2003 Pontiac Vibe Base 1.8L (1ZZ-FE)
The Vibe is a roomy, reliable Swiss Army Knife of a car
Will change rear brake shoes soon (at 106,500 miles).
Various small indicator lights on the dashboard/console have failed, such as the gear indicator light on the shifter and several lights in the radio.
Some trim panels on the dashboard are loose or rattling.
The base 1.8 liter engine is far from a performer, especially paired with the automatic transmission. At 65 MPH, the car downshifts (sometimes twice) to handle even moderate hills.
I would have expected better than 28 mpg from a Corolla-based platform, but I guess the slushomatic transmission and the added weight of the car's large frame contribute to undermine its fuel economy. Still, I've driven far worse.
That said, visibility is excellent, cornering is tight and adroit, and the suspension is comfortable and refined. This probably owes to the car's very large tire footprint courtesy of the 16" rims. Speaking of which, tires for this car do NOT come cheap.
I'm 6'1", and I find the front seats uncomfortable after about two hours' worth of driving. However there is plenty of headroom, even without the moon roof.
This car excels at utility. You can stuff practically anything into this little car, or tie it to the roof if it still won't fit. The flat-folding rear seats, the folding passenger seat, plastic decking and adjustable tie-down points have all been used and abused on many occasions.
Reliability has been stellar over the past 20,000 miles. I've done NOTHING to it but change the oil, buy two new tires, and replace a headlamp.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 4th October, 2011