2008 Pontiac Vibe

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2008 Pontiac Vibe Review

By KBB.com Editors

A joint venture between General Motors and Toyota, the 2008 Pontiac Vibe shares most of its parts with the Toyota Matrix. The Vibe offers customers a sporty small wagon wrapped in distinctive Pontiac sheetmetal at a price that fits just about any budget. The front-wheel drive Vibe compares favorably with newer competitors, offering the same economy and versatility as the MAZDA3 and Volkswagen Rabbit but with a higher seating position and a more durable cargo area.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2008 Pontiac Vibe is stylish, affordable and roomy. It uses the same basic chassis as the Toyota Matrix, but its design is more mainstream. The Vibe's hard plastic cargo floor and 115-volt outlet make it perfect for those with active lifestyles.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 1.8-liter engine does not have much low-end torque, meaning off-the line acceleration is somewhat tepid, even when coupled to the five-speed manual transmission.

What's New for 2008

A tire pressure monitoring system joins the Vibe's list of standard equipment.

Driving the Vibe
Driving Impressions

On the road, the 2008 Pontiac Vibe rides and handles like a small sports car. The steering response is direct and linear, with no trace of torque steer. The Vibe...

... is tightly sprung, so it does not lean, roll or pitch like a tall wagon, yet somehow it returns a pleasantly smooth ride. When equipped with bigger wheels and tires, the ride is somewhat diminished, but is still well within the comfortable zone.

Console-Mounted 115-Volt Outlet
The Vibe's console-mounted 115-volt outlet allows you to plug in accessories without the need for a 12-volt adaptor.

Rear Track Tie-Downs
Rear track tie-downs help keep cargo in place.

2008 Pontiac Vibe Details

Inside, the Vibe is loaded with visual eye-candy, from the pod-mounted center shifter to the stylish aluminum dash trim and glowing orange instrumentation. The driver's seat height is adjustable, as is the steering wheel, making it easy for drivers of all shapes and sizes to find a comfortable perch. The Vibe's long rear doors make it possible to exit and enter without bumping into the doorframe, and there is a good deal of real useable space behind the second row seat. One really nice feature is the flush-folding passenger seat that can serve as a level workspace, a place to lay out your lunch or just make room for your surfboard.


The racy 2008 Pontiac Vibe looks more like a sporty coupe than a mini- SUV. Its tall doors are hidden by the upswept beltline and tapered roof that come together at the rear hatch to form a squat pillar. A built-in roof rack provides additional storage for bikes or skis. Pontiac has often been praised for its wheel designs, and the Vibe's optional 17-inch alloys are no exception.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2008 Pontiac Vibe has a five-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, rear defroster, illuminated entry, fog lights, automatic headlamp control, dual power mirrors, 115-volt outlet, AM/FM stereo with CD, tilt wheel, tachometer, full wheel covers and a rear wiper/washer.

Optional Equipment

Options include a four-speed automatic transmission, StabiliTrak, front head-curtain airbags, leather seats, power windows, power locks, keyless entry, cruise control, power glass sunroof, front side-impact airbags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), six-disc CD changer, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar, Monsoon 7 premium sound and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Under the Hood

Unfortunately, the 2008 Pontiac Vibe's 1.8-liter engine is not terribly quick, with only 126 horsepower on tap and not an abundance of torque. Fuel economy, on the other hand, is among the best in class, rated at 33 mpg on the highway when equipped with the five-speed manual.

1.8-liter in-line 4
126 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
122 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/33 (manual), 25/31 (automatic)

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