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Toyota Matrix vs. Pontiac Vibe - Compare Notes



  • CapeCodCapeCod Posts: 117
    Has anyone found a good trunk liner for the Vibe ??? The hard surface is too slippery !
    Would prefer a light weight fabric...
    washable, rattle proof, etc....
    Am thinking of making by own !
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    sells a cargo mat for the Matrix for about $50 retail. It is washable, lightweight, rattle proof, and groceries will not slide around when it is installed. When you want the hard surface instead, you simply roll it up and stash it...

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

  • I am seriously considering the purchase of an AWD Matrix, but I live in north eastern CA, in the Sierra Nevadas (ever heard of the Donner Party??) and snowfall is considerable. I have alot of faith in the Matrix in most lousy-weather scenarios, but has anyone had to plow through deep snow in the thing? (12" or more). There will undoubtly be days when the town plow won't make it to my street before I do, and I'll be climbing up 5 miles (some @ 10% grade) in deep snow. I will be putting the best studded snow tires on my car and am a very experienced winter driver, but I'm concerned about the clearance of the Matrix. Anyone have real snow experience last winter (or this one, for that matter...) with their Matrix? Also, does the AWD do its job??
  • There probably won't be too many people who have had alot of experience in the snow in a Matrix as of yet as they came out about April of this year. However, from experience I have had driving AWD versions of the celica, camry, and corolla back when they did have them, a BIG determining factor for getting through the snow is clearance. Especially where the snow gets pretty deep. (I live in Buffalo, NY) The older camry's and corolla's had a pretty decent amount of clearance, and handled pretty well in the snow up to about 6" - 8" even when the typically shoddy plowing here in Buffalo wasn't keeping up with the snowfall. The AWD celicas back then didn't do quite as well.

    The good thing about the base or XR AWD Matrix is that it does not have all of the ground effects of the XRS model, so should do a bit better. Plus it has narrower, all season tires. From my experience, narrower treads tend to handle snow better as well. I would hazard to guess that it will do quite well especially if you get a snow-specific tire on it. There are many times when we're clearing the lot after a big snowfall overnight when our Landcruisers, 4-Runners and most of the other vehicles we have are stuck until we plow/shovel them out, but the RAV-4's just plow right through. The only time we've had most of them really stuck was last year when we had the 7 feet of snowfall in 48 hours. *LOL* and I don't think we can blame the vehicles for that. Hope this helps
  • zukhovzukhov Posts: 34
    A foot of snow or more. Ah...I haven't driven it in snow, but it sounds like you are in need of something different. Remember this vehicle is not permamnent 4 wheel drive. It kicks in when it detects a wheel slipping from start up. I'm sure it will be a trooper with the studded tires and all, but I'm not sure it will meet your demanding requirements.
  • Which is it? When we bought a 4WD Matrix the dealer said it was full-time 4WD rather than an AWD system like the Subaru system or the old Toyota All-Trac. The sales booklet say "full-time 4WD" -- which would be like the system in German cars.

    Ground clearance for the Matrix is listed at 5.9 inches. When my wife and I saw that figure, after we agreed to buy one, we were concerned that we would scrape on the bump at the end of our driveway. Our '94 Corolla has scraped when fully loaded, and our '87 Nova (aka CA-built Corolla) scraped regularly. But we haven't had a problem with the Matrix. Does anyone know what it is that only 5.9 inches from the ground?
  • The Matrix/Vibe is not 4WD. Generally 4wd operate one set of wheels (most common-rear) until the 4wd is activated manually, or recently automaticlly. Generally, 4wd feature a low range which is good for beaches or off road. Many AWD, such as the Subaur, feature full time four wheel power, split 50/50. Some systems allow for more power to the end with the best traction when needed. The Matrix/Vibe system is front wheel drive until slip is noticed at which point power is split 50/50 to the rear. When back under control, power returns to just the front.. So it is not 4WD, not a Subaru style AWD.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    the Toyota system is 90/10 front to rear in normal conditions, like Subaru automatics. The Subaru manuals use a different system that is 50/50 all the time. Both systems, and Toyota's too, wait until wheel slip is detected before transferring power between wheels, which makes them different from "real" 4WD, which is simply driving all four wheels the same all the time unless it has a Torsen center differential, like the new 4Runner does, in which case it can skew that power back and forth as needed, while maintaining 40/60 front to rear under normal conditions.

    The AWD Toyotas (currently RAV4, Matrix, Highlander) and the automatic Subarus use computer sensors to detect when wheels are slipping and then use an electronic clutch to divert more power to the wheels with grip. As such, they are reactive rather than proactive, and is certainly not full-time 4WD, in the sense it is used by the Germans for their cars.

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

  • So if the rear wheels are always receiving at least 10% of the drive power, the book technically is correct when it says Matrix has full time 4WD? I think this might be a better system, but it's amazing that a salesman would say it's the same system used by Audi and VW.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    but the AWD of this type is too slow to react to things such as, say, icy patches on the road. By the time the system reacts, you have passed the icy spot.

    OTOH it will certainly be enough to scramble up an icy driveway at your favorite ski resort!

    It is TOTALLY not the same as Audi's Quattro system with the Torsen center. That is a mechanical gear apportioning torque front to back, and operates fronts and rears near a 50/50 ratio depending on conditions.

    The advantage to the Toyota system is gas mileage, at the expense of a little 4WD traction.

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

  • CapeCod: Pontiac sells a rear cargo mat made out of rubber that covers the entire cargo area behind the front seats. It should help prevent stuff from sliding around. I've ordered one to keep my dogs from sliding around the back. Don't know if they have one for just the trunk area.

  • I need help in deciding to buy ether a vibe or Matrix? I would prefer the Matrix 4WD even though it will cost $2,000 more to purchase. The problum is that I can order the Vibe with the Nav System and no alloy wheels,on the Matrix according to the dealers I must take the Alloy wheels and the Nav system is not offered on the XR $4WD in this area.I Need advice.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Toyota options up its cars so that if you want one specific option, you have to buy a truckload of stuff you don't want.

    I know you can get base Matrix (wheel covers) with AWD, because I have seen some around. That may just be in my area of course.

    My advice would be to approach the biggest dealer in your area, and ask if they will either order you the car you want (long wait, not 100% guaranteed) or get you one from a dealer in another area where different option combos are available.

    But then, why not just get the Vibe? What is it about the Matrix that you prefer, and is it something you could live without?

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

  • The reason I would prefer Matrix over Vibe is because of the better resale and Matrix comes with Leather Wrappped Streeing wheel. Do You think the Nav system is the price?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    and I would prefer to save my money and use a map, but if you like that sort of thing, it seems to be comparably priced to other nav systems in other cars...

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

  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 118
    I wanted a cheap afford able car for commuting.

    I am a Toyota Fan, means Corolla was the choice.

    I like the Matrix for the usability of fold down etc - but this was too steep at an extra $2000+

    Things that changed my mind -

    1) $2000 from GM.

    2) $1050 off the MSRP (about $350 over Edmunds invoice of $18602, but about $50 over the dealer invoice at the place, which included advertising cost and some other BS which total about $300)

    3) $700 discount on options pkg, listed on sticker.

    MSRP was $20005.

    I will pay $18550.

    Base Vibe with:

    Auto Tranny

    Moons and Tunes

    Power pkg

    6 CD changer

    Aluminum wheels

    Side Air Bags

    They're adding in wheel locks and cargo net gratis.

    Working backwards:

    $20550 - $2000 cash rebate= $18550.

    Starting from $20550 -

    - $299 doc fee (here's their profit!!)

    - $159 tags, reg etc (I get back balance)

    $20092 - 6% tax = $18954.71

    Use $18954 for reference as to my price paid before Tax, Title Doc etc.

    Tax in my state is calculated on the $2000 cash as well.

    A previous deal was $900 under MSRP of $19100.

    (no al wheels and CD changer) But that car had 150 miles. We checked after the price was set.

    Note also GM increase prices recently. Base is up $25, option pkgs up $25 each; Al wheels $40 increase. Edmunds reflects new pricing. Older priced cars are still around - not sure when increase happened.

    If you've read this far, try this site -

    Test drive for yourself.

    Car and Driver comparo rated this 5th out of 6, not too good, in April(?), 2002 issue.

    Seats were an issue to them.

    My thoughts - a little under power, but so what.

    Good overall for the next 15 years.

  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 118
    If comparing with Toyota Matrix -
    Use $18954 for reference as to my price paid before Tax, Title Doc etc

    But don't forget GM's $2000 back.
  • The Matrix is for my wife who states that she has no sense of direction and a man would he would rather use a map and save the money!In addition the Toyota's extented warrenty has MSRP of $900.00 for the 7/75/0"0" deduct Platinim Plan vs GM's Major Guard Plan same coverage MSRP $2513.00. So Comparing The Matrix vs Vibe, Vibe is more expensive to own when comparing the true cost of ownership of both vehicles.
  • Have been told GMPP Major Guard 72/75 $0 when bought new for Vibe is $1,690 FWD and $1,790 AWD for a MSRP.
  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 118
    Was at the dealer yesterday to do the paperwork.
    Finance guy offered the usually "$2500" extended to 75K miles at a GM special price of $995.

    Check AAA plan for extended warranties - should be about $700.

    Friend just bought a Sienna van- extended warranty was asking $995, but came down to $850.

    Everything is negotiable....
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