With a name like
Pontiac Vibe, the SUV-like compact hatchback was obviously designed with a younger market in mind. The Pontiac Vibe was a product of NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc.), a joint venture between General Motors and Toyota. The world got its first glimpse of the Vibe in the 2000 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Three more years were poured into its development before the Vibe finally hit car show rooms everywhere along with its twin, the Toyota Matrix (Toyota's version of the car).
2003: The Debut
As mentioned earlier, the Pontiac Vibe was intended for younger buyers. This aim was apparent in its aesthetics and features. For instance, the Vibe sported a rather relaxed yet athletic exterior that was definitely appealing to its target market. Its fastback-style roof greatly added to the kind of look that the model wanted to achieve.
The Pontiac Vibe was offered in three trim levels: base, AWD (all-wheel drive), and GT. The base wasn't equipped with any premium features. The AWD trim naturally received exclusive features that weren't found in its standard counterpart. Both trims used the same 1.8-L straight-four engine though. The GT trim was the one who benefitted from a more potent engine as it boasted of the 1.8-L Toyota ZZ motor (the upgraded version of the standard engine). On top of that, it also came with the complete set of the Vibe's premium features that included anti-lock brakes, GPS navigation, an anti-theft system, child safety door locks, a power window lockout switch, remote keyless entry, a deluxe audio system, an AM/FM stereo with CD player, and a DVD-based navigation system.
2009: The Second Coming
The Pontiac Vibe hardly saw any significant alterations in the following model years after its 2003 debut. That changed, of course, when its second generation arrived. Along with the Toyota Matrix, the Vibe was restyled to make it even more pleasing to the younger buyers. Its exterior was now composed of more aerodynamic parts and sleeker lighting elements. The interior received the same treatment as it appeared more polished all around. Mechanically, the base and the AWD trims retained the same engine, although it was modified to improve its capabilities. On the other hand, the GT model got an all-new engine in the 2.4-L Toyota AZ engine.
The second-generation Pontiac Vibe was certainly worth a purchase for those who are looking for an economical compact car. However, its run had to come to an abrupt end because the Pontiac brand itself was discontinued by General Motors. What's amazing though is that during Pontiac's last days, the Vibe was the only car left that's being sold. It's a testament to the success of the model.