Toyota Matrix vs. Pontiac Vibe - Compare Notes

revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
edited August 2014 in Pontiac
to discuss the Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe.


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  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    For your convenience, you'll find direct links to other related discussions, features, and tools on the left side of this page. Happy Motoring!

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  • blyndgesser1blyndgesser1 Member Posts: 17
    Not sure if anyone is reading this yet, but. . .

    Pontiac offers a cargo area organizer called the "Gear Box" (hahaha) on the Vibe. In the upright position it looks deep enough for grocery bags, file folders, etc. From the brochure it looks like it's made of hard plastic and folds down to just a couple of inches above floor level, and Pontiac says that when it's folded down you can load stuff on top as if it were the floor itself. Does anyone know if Toyota offers something similar?
  • rpgropperpgroppe Member Posts: 24
    There's nothing currently listed in the Toyota brochure whcih matches the "Gear Box", though that doesn't mean that something won't be added later in the year.

    The Matrix does offer cargo nets, not quite the same thing.
  • just_some_guyjust_some_guy Member Posts: 52
    In the toyota matrix accessory brocure there is listed a "Cargo-Logic Cargo Tote by Nifty Products". No picture is shown. I assume though that it serves the same purpose as the Vibe box. Although I have a feeling that this could be a soft side. Still you should be able to just go to a Pontiac dealer's service area and order the box as a part, then put it in your Matrix. I would bet that anything it hooks to will be the same in the Matrix.

    One more thing, I just found the website for "nifty products" Not much there. No Cargo-logic tote listed just some floor mats.
  • matrixorvibematrixorvibe Member Posts: 1
    I drove the Matrix XRS and the Vibe GT on different days.

    The Matrix came with 17 inch wheels and the Vibe with 16 inch. The 16 inch wheels do not corner as well.

    The Vibe had the DVD Navigation system which I found to be very helpful.

    In the San Francisco Bay area the GT is easier to find than the XRS.

    Which would you buy?
  • southpaw1southpaw1 Member Posts: 34
    Personally I find the Vibe's gray body cladding ugly. I think the Vibe looks like a small suv and the Matrix looks more like a sport wagon. Not all with agree with me but as I said, my opinion.

    I have had fantastic luck with Toyotas in the past and would pay more for the Toyota quality but in this case you're actually paying less for the Matrix than the Vibe.

    You may have to wait to get the car you want but it'll be worth it so try and base your decision on factors other than availability at this moment in time. More cars are on the lots every day.
  • erisynneerisynne Member Posts: 2
    Hi. I think I know what you're talking about. The Matrix does indeed have an under-floor compartment, though I don't think it's big enough for grocery bags. The pictures I've seen of it show a few tools and a big flashlight, and the compartment closes to be flush flat with the rest of the flooring in the cargo area. I think the pictures I saw were on the Toyota web site so you should check it out.

    And as for Vibe vs Matrix... considering they are basically identical except for looks, I was thinking I might save money getting the Vibe instead. But no. The base price of the Vibe vs XR is $600 more ($16,900) and the power package to bring it up to the feature set of the XR is an additional $1000! And the Toyota warranties are better (3 yr/36k basic, 5 yr/60k drivetrain vs Pontiac's 3yr/36k basic, 3yr/36k drivetrain).

    Not to mention, in my opinion, the Vibe is butt-ugly and the Matrix quite attractive. But if the Vibe were a better deal, I'd suck it up and bear the vehicle's looks. But it's not :(
  • edmundbarryedmundbarry Member Posts: 2
    Are Toyota XRS or Vibe GT Engines actually made by Yamaha or by Toyata?
  • edchenedchen Member Posts: 31
    The gearbox is an accessory that is shown in the brochure with an Edmunds MSRP of $95. If anyone has seen the Vibe accessories brochure it may have more information. The Pontiac dealer told me if I wanted one to go see the Toyota dealer. :)

    erisynne: The under-floor compartment is where the spare tire and jack are stowed. Not much room in there for anything else.
  • tomkisttomkist Member Posts: 6
    I have a Vibe accessories catalog and it claims that everything may not be stocked at your local dealer, but can be ordered by the dealer. And the Matrix and Vibe add-ons are the same, except for the logos.

    It looks like the gearbox (trunk organizer) is not compatible with the cargo mat. MSRP in the Vibe catalog is $120 US.
  • dlh3dlh3 Member Posts: 18
    The gear box is made of hard plastic. It comes with 2 D-rings that can be screwed into 2 corners of the base. Two Velcro straps are included so that one can lash it to the D-rings on the sides of the cargo area or you could lash it to the tie downs that fit in the floor tracks. Self-adhesive rubber pads are also included. The cargo area mat cannot be used if you want to lash to the floor. It also comes with self-adhesive velco patches that could be used to keep it from sliding around on the cargo area mat.

    The dimensions of the gear box are:
    Collapsed: 41" x 18" x 2-1/4" high
    Expanded: 41" x 18" x 9" high
    Interior storage area: 35-1/4" x 12-3/4" x 8-1/4" high

    It also includes 2 removable dividers which can be used to split the interior storage area into thirds.
  • dlh3dlh3 Member Posts: 18
    The description for the Vibe Active Package in the accessories catalog or on the GM Goodwrench web site does not provide a detailed list of what is included. I have found out that the contents are: rear bumper protector, front and rear all-season vinyl floor mats, driver and front passenger water-resistant seat covers, and the multi-purpose trunk organizer (gear box).

    The water-resistant seat covers for the rear seats are NOT included. You will have to order them separately if you want them.
  • dlh3dlh3 Member Posts: 18
    The Vibe power package has a MSRP of $1000, but then you get a $400 discount so the net cost is $600.

    There is a $700 discount when you buy both the power package and the Moon and Tunes package.
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    Go with whatever you like best. The cars are the same mechanically. Some people dislike the looks of the Matrix and some dislike the Vibe. I think they are both fine though I prefer the rugged looks of the Vibe.
  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    This means you will be able to access this discussion from either one of these message boards. Hope this is helpful.



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  • joelisjoelis Member Posts: 315
    Is the 200 watt stereo in the Moon & Tunes package on the Vibe the same stereo that is a $100 option on the Matrix?
  • mpgmanmpgman Member Posts: 723
    I like the looks of the Vibe. The cladding will save a lot of elbow grease getting rid of road grit and the charcoal bumpers won't scuff and lose paint like those on the Matrix when someone parks by sound. The Matrix looks like they ran out of window glass as you move from front to back. Matrix should have higher resale though. However, after seeing a couple stickered at $22,000+, I'd get a CR-V or a Passat for that money.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Member Posts: 1,284
    I drove, on separate days, the 180hp Matrix w/ 6 speed and the base engined- Vibe with a five speed. A few notes:

    I thought the interiors were laid out extremely well, and they used every last square inch of space efficiently. Both cars (don't fool yourselves; that's definitely a Corolla underneath there;) also handled pretty well. A few fatal flaws, though;

    1. Neither engine is a good match for the vehicle. The base engine, even with a stick, couldn't get out of its own way. The 180hp unit, while definitely not lacking in peak power, unfortunately required alot of attention to keep in the powerband. Clutch engagement wasn't smooth, and I felt way more shifting than necessary had to occur. Great fun for, say, a Celica (go figure) or an RSX, but lousy for what will most likely be a family hauler.

    2. The hard plastic load floor-- dumb. Period.

    3. Visibility out the back of the Vibe sucks. It's not great in the Toyota, either.

    All in all, they're OK cars, but definitely not for me-- I think money's better spent on, say, a Jetta wagon.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Member Posts: 3,469
    I have finally seen both vehicles in person- have not driven either as they are both automatic.

    Looks wise I would do the following. I would use the Vibe body (don't like the crimp in the Matrix) with the Matrix front end (front of the Vibe is too Aztek like). I would loose the cladding altogether, and get rid of the worthless roof rack (way too short for my canoe). I think the result would actually be pretty nice.

    I am also not too crazy about the gauges being in tunnels, and orange does not have enough contrast - so I would probably change that too.
  • beaterbeater Member Posts: 16
    As somebody who would like to buy either vehicle, I'm curious to know if dealers are
    discounting below MSRP? If so, is there a rule-of-thumb like 5%,10%,etc? I'd appreciate
    hearing from those who may have already purchased. Having a trade-in as I do, makes it
    hard to know just what kind of deal I'm being offered unless I can take something off list price
    and go to the used-car guides to get an idea of what mine is worth.
  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    Have you had a chance to check out Edmunds' TMV (True Market Value) New Vehicle Pricing Calculator? This will give you the average cost in your region. Others here may have more to add.... Good luck, and please keep us posted on your purchase.

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  • beaterbeater Member Posts: 16
    Followed your suggestion: checked TMV (same as msrp for my area). Also checked kelly for
    trade-in value. Local dealer was about 250 above "average trade in" for my car so I bought a Vibe today. Still trying to decipher the instructions on the high tech radio but so far so good.
    Thanks for your timely response.

  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    And congrats on your new Vibe! Also, here's a direct link to our ongoing Pontiac Vibe discussion where you can compare notes with other owners and enthusiasts. We look forward to hearing more about your ownership experience.... Happy motoring!

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  • beaterbeater Member Posts: 16
    I've had the Vibe for a little over a week and have driven about 650 miles. So far, so good. I bought it as primarily an in-town vehicle. I have a Mercury Marquis which we use for long trips. That said, I'm not really as concerned about acceleration or long-haul riding comfort as much as economy, reliability, and utility. I'm getting about 28 miles/gal in city driving and averaged 34 miles/gal on a short trip we took in it. That's in line with expectations based on epa estimates for the Vibe. It's utility is plain to see for stowage. There's plenty of room for us and the kind of gear we haul. Reliability is the biggest unanswered question. I'm hoping that the partnership with Toyota will help in that department. The real answer will only come after the warranty expires in 36,000 miles or 3 years. My previous vehicle was a '95 Taurus wagon. That should explain why reliability is a worrisome issue. I have had some trouble finding accessories for the Vibe. We have 3 Pontiac dealers in this area and their inventory is pretty limited. I was looking for the visor-mounted cd holder, the cargo area mat, and front and rear splash guards. I was only able to locate the cd holder. All promised to have supplies in stock in the near future. The same problem when I went to locate a trailer hitch. I want a hitch to mount a bike carrier. None of the usual outlets have any hitches to fit Vibe/Matrix; even U-Haul. All promised to have them in stock soon. Other than that, I'm satisfied with the vehicle.
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    I was offered $400 off a Vibe and MSRP on the Matrix when we shopped. It depends on the area and car availability though.
  • mic5000mic5000 Member Posts: 18
    I went to toyota and had a heck of a time. Toyota is just not nice, and does not listen to me. I also knew more than the salesman. Also, when greated, the salesmen (more than one toyota from Calif. to Texas) assumed the man new more.

    this weekend I will check out pontiac's vibe. Since the vehicles are essentially the same, Pontiac maybe the winner. Just thinking about buying from toyota makes me cringe.
  • yamahar6yamahar6 Member Posts: 23
    I have heard bad things about the shifter (6 spd.) of the Matrix/Vibe from the auto. press and was wondering if it was true. (I thot. that the Maxima's shifter was crap also, as the press said it was, - until I drove it an liked it).

    The reason I am asking is b/c I am planning to test drive it just for fun, and if the shifter is *&^t, i couldn't be bothered.

    Also, any recommendations on which dealer to visit, Toyota or GM?

    I was thinking GM, because perhaps they might be happy to have a young customer come in the door, and since there is less people traffic, they might be less reluctant to let me take a drive.
    Thanks, Aroon
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    I was treated well at both dealers. Pontiac dealer was a little more aggressive, but not to a point where they were pushy. Go for the car you like best and the dealer you feel best about.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    They give you the longer warranty, and generally better service IMO, but this probably varies from dealer to dealer.

    While the design is identical for both, the Vibe is built in the U.S., while the Toyota is built in Ontario, Canada. A lot of the parts they are using are from different suppliers consequently, and the Ontario factory is Toyota-owned and run, while the U.S. factory is all GM. In my experience in the past, that has led to a large gap in build quality and reliability down the line. Maybe I have had very good luck, but I have never had a Toyota break down or have parts fall off or stop working. That DID happen with a Pontiac I owned - I would never own Pontiac again. I have known too many people who have had crappy Pontiacs in the last decade or two, who always had problems with their cars.

    By the way, as far as driveline design, I believe the XRS driveline is lifted directly out of the celica GTS, and I am pretty sure that means the engine is designed and built by Yamaha.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    Your comments are far from accurate. The warranties on the 2 cars are the same, and the GM / Toyota plant used to make Corolla and Prism and is a very high quality plant. By your user name I'm guessing you are biased against anything domestic.
  • montanafanmontanafan Member Posts: 945
    What will "nippononly" say when he finds out that it is the Vibe that is exported to Japan, not the Matrix.
  • jr807jr807 Member Posts: 1
    My wife and I are trying to decide between the Matrix and the Vibe. The Pontiac dealer says that both cars are the same under the skin. The Toyota dealer says that the Matrix has a different drive train and other engine parts.

    Since both cars that we are looking at were made in Ca., who is right?
  • samsvr6samsvr6 Member Posts: 59
    I work in the auto industry in Detroit. Vibe and Matrix share the same parts FROM THE SAME SUPPLIER if they are used in both vehicles. One example is to look at the underside of the rear plastic wiper arm. It says Toyota even on the Vibe. This practice reduce tooling cost and translates into lower piece price. If GM is to use a different supplier for the same part, cost will undoubtly be high. The NUMMI plant is a joint venture between GM and Toyota utilizing the TPS so quality is top notch.
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    Toyota guy is either ignorant or is lying. The cars are mechanically identical.
  • montanafanmontanafan Member Posts: 945
    Vibe is made in CAlifornia, the Matrix is made in CAnada. Dindak is right as usual.
  • 1matrix1matrix Member Posts: 47
    Matrix has a longer warranty than Vibe because it's a Toyota -- 5yrs/60K vs. 3yrs/36K, I believe. Although both cars should have quality levels up to Toyota standards, the Cambridge plant has won more quality awards in the past.
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    Vibe has the same warranty. GM upped their standard one to match the Matrix warranty.

    Really it's only a question of what look you like more.
  • samsvr6samsvr6 Member Posts: 59
    GM has 3/36 roadside assistance. Does Toyota has one?
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Member Posts: 2,287
    In the US, 3/36 is still the GM warranty. From the Pontiac website:

    Vibe's 3-year/36,000-mile (whichever comes first) New Vehicle Limited Warranty covers repairs, including labor and parts, to correct any defects in material or workmanship occurring during the warranty period. The vehicle is covered, except for adjustments and normal maintenance.
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    Up here you get 5 year 100K powertrain, 8yr/130K on the catalytic and 6yr/160K corrosion on the Vibe.
  • 1matrix1matrix Member Posts: 47
    Toyota's standard warranty does not include roadside assistance. But auto-club memberships can usually be bought for about $45/yr. I think even Toyota offers one for a nominal fee.
  • matrix123matrix123 Member Posts: 14
    True, standard warranty does not include Roadside Asistance, but here in Canada we get it from Toyota for free for 3 years.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    So was I vindicated? I checked, and it is true that in the U.S. Toyota has its usual 5/60 powertrain warranty on the matrix, while Pontiac only has 3/36 on the vibe. At least, that is what it advertises.

    The plants are different where they are built, and the Ontario plant has received awards for build quality, as someone else pointed out.

    And who wants gobs and gobs of plastic "cladding" on their car? The vibe has it, the matrix does not.

    Yes, the Fremont plant was set up as a joint venture, with GM owning it and Toyota being the consultant on how it was operated. Toyota has just ended this relationship after a decade.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • celeste2celeste2 Member Posts: 362
    they compare 6 small hatchbacks: Suzuki Aerio, Pontiac Vibe, Ford Focus ZX5, Toyota Matrix XRS, Chrysler PT Cruiser, and Mazda Protege 5. I just listed them in descending order of their ranking in this comparison. Mazda was first; Suzuki was last.

    However, if the Subaru Outback Sport had been included it probably would have even beat the Protege!
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Member Posts: 2,287
    Nippononly: Not only has Toyota NOT ended the joint venture, the JAPANESE Matrices are called Voltz and built at the Fremont, California NUMMI plant, which also builds Toyota Corollas and Toyota Tacoma pickups. The plant is a joint venture, with neither party owning it..each shares ownership and control. Toyota has invested 1.1 Billion dollars in the plant, and GM has done likewise. Note that Toyota on its website includes the NUMMI plant as one of its own:

    The Fremont plant has received MANY awards for build quality. I have no idea where you get your information, but you might want to consider changing sources. Here is one: Note that the Fremont plant has received MANY J D Power and Associate awards for build quality! The plant has received the VERY difficult to obtain ISO 14001 certification. Also, from the website:

    Quote: NUMMI quality continues to be among the best in the industry, having received several J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study vehicle and plant awards through the years

    A list of the quality awards, again from the same website:
    1994: J.D. Power and Associates’ North American Plant Quality: Silver Plant award
    1995: J.D. Power and Associates’ North American Plant Quality: Bronze Plant award
    1996: J.D. Power and Associates’ North American Plant Quality: Bronze Plant award
    1999: J.D. Power and Associates’ North American Plant Quality: Silver Plant award
    2000: J.D. Power and Associates’ North American Plant Quality: Silver Plant award
    2000: J.D. Power and Associates’ Chairman’s Award for Quality.
    2000: NUMMI was the first manufacturing plant ever to receive the Chairman’s Award.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    If the outback sport had been included, it would have kicked all the others in their rears!

    As far as the other thing with the factories, yes what you say is true. By American plant standards, NUMMI has excelled. The Toyota news was only just published this week in Autonews - they will be ending their mentoring program with American car companies. I do not remember where I read it, but I am sure I also read that they will be phasing out corolla production there - they are building a big factory in Mexico to produce those. As far as the tacomas, that is a really good point...I do not know where they are going to be building those - maybe they will stay at NUMMI for a while. But I am pretty sure that their plans are to phase out their participation in NUMMI in short order now. Someone help me out here - I do not remember where I read that.

    PS The Japan-market matrix (voltz) is built in Japan for the Japanese, it has just been such a huge hit that they are doing some "reverse importation" from Fremont in a temporary arrangement with GM to meet the demand. This is not planned to continue long term, as far as I know.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • johnclineiijohnclineii Member Posts: 2,287
    a. From the same website:

    "The Voltz will be built exclusively at NUMMI and exported to Japan."

    There is NO Japanese market Voltz built in Japan, so I can't see how it could be such a huge hit. And the Voltz is based on the VIBE, not the Matrix. The body is essentially the same. Both Matrix and Vibe have virtually the same interiors, interiors designed, by the way, by General Motors.

    b. The NUMMI agreement was JUST renewed last year. Toyota and GM are partners in many different ways, and GM officials are often seen at the Georgetown, Kentucky plant where Camrys are built.

    c. The quality of vehicles from the Fremont plant meets or exceeds that of those built in Canada (Matrix, Corolla) or Japan

    d. The Mexican plant will produce vehicles for the Mexican market, not US or Canada.

    All of this has been covered in great detail in the automotive industry press, most of which I subscribe to. My actual connection with the industry is best not discussed here.

    The fact is, Nippononly, that Toyota and Honda are both multinational companies and as American as the so-called American automobile companies (one of which is in reality a German firm). You might want to read a Forbes article this week that discusses how nearly all future Ford and Chrysler cars will be built on platforms provided by their foreign subsidiaries, including the Ford Five Hundred, to be built on a Volvo chassis.

    GM will also use its foreign subsidiaries to build the platforms, but only for its smaller cars. Its foreign companies build very few cars as large as the Bonneville, LeSabre and the Seville. On the other hand, Holden may well export whole vehicles to the US, in addition to those already announced.
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    You are very right, the auto biz is very international these days. That said, the "big 3" spend much more money on R&D here in North America than do other companies and the majority of profits (at least from Ford/GM) stay here also.

    In the end, you are best off just buying what you like or what you think is the best deal for the money.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    Just how global the car manufacturing biz has become.

    These days, I think the main differences between car companies is the willingness they have to back their products.

    As far as johnclineii - sorry, didn't mean to offend. Unlike you, I do not have the citations to back up my words, I am merely going from memory of what I have read, and may well be wrong. I would be surprised if Toyota went to the trouble of building a factory in mexico just to sell to Mexico - the U.S. seems to be a bigger market, and plus I was just reading about that the other day. Perhaps the mag I was reading was only speculating.

    One thing that seems to be more and more true all the time is that perceptions of car models and companies based on experiences a decade old are invalid - the car industry has changed a lot. Chrysler is German now, Ford and GM both own a half dozen foreign companies and take liberally from them to build their own cars. Toyota, Honda and others have passed the point where more of their cars are built on foreign shores than on their own soil. Are they still Japanese? Maybe in philosophy, but not in build.

    I will stand behind Toyota as long as they continue to back their products like they did recently when they extended their warranty to eight years/unlimited miles for all the engines affected by the sludge controversy. Yes, some of the owners had to make a fuss about it before they would step up to the plate, but this may wind up costing the company a ton of money for something which has not been conclusively proven not to be a problem of maintenance negligence. And call me one-sided, but I highly doubt that GM or Ford would have taken a similar stance. Remember the ignition switch fiasco of many different GM models going on right now? GM has stated it cannot replace all the units it admits are defective. Tough luck owners. Remember the Ford F150 fuel tank controversy - many trucks unsafe in accidents, or going up in flames, I can't remember which. Ford said tough luck, sue, then got forced to retrofit millions of vehicles when they lost the lawsuit. This was years after it had affected said millions of owners.

    Based on a number of factors, I would still choose the matrix over the vibe, because I would choose Toyota over GM, and because of the styling, the longer warranty in the U.S., and other little things.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    The sludge problem is real and Toyota dragged it's feet on it just like any other car maker. They are no better than GM, Ford or Honda and I think they are less likely to admit to any problem to protect their quality image.
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