We're All Underestimating The Pontiac Vibe
Many months ago, I met a Jalopnik reader whose love for the Pontiac Vibe has no bounds. He was part of an owner’s group, his Facebook profile was filled with pictures of his Vibe, and he just kept talking about how great the little hatchback was. At first, I thought this was a bit odd, but now I’ve realized that he has a point. The Vibe is good.
This thought came to my mind after my coworker Jason wrote a story yesterday about how even the most random car (like a Chevrolet Captiva) has at least one “rabid fan.” As I read that, I thought to myself: Man, I remember meeting someone who was obsessed with the Pontiac Vibe, of all cars! But now I’m trying to see if I can understand why.
Back in the 1980s, Roger Smith’s General Motors invested lots of money into fancy assembly robots, and yet the company continued getting its ass kicked by Japanese automakers, with its U.S. market share plummeting from 46 percent in 1980 to around 35 percent in 1989, according to The Economist’scontemporary article on GM’s struggles during that decade.
The result was a, “If we can’t beat them, join them,” decision to create an assembly plant with Toyota called New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. Known by the acronym NUMMI, this Fremont, California-based plant (part of which is now owned by Tesla) was a way for General Motors to gain insights into Toyota’s “lean manufacturing” methods that promised higher vehicle output and better quality.
The way this relates to the Pontiac Vibe is that this little hatchback was built at NUMMI between 2002 and 2009, and shared not just the same basic Corolla-based platform as the Toyota Matrix, but also the powertrains and the interior. In other words, the Vibe was a Toyota with some Pontiac sheetmetal, offering the same fuel efficiency and reliability as a Toyota, but—and this is just my opinion—in a more aggressive, stylish package.
Under the hood were two engine options, a 130 horsepower 1.8-liter engine or a 180 horsepower 1.8-liter, both of which belonged to Toyota’s “ZZ” line of inline-fours. The former could be had in front or all-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive losing a few ponies and requiring a four-speed auto, while front-drivers got the full 130 HP and offered a five-speed manual. The Yamaha-tuned 180 horsepower engine came in front-drive with a six-speed manual.
It’s not fast, and with a MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear-suspension on base models (double wishbone with all-wheel drive), it’s not particularly advanced, either. But reviews that came out shortly after the Vibe’s launch were positive, with Automobilewriting in 2002:
The Pontiac Vibe—a tall sedan/truncated wagon/ mini-SUV—is far and away the best small car from General Motors.
I reached out to Jalopnik-reader, Nick, to learn a bit more about the Vibe, since he’s the guy who amazed me with his passion for this seemingly-random car. He’s an admin for the Facebook Vibe owner’s club called “GenVibe,” which currently has nearly 1,400 members—you can see some of them in the photo above, including Nick on the left, who drove from Southeast Michigan all the way to Louisville for the gathering.
Nick tells me how much he enjoys being part of this awesome community, saying that the owners are not delusional when it comes to their Vibe, even if it might seem odd to the rest of us for so many people to be that “into” this particular car. “We all know exactly what it is that we have,” he told me over Facebook messenger, “so there’s no delusions of grandeur. We know we drive a kind of slow hatchback. And that just is what it is.”
Nick’s love for the Vibe stems from the fact that it was his first car, and that it’s just been rock-solid for years. “The bullet points for the car are: Great styling (which I believe could hold its own even two decades later),” Nick told me, going on to say “big space in a small footprint, the amount of stuff you can fit into the back when need be... and it’s rather fuel efficient.”
Nick continues, telling me about the car’s serviceability and road manners. “Going further, it’s simple to work on, kind of fun (not Miata-levels of course), and fast ENOUGH.”
Also, the Vibe just doesn’t die. “They’re hugely reliable. We have members consistently asking about the odometers stopping counting at 299,999 (even though they’re digital). And even though I’ve put the TRD Supercharger kit on mine and more aggressive suspension, nothing has put me on the side of the road, or made me late for school,” he said.
Nick has owned his vibe for over six years and 122,000 miles, and tells me the car is a “secret” in that most people don’t realize just how versatile it is. “And it’s this little secret of a car that seems to do 90% of what anyone needs to do, so I’m always ready for anything,” he says.
“It’s relatively unknown for how good it is, and how happy the owners are. Especially the GT model, being 2ZZ and 6-speed manual only,” the Vibe enthusiast explained.
And looking online, he appears to be absolutely right. No matter where I look, I continue to find positive owner reviews for the Vibe. I see 4.6 stars for the 2006 model on Edmunds. I see 4.5 stars on Cars.com. On Kelly Blue Book, I see 9.1 out of 10.
Furthermore, JD power’s predicted reliability rating for the 2009 second-gen Vibe—which sits on the same platform as the first, but receives new powertrains and sheetmetal—is five out of five stars, and USNEWS’ reliability for first-gen 2007 models (a rating based on JD Power numbers) is four-stars.
So in my attempt to understand how someone can be in love with such a seemingly-uninteresting car, I have been awakened. Here’s a dead-reliable car that looks good, gets 33 MPG highway with the base engine and five-speed manual, offers tons of space, and—this part is crucial—is dirt cheap. Like, Two Thousand Bucks For A Decent One-cheap.
So to you, redditor, who started the thread “Is Something Wrong With The Pontiac Vibe?” and to you who asked “Why Shouldn’t I Buy A Pontiac Vibe,” there’s no need to underestimate this automobile. The Vibe is good.
1ZZFE MOTOR Turbo Kit
-turbo manifold 1zz-fe
-godspeed TYPE-L INTERCOOLER(20X9X2.75" CORE SIZE) overall length 28"
-t3/t4 stage 3 turbo
- blow off valve
-oil return line with fitting
-universal 2.5" aluminum intercooler piping with silicone & t clamps
-5 bolt downpipe flange
BEARING TYPE: WET FLOAT BEARINGS
OIL INLET: 1/8 NPT
MAX PSI CAPACITY: 27PSI
COMPRESSOR: .50 AR COMPRESSOR
TURBINE: .63 AR TURBINE
.57 T COMPRESSOR WHEEL
.63 AR TURBINE WHEEL
FLANGE TYPE: T3 FLANGE
DOWN PIPE FLANGE TYPE: 5 BOLT
MAX HP 350-375HP
- Item Requires Shipping
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09-10 FOR Pontiac Vibe Turbo Charger Kit TurboCharger T3 2AZ-FE 2.4L 2.4 2azfe
$1,123.63Buy It Now7d 23h, FREE Shipping, 60-Day Returns, eBay Money Back Guarantee
Seller:eworldsales1✉️(26,856)96.5%, Location:Troy, Michigan, Ships to: Americas, Europe, Asia, AU, Item:27122871873109-10 FOR Pontiac Vibe Turbo Charger Kit TurboCharger T3 2AZ-FE 2.4L 2.4 2azfe. Rx Racing “Street Demon” Series 485HP Package Packing List of Included Kit Items: Brand new “Street Demon” Series turbo package for your vehicle. The most complete turbo package available for the price. This package has all new quality parts that are capable of producing well beyond 485 horsepower at 25+ PSI with supporting modifications and a built motor. This is the most complete package available compared to others at an affordable price. On a stock motor the kit will create give the motor a 50-100 horsepower gain on a low boost setting of 8 PSI. Also, the included electronic turbo timer provides a hassle-free operation of precisely calculating the cool down period to ensure a proper cool down for your turbocharged motor. Works with either automatic or manual gearboxes. This kit may allow you to keep your air conditioning and power steering for a great street setup. (1) Turbo Exhaust Manifold: Cast construction for a long lasting street setup High quality casting with large primaries Strong design supports the weight of the turbo Extra thick flange support the turbo well High quality T3 turbocharger flange Fully ported and polished design (1) Hybrid Turbo Charger: .57 compressor wheel trim mapped for low and high boost setups Oil fitting gaskets & mounting studs included Capable of producing over 450 horsepower Wet float bearings & properly balanced 3" inlet diameter with a 2" outlet 50 A/R compressor housing .63 A/R turbine housing 1/8 NPT oil inlet T3/T4 hybrid (1) Front Mount Intercooler: Large design cools down the turbocharged air efficiently Strong TIG welds will support high PSI levels Lightweight aluminum racing intercooler Extra thick core provides ample cooling 2.5" cold outlet & 2.5" hot inlet Less then 2% pressure drop (1) Universal Intercooler Piping Kit: Lightweight yet strong aluminum piping May necessitate light modification to fit (16) stainless steel worm gear clamps (2) 2.5” 90 degree silicone couplers (6) 2.5” straight silicone couplers (2) 90 degree 2.5” bends (2) 60 degree 2.5” bends (2) 45 degree 2.5” bends (2) straight 2.5” pipes (1) Boost Controller: Can be setup to adjust boost PSI on the fly Can be adjusted for any PSI level desired Control your boost with a precise click Includes complete install kit Anodized aluminum finish CNC machined design (1) Slim Cooling Fan: Fan can be used to cool: A/C condenser, oil or transmission cooler, mounting on an intercooler to prevent heat soak, or cooling a a2w radiator Slim design provides excellent engine bay clearance Includes the mounting tabs for a easy zip tie install Reversible design can either pull or push air Versatility of a push/pull reversible fan Superior flow of a curved-blade design Creates additional aftermarket cooling 1.25" thick outside perimeter 2.50" thick inside perimeter (1) Electronic Turbo Timer: Ensures a proper cool down for your turbocharged car every time Includes pigtail wiring and extra wiring for ease of installation Important to preventing premature turbo wear and failure Mounted inside the vehicle for on the fly adjustments Precisely calculates the cool down period for the motor Auto mode feature creates a hassle-free operation Increases turbocharger's operating lifespan Bright Easy to read LED Digital Display Failure to reduce the temperature of the turbo could result in "coking" of oil inside the turbo Coking is the baking of oil, turning it into a grimy substance (1) 10 Meters Heat Wrap: Heat powers the turbochargers turbine inlet. Keep the heat inside the exhaust pipes Heat kills the turbochargers compressor inlet. Keep the heat out of the cold piping. Control additional engine bay heat and prevent overheating. Keep intercooled air cooled. Made of very high temp fiberglass. (1) Stainless Downpipe: 2.5" Inlet Waterjet cut 5 bolt flange. O. Box, FPO, APO, HI, & AK Shipping to the rest of the world will be assessed with USPS express shipping rates Local pickup is not available on this package We are not responsible for customs charges or duty taxes on international shipments. We cannot mark the item as a gift as it is against the law. We cannot mark the item as a lower value as it is against the law. Installation We are the parts supplier, not mechanic. We can try our best to help with generic questions, but it is best to consult a professional turbocharger installer with specific questions. There are no installation instructions included. The install is simple and most customers install it themselves in a weekend. If you cannot figure it out or feel uncomfortable with the installation, please have a professional assist. Most of these parts are direct bolt-ons. Some are not. The piping needs to be fitted up. Because of the bends and couplers included, it should be simple. The T3 turbo flange needs to be welded to an adapter pipe or directly to the stock manifold. To run this on a street car, the turbocharger down pipe will need to be connected to your existing exhaust. Expect to fabricate an adapter pipe or have an exhaust shop connect them. Buyer Satisfaction Your 100% satisfaction is my goal and I will stand behind all the products that are sold from Eworld Eworld is not happy until the customer is 100% satisfied Please make sure that the part you ordered fits before altering or final installation Altered items and custom orders are not refundable or returnable Please inspect the parts immediately after receiving your order for any problems acquired during shipping A exchange can be made if you receive the wrong or broken part(s) Seller shall not be liable for any consequential or contingent damages, expense, or injury arising directly or indirectly from any defect in its products or from the use of any products, defective or otherwise Due to manufacture supply, colors/styles may be slightly different By bidding on this auction the bidder agrees to all terms eworldsales1 store Listing and template services provided by inkFrogCondition:New, Restocking Fee:20%, Returns Accepted:Returns Accepted, Item must be returned within:60 Days, Refund will be given as:Money Back, Return shipping will be paid by:Seller, Placement on Vehicle:Front, Warranty:1 Year, Manufacturer Part Number:000003234544, Brand:RX
PicClick Insights - 09-10 FOR Pontiac Vibe Turbo Charger Kit TurboCharger T3 2AZ-FE 2.4L 2.4 2azfe PicClick Exclusive
- Popularity - 17,578 views, 5.8 views per day, 3,037 days on eBay. Super high amount of views. 0 sold, 3 available.
- Price -
- Seller - 26,856+ items sold. 3.5% negative feedback. Good seller with good positive feedback and good amount of ratings.
17,578 views, 5.8 views per day, 3,037 days on eBay. Super high amount of views. 0 sold, 3 available.
26,856+ items sold. 3.5% negative feedback. Good seller with good positive feedback and good amount of ratings.
People Also Loved PicClick Exclusive
Re: turbo on an auto base vibe? (vibedrvr04)
Postby Faultline » Mon Apr 18, 2005 7:32 pm
Hey Vibedrver04., welcome to the forum. I have a manual tranny. If you look at my sig, you can see what my turbo kit is all about. I have had it on for over 2yrs. No you do not need to change the internals of the 1zz to boost it. The auto tranny , though,needs a solution for being under boost while it shifts. The boost will be hard on the tranny while it shifts, so you either have to always take your foot off the throttle when it shifts, or have some sort of manual shifter, or have a racing torque converter put into the tranny, which would be the most expensive. The pontiac SC cuts the boost during the shifts, you might want to go that route.
pics 10/2/05 http://photobucket.com/albums/a386/Faultline05/2003 Base Vibe, frosty color,moon n' tunes packagemods: Eibach sportline lowering springs,17"centerline forged wheels -silver excels -Goodyear Eagle F1 tires 225/50/17's-ACT HD clutch,2.5" exhaust,ES motormount inserts,up graded to 6 spd transmissionStafford Fabrication turbo kit: Garrett T3 turbo, FMIC ,SF BOV. ,Alcohol/water injection,and SF centerfeed fuel rail
Vibe turbo pontiac
The Pontiac Vibe is a compact car that was sold by Pontiac from 2002 to 2010. It was jointly developed by General Motors along with Toyota, who manufactures the mechanically similar Toyota Matrix. Manufactured by the Toyota-GM joint venture NUMMI in Fremont, California, the Vibe succeeded the Chevrolet Prizm in production at NUMMI and like the Prizm, it was derived from the Toyota Corolla, making it the last of the GM and Toyota developed S-body cars.
From 2002 to 2004, a rebadged right-hand drive variant of the Vibe was exported as the Toyota Voltz to the Japanese domestic market. The Voltz was not popular in Japan and discontinued after two model years.
Production of the Vibe ended in 2009 with the discontinuation of the Pontiac brand and the closing of NUMMI under the General Motors Chapter 11 reorganization. Its twin, the Toyota Matrix, was in production for another three years for the American market and four years for the Canadian market, as the Matrix was manufactured by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada in Cambridge, Ontario, and was unaffected by NUMMI closing down operation.
First generation (2002)
The 2003–2006 Vibe was available in an economical base trim, an AWD mid-trim, and the more powerful GT sport trim.
Powertrains available for this car are a Toyota-built 1.8 Lstraight-416-valve engine producing 126 hp (94 kW) on the base model (manual or automatic transmission), 118 hp on the all-wheel drive model (automatic only), or a version with VVTL-i producing 164 hp (122 kW) for the GT (manual 6-speed only). The Vibe was at one time the most fuel efficient vehicle sold by GM in North America, but ceased to be the case with the revised United States Environmental Protection Agency testing procedures in 2008.
Although the Vibe and Matrix are similar designs, the two brands actually use several different components, which are brand-specific, for their heating and air conditioning systems. These components include the air conditioning compressor and related hoses, the heater hoses, the heater core, and the serpentine belt.
There were some minor changes between model years. The Vibe was first produced in 2002 and went on sale as a 2003 model. Power ratings for the first three model years were slightly higher, with the GT up to 180 hp (134 kW), the base model rated at 130 hp (97 kW), and the all-wheel drive model rated at 123 hp (92 kW). Engine power claims were decreased for 2006 as a result of Toyota's re-testing of its engines for the new Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) ratings standard. The GT and all-wheel-drive trims were discontinued for the 2007 model year due to poor sales and new federal emissions standards.
The front fascia was freshened in the 2005 model year. In an attempt to 'converge' the Pontiac look, the front grille was restyled to resemble the look of the Pontiac Solstice, also adopted by other vehicles in the Pontiac line. The 2003-2004 Vibes had a front grille more closely resembling the discontinued Pontiac Aztek.
First generation Vibe/Matrix/Corolla odometers do not have the ability to "roll over" 299,999 km or 299,999 mi. No recall or "fix" is currently available for this. Mileage must be kept track of manually until a solution is found.
The Toyota Voltz is a five-door hatchback that was marketed by Toyota from July 2002 to March 2004 in its home market of Japan. Manufactured by NUMMI alongside the Vibe, the Voltz was exported to Japan in place of the Toyota Matrix. In Japan, the model line was exclusive to Toyota Japanese dealerships called Toyota Netz Store.
With the exception of badging, the Voltz shared its exterior with the Vibe, including its Pontiac-designed twin front grilles. Along with the customary fitment of right-hand drive, the Voltz differed from the Vibe by sharing its interior design with the Matrix. With just over 10,000 units sold, Toyota ended sales of the Voltz with the Toyota Auris as its closest functional successor.
Second generation (2008)
Pontiac Vibe GT
The Vibe was redesigned, along with the Matrix, for the 2009 model year, and debuted at the December 2007 LA Auto Show. First deliveries to dealerships were posted on GM's Website in April 2008, with comments that initial sales were brisk. The first units were delivered to buyers in early March. "The new Vibe's design is sporty yet completely functional," according to Ron Aselton, chief designer. "Clean lines, minimal overhangs and wheels pushed to the corners give the vehicle a muscular stance."
The GT trim and AWD options return, and two new inline-four engines (Toyota's 2.4 litre 2AZ-FE was also used on the Camry (and the 2005 - 2008 RAV4) for the AWD and GT trims as well as optional on the base trim, and a new 1.8 litre 2ZR-FE standard on the base trim) are offered. This was also Pontiac's last new model and remained as the brand's only remaining car for the 2010 model year. GM ceased Vibe's production in August 2009.
The second generation FWD Vibes also offer computerized traction-control and anti-lock brakes. Rear disc brakes are standard on all models. Luggage racks are no longer standard order. Power output for the 1.8-litre is 132 hp (98 kW). Power output for the 2.4-litre is 158 hp (118 kW) at 5600 rpm and 162 lb⋅ft (220 N⋅m) at 4000 rpm.
The Vibe offers 91.4 cubic feet (2.59 m3) of passenger volume (all seats up) and 20.1 cubic feet (0.57 m3) of cargo volume, for a total of 111.5 cubic feet (3.16 m3) with rear seats that fold completely flat. The cargo area is 30 inches (760 mm) high and 40 inches (1,000 mm) wide, which is large enough to accommodate a standard-sized, North American washing machine or clothes dryer with enough extra room for an appliance dolly.
On April 27, 2009, GM announced the discontinuation of Vibe production, as well as all other Pontiac models, by the end of 2010. It was later announced that Vibe production would end in August 2009, and the last Vibe left the assembly line on August 17, 2009, according to a source at genvibe.com. This left Toyota with a major problem as they had to scramble to relocate some of the tooling that was jointly used to produce the Matrix in another factory.
GM did not initially produce a compact hatchback to succeed the Pontiac Vibe, choosing to bracket it with the Chevrolet Sonic hatchback and Buick Encore small crossover. In Canada, GM followed the Vibe with the larger Chevrolet Orlandocompact MPV, which replaced the Chevrolet HHR. Chevrolet introduced a hatchback version of the Chevrolet Cruze to North America in 2016.
In January 2010, Autoblog.com reported that the 2009 and 2010 model year Pontiac Vibes are also included in the 2009–2010 Toyota vehicle recalls related to unintended acceleration due to shared components with the Toyota Matrix. Another recall for the Vibe was issued in the Fall of 2009 due to floormat interference with the accelerator pedals. This is also part of the Toyota recall.
On August 26, 2010, another recall was issued for 2005 to 2008 model year Vibes, equipped with the 1ZZ-FE engine and two-wheel drive. The recall notices states that an improperly manufactured Engine Control Module (ECM) can develop a crack in its circuitry, potentially causing the "Check Engine" light to illuminate, harsh shifting, and stalling and/or failure of the engine to start.
In mid October 2014 the Vibe along with the Saab 9-2x was recalled due to the faulty Takata airbags supplied from the large airbag supplier company. It is undetermined how many Vibes have been recalled.
- ^"Odometer Dies at 299,999 km". wheels.ca. October 13, 2007.
- ^"NUMMI Quick Facts". 2010-04-07. Archived from the original on 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
- ^"GM Reports 282,732 Deliveries in March; 805,720 In First Quarter" (Press release). GM. April 1, 2008. Archived from the original on July 1, 2012.
- ^Nuñez, Alex (October 9, 2007). "Leaked Officially Official: 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT". Autoblog.
- ^Garrett, Jerry (June 23, 2009). "G.M. to End Pontiac Vibe Production in August". The New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
- ^Wert, Ray (April 27, 2009). "Pontiac Vibe, Solstice Are Dead, Won't Live On As Chevys". Jalopnik.com. Retrieved April 27, 2009.
- ^Wert, Frank (June 18, 2009). "Bye-Bye Vibe". The Truth About Cars. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
- ^Lorio, Joe (June 22, 2015). "2016 Chevy Cruze Will Also Be Available as a Hatchback in U.S."Car and Driver. US. Archived from the original on June 23, 2015. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
- ^"GM Statement on Pontiac Vibe Recalls"(PDF). pontiac.com. Archived from the original(PDF) on July 15, 2011. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
- ^Don't Forget Me! Pontiac Vibe also included in Toyota recall January 25, 2010, Web site accessed January 29, 2010.
- ^Pedal complaints reach recalled VibesDetroit News.[dead link]
- ^"The Takata Airbag Safety Recall and How it Affects Your General Motors Vehicle".
- ^ abcdefghijklmnopCain, Timothy (June 29, 2013). "Pontiac Vibe Sales Figures". Good Car Bad Car. US. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
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