The Pontiac Vibe is the same basic car as the Toyota Matrix, down to the body style, instrument cluster design, and materials. Key differences lie in the technology. Where Toyota offers an in-dash navigation system and a JBL premium stereo, Pontiac has OnStar and a Monsoon stereo.
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The GT is the sport model of the Vibe. Other trims are the 1.8L, 2.4L, and AWD. Each lesser trim only comes with a four speaker stereo, and a few different drivetrain options.
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The Vibe GT's standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces 158 horsepower. The Vibe is also available in non-GT trim with a 1.8-liter four cylinder engine producing 132 horsepower. With the Vibe GT, we averaged more 28 mpg for a freeway-heavy road trip.
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The Vibe GT has this stabilizer bar under the hood, which should give the car more rigidity in the turns. But the car has a fairly high center of gravity, so we weren't inclined to throw it really hard around the corners.
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The Vibe GT has a fairly high stance, affording a comfortable upright seating position for the passengers. With five doors, it could be described as a short wagon or a big hatchback.
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The Vibe GT uses an independent front suspension and rear double wishbone. It's not the most comfortable ride, and we heard plenty of road noise.
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The ample cargo area is covered in a hard plastic, protecting it from a variety of objects and spillage.
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The dashboard in the Vibe GT is simple, yet functional. Tech options are lean, though, consisting of the stereo system and OnStar, with no in-dash navigation or Bluetooth.
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We like that there are audio controls on the steering wheel, something we didn't have on the Toyota Matrix we tested.
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The Vibe and Matrix share a parts bin for the instrument cluster, down to the shapes of the bezels and the little monochrome LCD screen.
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We had a solid-feeling five speed manual transmission in our car, and a five speed automatic is available at this trim. At lesser trims, a four-speed automatic transmission is available.
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The mirror bezel holds buttons to connect to an OnStar operator or use the OnStar phone service. We were impressed with the navigation service, which amounts to the operator reading out a list of directions.
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XM satellite radio is available in the Vibe, and we like how this tabbed display makes it easy to select channels by category.
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After inserting an MP3 CD, you can tell the stereo to scan it. After it finishes this process, you can select music off the CD by artist, album, and genre.
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With an unscanned MP3 CD in the player, you can use the tab to go back and forth through the folders on the disc.
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The Monsoon audio system, a GM brand, includes a graphic equalizer with presets for different types of music.
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The Vibe GT gets the premium Monsoon audio system standard. It includes a 320 watt amp and seven speakers, including this subwoofer.
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An AC power outlet comes standard in the Vibe as well. We tested it in the Matrix by recharging a laptop and media player.
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