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Toyota Matrix vs. Pontiac Vibe - Compare Notes

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Worlds apart. My car is a Matrix, not a Vibe, but I have driven the Caliber now (with the very annoying CVT no less), and there is just no comparison between the two. The Vibe may cost a little more in the real world, I'm not sure, but it is so much nicer in every way, it's worth the extra grand or whatever.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Just over a year ago I decided it was time to get rid of my old beater car and find something new. I had never purchased or leased a new car before and decided it was about time to start. I had a few requirements I wanted filled when looking: Standard (wanted to learn), sporty looking, fairly fuel efficent, had some "spunk", large cargo room for everything that seems to be to big to move in a conventional car when you are a home owner, and it also needed to fit a large dog crate (folded), for my large dog, without needing to put down a seat to do it.

    I considered many options including the caliber (which simply wasn't wide enough on the rear interior for the crate), and Honda Fit (which surprisingly met all the requirments I had set out other then the looks and spunk.

    That left the Matrix and Vibe as the final considerations, and in all fairness I had seen the Matrix first and had practically fallen in love with it before I even looked at the Vibe. However my opinion of the Vibe was it had a bit to much plastic on it and I really prefered the way the Matrix side windows flowed to the back window. After a year's option of buyers remorse I still am VERY happy with my final choice and would have made the same one again knowing what I know now.

    Final Decision: Radient Red '06 Matrix XRS
    Additional features added at time of purchase: Electronic rust protector, Ipod interface, Roof Spoiler, Winter Car Mats.

    Since then: First I didn't actually own a Ipod at the time of purchase of this car and was for some reason assuming that I could use other types of mps players, that was an error, so it gave me a good excuse to buy an Ipod which I had been considering anyways. I borrowed a few otherones first and to my dissappointment I couldn't get the interface to detect them (trying both a standard and Nano).
    I went to the dealership with the issue and it was decided that the interface wouldn't work with the 6-cd changer deck that came standard with the XRS so as I cared more about playing MP3's over have 6 cd's in (which worked alright while I had it by the way) I asked them to instead give me a credit for the interface. I planned on pulling the deck and getting an aftermarket one so I talked to a service guy and got the old deck replaced with a lower model (as I was not planning on using it anyways) and he threw in a rubber cargo mat (which I love by the way and would suggest this).

    After searching I decided on this deck http://jvcmobile.co.uk/product.php?pr=27 by JVC (KD-G721) as it matched the red interior lighting and did everything I wanted coupled with the factory suggested ipod interface for it, which works VERY well in my opinon.

    I recently also tinted the windows which made it look even better.

    Problems I had:
    Over the past year I have had a few problems beyond the Ipod interface. First, the car is fairly light and with the 17" tires it does not handle snow conditions well with the current tires. I was expecting this however as my brother has a Mazda 3 coupe and had the same issue the year earlier (so I think it has more to do with that general style of car and the 17" tires)

    I also had an issue with the rust inhibitor continually falling off for the first little while (the double sided tape they used apparently wasn't holding)

    Additionally, I had a rattle in the muffler which required them to change out and tighten a few brackets for it.

    All of the above were either somewhat expected or fairly minor issues. The only one I am still a bit concerned about is during last winter I had two instances of powerloss within a few days time to nearly the entire car unexpectedly within about 5 minutes of driving from initial start up, usually after it had sat for a long period of time. The issue went away and they never did find the problem as they couldn't get it to repeat the problem at the dealership after multiple attempts nor find any reasons that may have caused it after multiple tests. So I am interested to see if it comes back this winter.

    My overall feelings about the car:

    I love it, it looks great, is fun to drive, is fairly efficent on gas (despite the fact I use premium fuel in it as it suggests), has excellent cargo capacity when I need it (I moved a full sized teachers desk inside it with the hatch nearly closed and I have yet to not be able to get anything I wanted home in it since I bought it), and handles well. I would buy the same car again if I was to go back. I even picked up a matching die cast version of it in red to show my future children what "dad's first new car" was in 25 or so years!
  • pdrakepdrake Posts: 10
    I finally got my Vibe Gt back last Friday. I drove the Dodge Caliber rental for 5 weeks.In all fairness I want to point out that the Caliber didnt have many options and my Vibe has almost every option. Good things about the Caliber are - looks :alot of people like it - good power:the engine is pretty strong and delivers great gas milage the automatic transmision shifts at strange rpm ranges though. The interior space is less than a Vibe. I like the steering wheel arangement of the Caliber also. I think the Vibe should be offered with a bigger engine like the Caliber (2.4L I think)
    By the way my Vibe probably should have been totaled as the final price to fix it came to around $14,0000. The body shop waited for some of the parts from GM for over a month and they finally called the Toyota dealership and recieved the parts they needed in 1 day! To me this just reinforces the idea that the Vibe is mostly a Toyota and not much of a GM product at all.
  • A made to fit existing welded nut holes trailer hitch is available on eBay for about $100 plus about $15 shipping.
  • wtd44wtd44 Posts: 1,211
    I do not recall what first caused me to be interested in the Vibe/Matrix, but when the near by Pontiac dealer had some 2009 AWD models arrive, I decided to check them out. Here in the Rocky Mountains, all wheel drive is a very valuable asset. I compared the Vibe and Matrix AWD "twins", and analyzed the deal available on each in my vicinity. The Vibe simply had the upper hand when all factors of interest to me were considered. I bought a white one after a lot of negotiating involving trading in my 2004 Jeep GC. It all worked out, and the Pontiac dealer wanted my business more than did the Toyota dealer. Done deal. :shades:
  • chz939chz939 Posts: 2
    I got my new vibe last July. I found lots rusting dots around the rim of the car.
    Did anyone have this problem before? Would the warranty cover it?
    Also, my vibe's brake is very heavy, I mean I need to push it very hard to make a rapid stop.
    I am satisfactory with this car other than these problems.
  • renatelrenatel Posts: 9
    I am pretty sure the rusting is covered under warranty.As for the brakes take it to a brake shop and find out.If its the master cylinder,its probably covered.If its the pads,shoes or wear and tear items then probably not.
  • chz939chz939 Posts: 2
    Thanks!
    Actually they are stains like rusts. I already scratch most of the stains with my nails.
    The brake is fine now. I had it checked today. The technician suggested that it might be due to the extra pad.
  • The Vibe is supossed to be a cheaper version to the Matrix. They have the same engine as does Corolla. Where I'm from, the Vibe is actually a Toyota Voltz and is priced a little less than the Matrix. I think the matrix looks better, but both are very reliable cars of course. As we all know Toyota is tops for reliability....
  • A reporter hopes to interview one of the few people who bought a new Pontiac recently. Please send your daytime contact info to pr@edmunds.com by Thursday, October 21, 2010.
    Thanks,
    Jeannine Fallon
    Corporate Communications
    Edmunds.com

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • The rust around the sides of the car/rims is caused by brake dust sticking to the side of the car/ rims. This is a minor problem just take it to your dealership and they will buff the marks off.
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