2004 Pontiac Vibe GT 1.8L from North America


Good utilitarian economy car


New clutch at 90k miles. Normal wear.

Window apparatus (regulator) repeatedly loosens. There is an outstanding recall to have the front windows fixed, but the problem exists with all 4 windows.

Body trim got knocked off and won't reseat cleanly.

Chipping paint on hood and other areas of the body.

General Comments:

Reviewing this car because I feel like a free-loader reading all the other great reviews.

This is overall a great, though cheap car. My wife drives it hard and takes it everywhere on mountain bike trips. We added a light duty hitch, which mounts a bike rack that gets constant use. The back cargo area is her own personal little bike shop and tool chest.

We bought it used: a GT model with a 6-speed manual and oversized wheels. Sunroof and a 115 volt outlet in the dash. Even so, the "luxuries" only partly make up for the low-rent look of the whole thing.

Good gas mileage; often 27 mpg. Reliable, there's just not much maintenance to do on it. I had it up on jackstands last week to look at the brake pads. Still plenty of wear left on the all-around disc brakes. And my wife drives like a NASCAR novice; hard shifting and hard braking. No real leaks, no worn drive train parts that I know of...

The whole car shows its wear; the interior is scratched and stained. The body is chipping and some dents. Cheap body components but pretty well engineered interior. Not the most comfortable and a lot of road noise.

Overall, we like it. We will drive it until it's too hard to keep running, then junk it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th August, 2009

2004 Pontiac Vibe Base 1.8L 130hp from North America


All cars should be as top-notch as the Vibe!



General Comments:

I've owned my Vibe since March of 2004, and it has not made one single trip back to the dealership. Only maintenance I've performed is oil/filter changes (done myself... easy on this car), and a new set of tires this spring (stock Continentals didn't last all that long).

Car is pretty roomy inside for my family of three, and folding seats (back split and passenger) allow me to haul all sorts of cargo. I've hauled a 42" boxed TV set, a ton of 8 foot long lumber (JUST fits), and all sorts of bulky stuff. REMOVABLE storage compartment under cargo floor is great for carrying plenty of accessories...blanket, flashlight, tools, snow brush/scraper, bungee cords, fire extinguisher, etc.

Car is also great to work on. Engine compartment is roomy, and everything you'd need to get to is within easy reach. I added a AUX input device to the stock stereo for connecting and iPod, and there was TONS of room behind the radio for such things. On my wife's Beetle, even with the ENORMOUS dash it has, there was NO room for hers.

The *only* thing I can ding the Vibe on is the flimsy gas door hinge. If you don't keep it lubricated, the thin metal will bend and eventually break.

Gas mileage is wonderful... I do almost all city driving, and get around 29-30mpg. On a long highway trip, I was seeing 37-39mpg.

Seriously, if you need a good reliable car that's versatile, practical, and affordable, the Vibe is *the* choice. Thank you Toyota, er, I mean Pontiac for designing and building such a great car!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th June, 2008

2004 Pontiac Vibe Base 1.8 from North America


It's a great car


It's been trouble free. I've only done general maintenance. Original tires poor and replaced at 27,000.

General Comments:

This has been a great car.

I haul eight foot boards.

I use it for car camping.

Gas mileage averages about 35mpg in mostly highway driving.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 11th October, 2007

2004 Pontiac Vibe Base 1.8L from North America


Practical wagon at a good price..


Nothing yet, knock on wood. The only thing that was "wrong" was the plastic backcover on the front-passenger's seat came loose, snapped right back into place with a heavy fisted thump!

General Comments:

I bought this car to use all those GM points I accumulated, and before my grad rebate expired... Together, I got a savings of approximately $2,000 off the MSRP, before negotiating price.

It has been a great car, we have a current production (2003) Corolla in the family, and the two cars are mechanically identical, sharing the same engine and transmission. Both have been reliablable, but...

The Corolla has a lower centre of gravity, and clearly handles better.

The Vibe is heavier, and gets slightly worse mileage... by my count, it consistently gets about 11.5L/100km, that's about 21MPG (Us Gallons). Though this is almost exclusively city driving, I had similar mileage from my 1986 Audi 4000s, with a 2.2L 5-cylinder... As such, I would say that the Vibe is not as efficient as the marketing suggests.

Aside from these quibbles, the car is incredibly versitile. With the backseats folded down, I've used it to transport a 32" TV in its original packaging, ALONG with the TV stand! I've also fitted a single-size matress in the back... no difficulties closing the hatch, with the driver's seat pushed all the way to the front!

The car is a bit slow off the line, but I seriously don't think anyone should be buying this thing to race! :) It has enough pick-up for acceptable passing on the highway, and cruises comfortably and stably at 130km/h.

The interior is nice, with durable black cloth seats, but the pesudo-aluminum plastic on the centre console and radio-surround looks cheap.

Rear passenger room is incredibly roomy! and seats four six-footers in comfort. Would not suggest five-passenger travelling for extended periods of time though..:) Head room is ample.

The engine was a bit loud and harsh when new, but seems to have settled in considerably after 20,000km.

I should also mention that this car is mechanically identical to the Matrix, but they are styled differently. This is such a subjective element, but I would say that the Vibe appears more stylish.

One functional difference between the Vibe and the Matrix though, is that the Vibe has a thicker C-pillar, which increases the blind-spot and hinders over-the-shoulder checking. Not a major thing, but definitely noticeable.

The Vibe also came standard with AC, fog lights, and a roof rack, even on the base model. The Matrix does not. The Vibe is built at the GM/Toyota NUMMI plant in Freemont, California. All North American Matrixes are built at the Cambridge, Ontario plant in Canada.

Another area of complainant is the plastic hubcaps on the base model, which is unnecesarily complicated, and is itself BOLTED down... with plastic nuts no less! Makes it a complete pain to remove. Why anyone would want to bolt-down plastic hubcaps is anyone's guess...:)

In all, I've been pleased with the car, although it is not perfect, it is very practical, and definitely a fail-safe choice.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th December, 2005

18th Dec 2005, 07:06

Excellent review. I rented a 2003 Vibe while my car was in the shop, and I find I agree with every point here. As seems to be the case with your experience, I found the volume of space in the backseat surprising, to say the least. When I later found out the car was based on the Corolla, I determined to give the Corolla serious consideration when next I am in the market. My rental was also the base model. When loading the car through the rear hatch while it was warming up, I noticed the exhaust sound seemed amplified, perhaps in an attempt to appeal to younger buyers; I understand the car is targeted for the younger generation. It wasn't embarrassing or annoying, but there it was. It also had a 120v outlet in the front console, a welcome feature. I had no use for it in reality, but I plugged in my laptop just for the novelty of it.

The only thing negative I can find to say in regard to your review is that it's a shame the others on this site aren't all so directly informative and useful. There are a few, but not many.

Oh, here's a bit of trivia about the engine. The Lotus Elise, one of the fastest, lightest production cars built, uses that same 1.8 liter engine, although it makes 190hp in that particular application.