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Toyota Matrix vs. Pontiac Vibe - Compare Notes



  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    What will "nippononly" say when he finds out that it is the Vibe that is exported to Japan, not the Matrix.
  • jr807jr807 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 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 Posts: 6,632
    Toyota guy is either ignorant or is lying. The cars are mechanically identical.
  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    Vibe is made in CAlifornia, the Matrix is made in CAnada. Dindak is right as usual.
  • 1matrix1matrix 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 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 Posts: 59
    GM has 3/36 roadside assistance. Does Toyota has one?
  • johnclineiijohnclineii 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 Posts: 6,632
    Up here you get 5 year 100K powertrain, 8yr/130K on the catalytic and 6yr/160K corrosion on the Vibe.
  • 1matrix1matrix 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 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 SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    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 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 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 SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    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 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 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 SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    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 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.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I like my car, so I guess I will keep it a while...

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

  • beaterbeater Posts: 16
    Has anyone had occasion to install a trailer hitch on their Vibe yet? I have been looking and no one in my area stocks one although they all will special-order if I pay in advance. I have no problem with that except they can't tell me if they will have to make any cuts on the fascia around the rear bumper to provide access to the hitch. They tell me that I cannot get a refund on special orders so if it takes cutting the fascia, too bad. Since my interest in the hitch is only to support a bicycle carrier, I don't want to have any permanent alterations made to the car. It looks like without cutting the fascia, the hitch might be too close to the ground but I'm not sure. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who's installed a hitch who can answer my concerns. I'd also appreciate knowing what kind of hitch they went with and how to order it and whether it bolted into existing holes in the frame or required drilling or welding.
    Thanks in advance.
  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    Saw a new Vibe at the mall last night. The owner said she ordered a hitch from made by draw-tite. She is getting it installed this weekend. I will keep my eye out for it when she gets it done and report back.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Your post slipped in right before mine. Thanks for the feedback. ;-)

    Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards
  • beaterbeater Posts: 16
    Thanks for the timely response to my plea. I've called GM and Toyota and they do not make nor do they plan to offer any hitches. I can understand their position. Not many folks ought to be thinking about towing much with a 130HP engine. I just don't like to mess with a roof-mounted bike rack. So, I'll keep an eye out at this topic to see what develops.

    Thanks again
  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    Caught up with the Vibe at the mall. Hitch is on. No drilling required, three threaded holes in the rear frame line up with the hitch, just screw in the three bolts. Looks like if you had the right wrench at home you could install it yourself the day you needed it. 1-1/4" box, that may efect the bike racks you can put in.
  • beaterbeater Posts: 16
    I read your response in the Vibe topic before I came here. Thanks for the info. I assume the installation didn't require cutting the plastic fascia around the rear bumper. I'll order one and try to install it myself. Thanks again for your timely input.
  • frenchcarfrenchcar Posts: 247
    Sold my Focus ZTS, closely checked out Mazda, Elantra GT and then Vibe and Matrix but ended up buying a Suzuki Aerio SX and we are glad we did. Far more comfortable, sits high, better vision, peak torque comes in at a useable 3000 rpm, has a 2 stage self adjusting timing chain, liquid filled motor mounts, direct ignition, good load space, is getting more zippy all the time. No problems. We have owned Toyota, Pontiac and Suzuki in the past along with 13 other brands at one time or another. Suzuki is reliable, very few recalls and Import Tuner Magazine is doing a project on one of them. Check them all out before making your decision. Car and Driver is all wet this time and I will tell them so even though I subscribe to it.
  • joelisjoelis Posts: 315
    Its kinda in the same boat as the Aztek - meaning that its hard to look at with those little wheels on the four corners of a poor fitting (appearance wise at least) box.

    But, you DO get what you pay for in this case.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    seeing more vibes on the streets in my area. And now the local Pontiac dealer has a bunch of vibes on the lot, whereas it is still next to impossible to find any matrices at the Toyota dealer, except a couple of base models with the plastic wheel covers.

    I thought Toyota was the king of adding unwanted options to beef up the price - I stopped by the Pontiac lot, and those vibes are mostly stickered above $20K. At least the Toyotas I have seen so far have been in the $18K range...

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

This discussion has been closed.