2003 Pontiac Vibe GT 2zz-ge from North America


A surprisingly quick car, in one gear at a time


Odometer is not working. It, like all other Vibes, Matrixes, and Corollas of this generation sold in North America, has frozen at 299999 kilometers. My mileage is an estimate.

The radio died (aftermarket).

The starter failed (it was original, so not really an issue).

Wheel bearings failed (wear and tear).

Air conditioner doesn't work (expected at this age).

Wiper linkage failed (I've never had this happen before).

Catalytic converter clogged (expected, but costly, considering it's an economy car. $2400 is pretty steep).

General Comments:

This is a comfortable car in that the seats are cushy, but the concession you make for the sporty model is a harsh ride. It handles well, for a fairly tall car, and most parts are fairly reasonably priced. Fuel economy is decent, at about 8.2L/100km (26 mpg), but costly, as the car likes premium fuel. The engine, even with much deferred-maintenance, to judge by the general condition of the car, will still rev into the stratosphere. The shifter is balky, so that is the best way to ensure a quick getaway, picking a gear and taking off in it. I don't trust this car to take me very far, however, as it seems every problem solved clears the way for the next one to appear.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd March, 2022

17th Jan 2023, 20:15

Little update.

Nobody knows how many kilometers are on the car (the odometer stops at 299999, and shops want $200 to pull the code and get the real kilometerage), but based on my best guess, it's now at 355,000.

For anyone that wonders, yes, parts for the engine and exhaust and suspension are pricey. Expect to pay 2x what you expect them to cost.

I'd say the odometer has a limit because these cars transition from aging gracefully like Toyotas to decomposing like Pontiacs at that stage.

The plastic in the back cargo area makes sliding things in and out a cinch, but make sure that you use the tie-downs, too, for heavy stuff. I appreciate the cruise control stalk that many Japanese cars have. It's easy to use in the dark.

The seats in these are plush, if a little prone to absorbing everything.

20th Nov 2023, 13:22

Another update, with unknown km, probably closer to 375,000 than not.

I broke the driver's side mirror off. The outside mirrors don't fold, an unfortunate trait that carried on right to the end of this model. They do crack nicely, not bending the door and window track, though. I'll have to replace that sometime soon, but replacements come either as a pane of glass or a whole mirror assembly, and very little options in between.

The radio that died in a heatwave has been replaced. All is good on the sound front. This car has required very little maintenance besides oil changes. An oil drip is developing from the head gasket, though, which will change that.

Overall, I'd say that these are decent cars.

As a side note, the engine will still hit 8000 RPM, even 20 years on.

2003 Pontiac Vibe Base 1.8 from North America


Expect 250k miles


Needed a new exhaust pipe.

General Comments:

Beat used car value possible.

Insanely reliable.

Great gas mileage, holds up to heavy use.

Not underpowered.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st June, 2021

2nd Jun 2021, 16:50

I wish we would have gotten 250k out of ours. Engine is Toyota, had to replace it at 48k because of the sludge problem.

4th Jun 2021, 02:36

I would suggest if you had to replace a Toyota engine at 48k because of sludge, the reason lies somewhere else, such as lack of servicing, especially oil changes.

2003 Pontiac Vibe Base 1.8 from North America




The A/C compressor is making a noise when the A/C is not engaged -- A/C still works though.

General Comments:

When it came time to grow up and get rid of my Trans Am, I searched for a car that had it all and would last me a long time. The Toyota Matrix seemed to the the car for me... except the Pontiac version looked better and was cheaper :)

Zero problems - above 25 MPG all the time - this car has enabled me to save much more of my income and move ahead in life. If only it could tow a boat ;)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th July, 2019