, power windows, and power door locks with remote keyless entry to all models. The optional Moon and Tunes package ($850) adds a power glass moonroof and 200-watt audio system. An in-dash six-CD changer is also available as a stand-alone option ($325) or as part of a DVD-based navigation system ($1,650). New for 2004 are 17-inch aluminum wheels with 215/50R17 Dunlop all-season tires, XM Satellite Radio, and OnStar telematics.
Also available is a dealer-installed supercharger for the base model that will deliver 7.5 psi of boost for a 35-percent increase in horsepower and torque. The supercharger can be installed on either manual or automatic Vibes, and shares the Vibe's 3 year/36,000 mile warranty.