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Toyota Matrix vs. Pontiac Vibe - Compare Notes



  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Posts: 469
    When the Matrix was first introduced, people in this forum commented that the interior design was GM and that the engine and other mechanical components were Toyota. The Matrix is built in Ontario, while the Vibe is built in Fremont, California. A year or two ago there were complaints about the paint on Vibes, and I would suggest going back through previous posts to see what other issues there might be with the finishing details on Vibes that you don't have on the Matrix. There also have been issues with how Toyota responded differently than GM did to problems. One issue I experienced first-hand was with the headlight sensor in the dashboard, which on vehicles sold for a few months in 2002 was overly sensitive and resulted in frequent switching from running lights to headlights and back again. Toyota issued a service bulletin that took care of the problem (though I did have to argue with the service technicians at my dealership who claimed it wouldn't solve the problem), but to my knowledge GM never did the same thing for Vibe owners. I do know people, though, who have had good luck with Vibes and who have been very happy with the car.
  • jstant01jstant01 Posts: 65
    I have a 2005 Vibe. I understand your concern completely. I bought the Vibe for two reasons - GM had employee pricing for everyone at the time, and the car was mostly Toyota. I also wanted to support an "American" company, if possible. I had my sights on a Corolla or Civic until I saw the Vibe.

    Anyhow, to answer your question - from all the reading I have done in several Forums, it is my understanding that the Vibe is entirely a Toyota mechanically. That means, the engine, the suspension, the controls, and all the other parts you mentioned. GM's role was limited to the styling of the vehicle. In other words, it was "engineered" by GM but built with all Toyota parts.

    I did hear a rumor that I was never able to corroborate that perhaps the Engine Control system (i.e. "computer") was GM's as well. However, I don't think that would make sense, since it would be controlling a Toyota engine.

    The Vibe has rated "better than average" for all of its production years thus far with Consumer Reports. I believe that puts it at the top of the pack as far as "GM" models go.

    Mine has been trouble-free, except for a periodic "weird" starting problem. Sometimes it doesn't like to fire up right away on a warm re-start. If you read through the maintainence and repair forums, you'll see others have had the same issue. However, it's never left me stranded, and does always start up eventually.

    For the deal coming your way, I would take it in a heartbeat. The Vibe is an excellent product. I haven't heard or read anything about early failure on any of it's parts or components.
  • roy15roy15 Posts: 16
    Ronald 711, my owners manual says auto tranny made in Japan
    I'm not sure about the rest but i think at least suspension & tires are made in U.S. Too much uneven wear on rear tires too soon. I would have bought a Matrix rather than my 04 Vibe, but I didn't want to be bottoming out with the low rider rockerpanels.
  • ronald711ronald711 Posts: 44
    Thanks for your input, you know the starting problem you are referring to? I just wanted to go on record, I did an overnight in a Corolla before I looked at the Vobe, and I had 2 instances where the Corolla didn't start on the first or 2nd try, I was concerned, but then it did it on another corolla (different model), and I just think its something goofy, it eventually starts if you just crank it longer, it seems completely normal for a toyota to do this.. It sounds like if this is the problem people are having, then Im not too concerned. I am very very close to purchasing the Vibe. My thought as much as I would like 39 mpg out of a Yaris, the vibe is 10X more what I want only a little over $1000 more, and I can get this paid off in 3 years, and the Yaris will still be around then and be a nice 2nd vehicle. to offset my high mileage.
  • ronald711ronald711 Posts: 44
    I had an 06 vibe for an hour from the dealership tonight I took the 4 bolts and lifted up the center console. there is a connector for powering the outlet already mounted with power, just have to buy the accessory, Im assuming if you cant get it through Pontiac, you would be able to get it via Toyota as the Matrix has this feature, and I bet it possibly may be the same mounting... Ron
  • nanc3nanc3 Posts: 8
    Ron, I've had my Vibe two weeks and several times I had to turn the key two or three (or four!) times to start the car. I'm not concerned; I think it is just different than my old car, which doesn't need me to hold the key in the Start position. Or maybe it's because it is in a different location and therefore has a different hand motion. My son said, "Mom, you just need to hold the key until it starts. How hard is that?"
  • jackpot2jackpot2 Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 xrs Matrix with 17in wheels also I have 2004
    Pont. Vibe standard model with 16in steel wheels. question is can I swap wheeles between the two? :confuse:
  • capitanocapitano Posts: 509
    Check Tirerack to do the circumference calculations based on your tire/wheel combos. You can switch them, but unless they are close in size your mileage and speedo will be off.

    It would be the same thing as putting aftermarket wheels on either car.
  • pdrakepdrake Posts: 10
    I have an article from MANUFACTURING ENGINERING magazine from last September. The Vibe and Toyota Tundra are made in the same factory in California. The plant manager is quoted as saying " like all other NUMMI plants that I have been involved with NOTHING except for shareholding is GM everything is TOYOTA made and engineered". If anyone is interested in this article I will see if you can read the entire article (through backlog perhaps). GM has NOTHING to do with the VIBE except for shares....
  • mikey00mikey00 Posts: 462
    First thing that comes to mind is the radio. If you check your radio you will see that the NUMMI plant in California is installing GM radios in the Vibes. I suspect some other electronics as well. Also note that Matrix has engine imobilizer and Vibe does not. Another thing to note is the Vibes painted at the NUMMI plant in California have serious paint quality issues in 03, 04, 05 and I am assuming it still exists for 06. The Matrix is painted in Canada and does not have the same paint quality issues.
  • templertempler Posts: 7
    If the Matrix and the Vibe are twins, will the roof rack on the Vibe fit on the Matrix. It was the same way on the Isuzu Rodeo and the Honda Passport. To top it off on the Yakima roof rack system runs about $350.00.
  • templertempler Posts: 7
    If the Matrix and the Vibe are twins, will the roof rack on the Vibe fit on the Matrix. It was the same way on the Isuzu Rodeo and the Honda Passport. To top it off on the Yakima roof rack system runs about $350.00
  • Answer in a word: No.

    The top of the Vibe hatch is shaped a bit differently than the Matrix hatch to allow for the hatch opening without interference from the roof rack.

    I checked into this with our 2003 Matrix because I wanted a roof rack but agreed with my wife that the Matrix was the better choice for us than the Vibe. Check the design for your model year Matrix, but I suspect the situation is the same as for the 2003s.
  • igo2xsigo2xs Posts: 1
    :confuse: Call me picky, crazy, what have you! I would like to know if it would be possible to replace the center console in my 2005 Vibe with one from a 2005 Matrix (ie A/C Control, Rear Defroster button, Clock)? Judging from the photos of the two, they seem pretty well matched. If I went to a Toyota dealership, would they do it? It would a great mod and certainly make my Vibe unique! Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.
  • 350sb350sb Posts: 1
    I'm just starting the Vibe Matrix thing and wondered if someone could direct me to some kind of a comparison of equipment VS price. Thanks
  • The Vibe and Toyota Tundra are made in the same factory in California.


    The Tundra is built in Indiana and soon to be Texas. I'm sure you meant the Tacoma, right?
  • Hi,
    I am down to the wire on these two cars and was slightly surprised to see the crash test ratings are different. Does anyone know why? Per Edmunds, the passenger safety on the VIBE is Good VS. Excellent on the Matrix. Does this mean GM did something cheaper with the body?
  • This reminds me of the Geo Prizm and Corolla. Same car, but one was listed by some reviewers as compact and the other as mid-size.

    I have heard about GM being cheap with the paint. Not a safety item, but you probably will want to check to see if the Vibe paint issues have been resolved.
  • Hi Roy,

    I'm researching possibilites of a class action on the uneven tire wear issue on the Matrix. We bought an '06 and notice the wear at 200 mi. I can't believe there isn't any recall information - our service center mechanic out here said this is normal for this car - what did you do about your tire wear?
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,411
    class action on the uneven tire wear issue

    I'm guessing this is not a joke...

    Uneven tire wear comes from worn suspension parts or poor alignment. Cars are often not well aligned when they roll off the assembly line.

    You need a mechanic, not a lawyer.

    FWIW, my '04 Vibe ran its lousy OEM tires down in 27k miles. And it did so very evenly.

    It had a couple other niggling things wrong with it that the dealer fixed. Life with cars is like that.

    A law suit over tire wear....??? Nuts.

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