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Toyota Matrix vs. Pontiac Vibe - Compare Notes

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Comments

  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 118
    they try to seperate - but we know they are GM.
    same for visteon = ford.
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    Well, you can know whatever you wish, but you would be wrong. Visteon is NOT Ford, and Delphi is NOT GM. Regardless of what you "know."

    Many people, to this day, "know" that Pepsi owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC. They, too, are wrong. YUM does. And YUM is not Pepsico, just as Visteon is not Ford and Delphi is not GM. These spin-offs have separate boards, employees and shareholders. They are NOT the same companies as their one time parents.
  • mikusmikus Posts: 109
    I totally agree, that standard 130hp engine does not have enough low-end torque for this heavy car (hefty 2700 lbs!). The high-revving Yamaha engine is not so high-revving as I would prefer, its high-output powerband is somewhere between 6000 and 8000, which is 1K narrower, than Prelude's 5000 to 8000. So, it is harder to keep engine in this zone. Anyway, it does not add low-end torque, so one have to polish their clutch disk in order to start fast. Also the shifter (both 5-speed and 6-speed) leaves something to desire. Ford's 5-speed linkage is surely sleeker and easier to operate, one of the best for front wheel drive.

    Ford's overall styling is nicer than both Matrix/Vibe, the only shortcomings are: hard dashboard plastic; too soft seatings, especially in the rear; no rear headrests (how it could get good safety scores?); folded seats are not even with trunk floor; trunk floor is trimmed with synt velour instead of hard plastic like Matrix (love this feature along with steel rails and hooks); no side pockets in the trunk or other compartments. I would say, that Ford drives a little bit on the comfort side, but not too cushy. I liked Ford ride better.

    NUMMI twins would be great, if not for weak base engine; ugly dashboard with Pontiac-style round-and-red instruments and afwul faux aluminum trim (hate it since my first Walkman with metallized finish); clunky shifter. I noticed really bad paint job (or just bad or rusty metal underneath) on one of the cars on the lot. It was on the lower portion of the right front door. This was so noticeable that I wonder how quality control did let it go.

    Matrix offers (do I have to say insists on having?) plastic skirt for XRS and you cannot have XRS without this boy-racer stuff (but you can unscrew it off, it is just bolt-on pieces). Vibe has plastic cladding which is also ugly. Hmm, Voltz is sold without the cladding and is built in Fremont, so maybe one can order Vibe without cladding.

    Also, I hate when I have to have CD/radio provided by car manufacturer. I have my own unit and would have to throw out stock one anyway. The best what Toyota/GM and also Ford (but theirs unit at least plays MP3s) can do is to provide "audio pre-setup", just wiring for head unit and speakers, so one could buy speakers and head unit whichever he/she likes.

    ABS is not standard in XXI century car -- this is just a shame! By the way, charging for black side window frames (not standard on base model, which has body-colored window frame and thus looks pretty bad) -- is a shame too.

    So, my verdict: I like Ford's styling and drivetrain and do not like hard plastic and less versatile trunk. Also, its recall history is not the biggest selling point. Matrix/Vibe would be good with 2.0 engine and dashboard from Corolla (also search on the internet for euro-spec Corolla hatchback, it is basically a Matrix twin and it has dashboard in olde Toyota style).

    WRX Wagon is damn good, but with invoice at about 24K it gets in another price range.

    Pontiac gives 2K cash on Vibe, but I would not consider Vibe until they strip off the cladding. Ford gives 2.5K now in San Diego area and this look like better deal, especially with better drivetrain.

    I can wait another year or so, maybe Toyota will add bigger engine or AWD with manual. Stuff they offer now is not for me.
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    You can get a Vibe without the cladding. They will charge you an extra $500 for the privilege.
  • mikusmikus Posts: 109
    Ha! How much would they charge for taking out the stereo? And I did not mention that I also do not like Pontiac swirl-style rims. Are they going to charge me too if I decided to replace them with standard steel ones?

    Nah, I do not like this kind of business model and mythical "generation Y" packaging. Look at the Aerio, maiden name Liana. Who decided to dress her in all that plastic crap? Possible answer: Either 70-year olds thinking that they should "go deep youth" or their 8-yr old grand-grand kids. Same thing with Mazda Protege5. Zoom-zoom...
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    I was QUITE serious. They charge EXTRA NOT to get it. Actually I see now the price has come down to about $280. And you still get the cladding, it just matches the colour of the car. At Toyota, there is NO delete option.
  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 118
    They call it monotone - one tone with the car.

    You get used to the plastic gray cladding - you start to notice others with it - mostly on SUV's.

    And the plastic is better against dings and minor scrapes...

    Personally, I prefer the plastic gray vs the paint - like the old days when bumpers were gray or metal, not that nice paint - which gets scrapped real easy in city bumper car parking techniques...
  • mikusmikus Posts: 109
    I prefer gray bumpers too, but I hate cladding _on top_ of steel sheetmetal. I can understand plastic wheel wells like on Ford Ka or like Honda Element. I do not like when they screw stuff _on top_. And I hate SUVs. No, not really SUVs themselves but their widespread adoption as a single-person mover.

    Anyway, I would like to have a [broader] choice, which I do not have with Vibe.
  • mikusmikus Posts: 109
    Today I drove Matrix again. Why? Because I really like this car. At least, some portions of the car. And I wanted to make myself to like it as a whole package. I drove XR, immediately followed by XRS. Too bad, my opinion is almost the same.

    Base engine does not have enough low-end torque and does not provide a lot of high-rev power. This can work for calm and relaxed driving, but do not even think about brisk accelerations or fast lane changes. Floor it on 4th and 3K rpm and get nothing. It is not only boring, it is unsafe. You might not manage to avoid a dangerous situation by making a fast lane change, so you have to think about the road conditions several turns ahead, which is good thing by itself, but may not help in that one very single bad moment.

    Yamaha powerplant feels livelier and provides a turbo-like boost after 6K rpm. But even hot shots sometimes need to relax. Too bad that emergency acceleration is even harder to perform on XRS than on XR. I will try to explain my point: XRS has 6-speed gearbox with closer gear ratios, so if you are cruising on 6th and need to jump really fast, it is not enough to shift of 5th, you need at least 4th. But the motion from 6th to 4th is not an easy and natural push like the one from 4th to 3rd or even from 5th to 4th on 5-speed gearbox, so you either miss the gear or lose the time trying to find the proper gate. Frustrating. And with this high-tech engine compact Matrix has just slightly better fuel economy than my V6 Camry. So, what’s the point? Maybe a Camry wagon would be just the “thing”? Oops, no wagons in current Camry lineup.

    Pedals are close to each other, clutch and brake are too close for my taste. I wonder how people from Midwest drive Matrix with stick, wearing winter boots. I had 9-1/2 shoes on during the drive test and I would prefer more room for my left foot.

    The steering wheel feedback is adequate but worse than on Protege5 which I drove yesterday. On Protege the steering wheel feels almost like computer joystick... err, "joy wheel". If you ever played computer car games with this device, you would understand what I am talking about. You can turn it 1/10 of an inch from neutral position and you feel immediate feedback. Release it and the wheel will return to neutral almost as if it had spring in it. What is really great, that a car moves along with a steering wheel immediately. Zoom-zoom, computer feeling. With Matrix the feel is smeared, you do not have this great straight line feedback as with Protege. I am not saying that it is bad, it is just not as good as it could be. The steering wheel feels filled with heaviness, not with responsiveness and sensitivity.

    The seats are pretty good. Road & Track found some differences between Matrix and Vibe seats and judged Vibe’s as superior. Don’t know about that. Anyway, I liked the seats, they are firm and relatively supportive. The rear seats are much better that on Focus and there is a lot of space in the rear, even for passengers’ feet under the front seats thanks to high driver seating. Alas, there was some electronic equipment under the driver’s seat which would not be quite welcomed by a passenger on the rear seat. I do not know what this equipment is, the dealer told me it is for the seat, but it had wires coming from it.

    So, in my opinion rear passenger space and the trunk are possibly the best selling point for the Matrix. It has hands down the best way to organize the luggage compartment: no need to fold rear seat cushions, no need to take off rear headrests, no efforts trying to find seatbelt buckles after you returned seats back to the normal position (one of Protégé quirks).

    Comparing to Matrix, Protégé is a nightmare. To prepare the trunk for a TV set or a bike one needs to pull seat cushions, fold them, take off headrests, and finally fold the seatback. Now one needs to find where to store the headrests and the old-fashioned two-piece trunk cover. Also, the side notion: because of the lower height and the lower seating position Protégé5 was the only compact car which required from me two motions to leave a car: first, I turned left and put my feet on the ground, and second, I pulled myself from a car (imagine yourself stepping from a bathtub). Matrix is more user-friendly.

    I am not going to whine again about weird dashboard, must-have underbody skirts on XRS and omission of green from the paint color scheme. It is just a matter of taste. But looking at 40-yr olds on the dealership, who liked Matrix versatility and were turned off by its funky interior makes me feel that I am not alone.

    I will probably add later some more about my experience with Protege5. In short: great for driving, complicated for hauling.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    "I will probably add later some more about my experience with Protege5."

    So we don't go off topic here, feel free to elaborate more about the Protege5... in our Toyota Matrix vs. Mazda Protege5 and/or Vibe/Matrix v. PT Cruiser v. ZX5 v. Protege5 v. Elantra GT v. Aerio SX discussions. Happy posting!
     
    Revka
    Hatchbacks & Wagons Host
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    when is the supercharger kit available for the base engine? I think both Toy and Pont will sell it dealer installed witha full warranty and hp torque jumps to 175/170 if I'm not mistaken.
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    Yeah, but at what RPM's is that? Pontiac doesn't offer an automatic with the larger engine because the torque is so high in the power band that they do not believe it useful with an automatic. And just try to find a Toyota so equipped.

    So. Anyone out there have a dealer installed factory authorized supercharger on a base Matrix/Vibe engine? Many of us would love to hear of your impressions. Would you do it again? What did it cost?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    seriously do it - I have the auto, so I could seriously use more power in some situations - but (1) it would ruin the great gas mileage, which was one of the biggest reasons I bought the car, and (2) I would be afraid of the deleterious effects on the transmission.

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

  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    the power gain is supposedly greatest down low but is quite good across all rpm ranges. Lots more grunt than the base and GT.

    torque, horsepower, the whole deal.
  • joee1joee1 Posts: 16
    The cargo volume for the Vibe is listed at 19.3 cu.ft and the cargo volume for the Matrix is list at 21.8 cu.ft.

    Does anyone know why?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    an ad in a magazine that listed cargo room at 53 cubic feet, which I assume is with the back seats down, and personally I find that easier to belive in such a large hatchback, than 21.8.

    The ad was from Toyota.

    perhaps all that Pontiac cladding reduces cargo room??!!

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

  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    A business executive?

    What's wrong with a teenager? A housewife? A farmer? An author? An attorney? A skateboarder?

    johnclineii, who found the business executive comment rubbed him the wrong way (and who is probably close to the demographic you seek, but would be very unlikely to talk to someone with such narrow goals)
  • rob139rob139 Posts: 5
    I just wanted to post my thoughts on my Vibe GT. As far as the engine goes it does lack a little low end grunt. However, I have had it for 6 months now and have come to really enjoy letting the rpms soar to 8500 and really feel the cams kick into line at 6000 rpm. In city driving its not available, most useful in 2 and 3 gear. However, this is a car you can drive exclusively in 2 gear. On ramps will never be the same... The engine has a fantastic throaty growl. Power is adequate below 6000, just not exhilarating.
      As for the 6 speed shifter, i like it. its no honda or mazda buttery smooth, but it has great precise short throws. Skip shifting is the rule more often than not.
       The space is phenomenol- it is quite versatile. I have a dog and the hatch is great, and back seats have great head and leg room. I love the shifter position, but the emergency brake is a pain with the standard, especially if you have drinks in cup holders.
       I have abs and moons and tunes, both i would reccomend.
       As for styling, its subjective. I liked the gray cladding more than the monotone, or matrix. I feel it looks less racer-boyish. The matrix ofter reminds me of the suzuki aerio (an ugly car). I do like the nose of the matrix better, but otherwise give styling nod to pontiac.
      the interior i like. I find the gauges easy to use, and appealing. Great tall seating position, a bit odd for a performance car. But it does NOT effect the cornering. The car cuts up the road. Sports suspension is a bit rough at times, but better that than body roll.
       Comparison wise I have a dog, a wife, and soon a baby. This car met all my needs, with the promise of toyota reliability (NUMMI has been outstanding traditionally). Mileage adequate about 27-28. I do hate to shell out $$ for premium.
       Lastly the incentives made me act. I got o down o% 5 yr financing. I have a gm card and had 2800 in addition taken off price. I have been waiting for 7 yrs for a gm vehicle i liked to enough to use the gm dollars and vibe hit the spot.
        PS for those of you looking to shell out 80 bucks for matt in back. I went to home depot, bought a small rug with rubbery back side, then cut out with an exacto knife dimensions of trunk. This looks better, fits snugger, saves $$, and my dog can now sit in back w/o slipping.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    and thanks for your message. I'm sure others passing through here will appreciate your detailed notes.

    You may also be interested in our Pontiac Vibe discussion, where you can meet other Vibe owners/enthusiasts. Happy motoring!

    Revka
    Host
    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    he, he, ,he....I did the same thing with my Vibe too Rob, except my rug is from Wal Mart.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    to know if anyone can confirm that there will be white, back-lit gauges (as opposed to the red ones currently) in the '04 models when they roll out later this year. If this is the case and they can be retrofitted to the '03, I am prepared to shell out some substantial $$ to make this change.

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

  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    I posted about this somewhere (maybe a matrix forum). The picture the dealers have been shown for the 2004 gages, gives the appearance of a more traditional numbered background back lighted in red. The chrome rings look the same. It would be easy for a manufacturer to redesign the faces, so for now it can be assumed that the size, shape and body are the same. GM dealers send out their gages for repairs, so a dealer may not know if the update is possible. Production starts the first week of May, so soon we will see. Oh, the odometer/temp section does look white compared to the current orange. Perhaps you can do a online search for instrument panel repairs and find a source.
  • Hi all, I'm considering buying a Vibe AWD within the next week or so, and just have a question about the optional security system. I'm trying to find a unit already equipped the way I want (since I'd rather not special-order the vehicle), which is with the side-impact air bags, "Moon and Tunes", power group package, and aluminum wheels. In my area, the vehicles that have the air bags tend also to come with either the monotone appearance package OR the security system. Of the two, I would prefer the security system (as I actually like the standard charcoal cladding, like Luzer and rob139 above), AS LONG AS it can be turned off and back on again at will. Does anyone know if this is the case, or if it is always on no matter what I do?

    Thanks in advance! :)
  • scottdudescottdude Posts: 177
    For all you Vibe and Matrix owners: is there a rear cargo cover available as an add-on from somewhere? I'm interested in a Vibe and did not see this option available on the GM accessory site.

    I'm concerned about leaving packages, luggage, etc. in the back uncovered. If no cover is available, what do you do? Tint the rear windows? Use a blanket? Don't leave anything of value in the back?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    has this cargo cover that clips in place, and rolls up and gets tossed aside when you are not using it. It clips to those hooks you see halfway up the cargo area walls. I don't know about Pontiac, of course, but I am positive the Toyota dealer would sell you one, and it would fit in the Vibe as well.

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

  • mailman54mailman54 Posts: 111
    Vibe has the same type rear cargo cover as the Matrix. It comes with the car. You don't need to buy it as an accessory. My wife has the base model and it even came with it.

    Mailman
  • scottdudescottdude Posts: 177
    I guess I missed seeing the cargo cover when I checked out the Vibe. I'll look again when I do the GM 24 hour test drive.

    By the way, I saw the new 2004 instrument panel and it looks great! The numbers are a light blue and the other markings are orange/red. I like this much better than the 2003 panel.
  • carbonnicarbonni Posts: 33
    I am researching the '03 Vibe AWD. Can anybody tell me, does the owner's manual specify 3-month/ 3000-mile maintenance intervals (oil changes, etc)? Same for the Matrix?
  • jmcknight2jmcknight2 Posts: 47
    - My 2003 Vibe AWD owner's manual says 7500 mile oil & filter changes, but 3,000 mile intervals for "short trip" driving. 7500 - mile intervals are pretty much for mainly highway driving, according to the manual. The Vibe AWD is an impressive vehicle, by the way. A little more power would be nice, but it's adequate for me.
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