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Toyota Matrix vs. Pontiac Vibe - Compare Notes

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  • The only thing I noticed about tire wear on my matrix was that pretty much all of the wear occurs in the front.
  • Thanks for the input. I am a professional mechanic - 25 yrs - aviation - the tire pressure monitoring system on the "Matrix" not VIBE is a copy from the Airbus aircraft. Of course before I was an aircraft mechanic I was and still practice auto maintenance. I think either the factory specifications are wrong or the bushings in the suspension system are made not made to the engineers elasticity specification or they need a stiffer composition.

    Back to the issue - the "professional" mechanics at the dealership have had this car in their shop 6 times; each time they were asked to address the tire wear, each time they stated there is nothing wrong.

    You be the judge - the inner most tread band of all the tires is 1/4 lower and feathered with the rear tires wearing worse than the front. To boot - the tire noise while driving is so loud you can't hear the engine.

    Call the tire manufactures or read a newspaper ad - the tires are made to run a lot longer than 15 to 20K. We have met several people at gas pumps who have tried all brands of tires - no improvement to wear on their vehicles.

    Lastly you should know - aggressive tire wear increases suspension system wear and heat stress on the tire - just like low tire pressure - increasing the probability of other less common tire failure. Forget about the reduced life of the suspension system - you can just buy extra warranty and tires - that's what you expected when you bought the car right? It must take less gas to wear out tires prematurely anyway - correct?

    I just don't find it acceptable for dealership mechanics and customer service people to look me square in the eye and say abnormal tire wear is acceptable for 'this' car.

    -M
  • You can double check the accuracy of your tire pressure with manual checks.

    sounds normal from alot of cornering (city driving?) - rotate your tires every oil change or every other oil change.

    Thanks for weighing in.

    -M
  • Where is the Vibe made, and which parts are Toyota or GM?
  • Vibe is made in Fremont, California. Same factory also makes the Voltz version of the vehicle that is exported to Japan. There's been some discussion and some disagreement in this forum about how much of the vehicle is Toyota and how much is GM.
  • I bought a 2003 Matrix when that were first produced. The matrix in the same configuration as the Mazda 5 (at that time - 2003) was $1000 more expensive than the Matrix. I tried to get a Vibe since I wanted roof racks but the Pontiac dealer did not reply to my email.
    After three accidents, none of which were my fault and all paid for by insurance and repaired at the Pontiac dealer the car was looking a bit worn and making some noises that I did not like. So I decided to get another - Matrix or Vibe. I tried a used car dealer but the trade value for my 2003 Matrix XR was set at $9000. (Black book value is about $15000)
    The Pontiac dealer offered only $8000 in trade for a 2006 Vibe, with a $1000 off the price of the Vibe, so effectively they were giving me $9000 on the trade.
    Toyota offered $11000 on trade if I got a 2007 model.
    I really like the car so decided to get the new 2007 Matrix.
    I was pleased to see that the instrumentation has been improved and that the center console on the Matrix has not been cheapened as it has on the Vibe - what else has Pontiac cheapened?
    But I was disappointed that Matrix has not fixed the Map light switch on the mirror thing. These map light switches are push button type and are easily turned on when adjusting the mirror, and during the day one does not notice that the light is on so it stays on. Eventually the light burned out because it had been left on so often.
    I would also like to see the odometer and temperature displays made a bit larger as I need to put on reading glasses to see these - not always what one wants to do when driving!
    While at the Toyota dealer they offered me Diamondkote electronic rust proofing at $700. This involves the installation of a galvanic rustproofing box powered by the car battery. I was surprised that the guarantee of 10 years was the same as getting rustproofing applied to the car as a coating.
    I happened to be in Canadian Tire and saw that they were selling electronic rustproofing gadgets for $200 so I bought one and installed it even though I am highly suspicious of the efficacy of these devices.
    I decided to do a little experiment to see if they make a difference. I will keep this posted on a blog: http://automobile-rustproofing-black-box.blogspot.com/
    I would be interested if anyone else has any experience with these devices.
  • I just traded my 2003 Matrix for a 2007.
    I noticed two items that I want back from my 2003:
    1 The glove box lid on the 2007 falls open whereas the 2003 had a little aircylinder to lower it gently.
    2 the standard radio on the 2003 is better than the 2007.
    Back in 1997 my VW golf had an input port for the radio so that one could play other sources through the radio. This is an optional extra in the Toyota. Ability to play MP3 music on a car radio should NOT be an extra...
    Gripes: The map light switches on the Matrix. What a dumb place to put them! Easy to turn on accidentally when adjusting the mirror and unnoticeable in daylight so they stay on.
    The brake warning light is the same colour as all the other little lights and easily missed. Driving with the parking brake slightly on is NOT good.
    Wiper blade attachment point needs to be improved for Canadian ice storm driving. If you start frozen wipers you will strip the teeth on the cog where the blades attach to the car. An expensive and potentially dangerous - when you cannot use the wipers in freezing rain - design for wiper blades. (This is not a Toyota problem but applies to most cars I believe.)
  • My 06 Matrix has approximately 15,000 miles on the clock; the tires have been rotated per the maintenance schedule. The mileage is all highway. I am a little anal about tire inflation. Back to the dealer for alignment check once. Uneven wear, especially in the front and an annoying harmonic from the front. The Continental tires are on the wear bars and need to be replaced now. Interesting to hear of other similar stories. If there is any other information regarding resolution, please post.

    Rocky
  • moosmoos Posts: 17
    go to the matrix board and lok up the tire wear issue. :lemon:
  • pjk2pjk2 Posts: 7
    I have a GM that got 58K on the original tires. My daughter has the exact same car and has over 50K on the original tires and they still look pretty good.
  • pjk2pjk2 Posts: 7
    All you have to do is make sure your vehicle is made with a galvanized body and stainless steel exhaust. I have a 92 Pontiac Bonneville that looks better than some new cars. Driven every day in Pgh area and only has minor rust.. that is only under the car... it also has it's original exhaust!!! unheard of around the Pgh area. I also have a 99 Pontiac Montana that still looks like new and a 02 Buick that all have stainless steel exhausts and galvanized bodies. Cars that need rustproofing gadgets are made with 70's metal and paint technology.
  • 1. The Matrix looks better inside and out. The Matrix has a sleek look for a wagon, the Vibe is more box shaped. Matrix has tighter interior.

    2. The Vibe is a little less expensive, but doesn't hold its value as well as Toyota. Is the Pontiac name associated with quality or cheap plastic? What is your visual when you hear the Toyota name?

    3. The "Matrix" has a cooler name, the "Vibe" would have a cool name if this were the 60's. "Matrix" might be the coolest car name after the "Mustang". "Vibe" is a cooler name than "Yugo".

    4. Vitamin D is not overrated. Sun roof is cooler than a luggage rack.

    5. Carpet in the cargo area is just stupid.

    I give the edge to the Matrix in every aspect except price, where you might see a $400-$500 difference depending on options. If you are looking for a less expensive alternative, look at the Ford Focus Wagon.

    Both the Matrix and the Vibe are the two best SUV alternatives on the market in my opinion. If the 2009 Blade doesn't get better gas mileage than these two its not an improvement.

    These two models have the smartest engineering I've seen in terms of efficiency and functionality. I predict they will be popular used cars for years to come.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    kevin,

    Why do you think these cars (Matrix/Vibe) don't appear to be selling very well? I'm interested in one of these as a vehicle for daughter. Haven't test driven yet, but have talked to a couple owners who absolutely love them. Looks to me to be a pretty nice package, but I don't see many on the roads, and see diminishing models/options (awd dropped). I would want all the latest safety (side curtain air, vsc), and find availability slim to none.

    It just may be that it's coming to the end of the model run and everyone knows it, like I've decided to wait.
  • What about this car? The Dodge Caliber seems directly designed to be competition for Matrix and Vibe.
    - The Dodge Caliber looks almost military (an interesting design trend for a country at war)
    - The Dodge C has bigger wheels than the Matrix or Vibe.
    - The Dodge C has a built in cooler (for beer?)
    - The Dodge has a (I think stupid) removable sound system and cabin light.
    - The Dodge is about $2000 dollars cheaper.
    So why is Chrysler not selling these like hot cakes?
    I will answer that question as I drive a toyota - the quality is not there. Some not so obvious differences are that the door seems on the Japanese designs are filled with resin while the Dodge relies on a paint coat to protect the seems. The Dodge Caliber design leaves body panel overhangs around the wheels which appear unsupported and look cheap. The Dodge C also looks cheaper on the interior and some of the seat covers looked poorly designed with colour stripes - these may appeal to younger drivers but I look for classic long lasting appeal in a car not flashy, get tired of it tomorrow trendy bits.
  • Correction to my message previous.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 986
    I was looking for a used Matrix/Vibe and they are not easy to find! They sell quickly too. Probably the high gas prices are a factor. Around my area, dealerships would get maybe one or two and they would be gone in a week. Same for the new ones. I finally found an '04 Vibe. So far we really like it. It would be a good car for a teenager. It has enough power to do what you want but isn't a pocket rocket. It handles very well and would be forgiving of new driver mistakes like oversteering or misjudging room to turn (very small turning radius).

    Because they are considered an economy car the safety equipment has not tended to be standard until very recently. For new small cars like the Vibe, Honda Fit and NIssan Versa, only the Honda Fit has side airbags and ABS as standard equipment, and talk about hard to find! In our area there may be one or two in all the dealerships. Nissan Versa has side airbags standard but not ABS.
  • caliberchiccaliberchic Posts: 402
    They are selling them well, at launch they were back about 9-16 weeks on orders. You couldn't find them anyway. The intial numbers were way higher than anticipated.

    With that said I do agree the interior is cheap looking, the color matched interior is an option not standard so those who like a classic look can opt out of that.

    Oh the sound system isn't removable but the overhead light IS a flash light and does remove easily.
  • mikey00mikey00 Posts: 462
    Consumer Reports listed the Dodge Caliber/Jeep Compass as the "Most Disappointing" cars for 2007. There are lots of facts in the mag to back up their claim.
  • pdrakepdrake Posts: 10
    I have a 2006 Vibe GT (every option) that I bought in Feb of 06. I am very fond of this car (to be modest) and never get sick of driving it. The problem is that it keeps getting hit - last June 17th a young woman driver hit my front end and this June 18th (Monday night) a driver with a 1987 Jeep Cherokee plowed into it at 11:30 P.M. while it was parked in front of my house and rolled the Jeep over and has PROBABLY totaled the VIBE (insurance company not sure yet). Antway I have a Dodge Caliber rental for now and just let me say that THIS IS NOT THE SAME QUALITY AS A VIBE BY FAR!!! I want my Vibe back!...
    Patrick
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    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....
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,896
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    Jeannine Fallon
    Corporate Communications
    Edmunds.com

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