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Toyota Matrix vs. Pontiac Vibe - Compare Notes



  • fierodriverfierodriver Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the info. I am considering the same hitch. We want to mount our bike rack. :)
  • fierodriverfierodriver Member Posts: 2
    We need to carry a 17' Winona canoe on our Vibe. Any suggestions on roof racks?? Thanks
  • mikey00mikey00 Member Posts: 462
    Finally, someone else has noticed the noisy window problem. I have been on other popular Vibe/Matrix sites and no one other than myself is complaining about the noise. I noticed it on the ride home after picking up my new Vibe. It took a couple of weeks to determine exactly where the wind noise was coming from. At 40 mph and above I can here a distinct wind noise. It is both on passenger and driver side, but more so on passenger side. At 40 mph when I hear the noise I can lean over and press on the top of the passenger door panel where it meets the bottom of the window glass and the noise dissappears. I demonstrated this to the dealer tech and his first comment was that the Vibe is a noisy little car. After some more complaining he ordered and replaced the window gaskets on both doors but it didn't help. I compare the Vibe door panel/ gasket setup to my other cars and it looks like the Vibe just has a bad design.
  • boatsboats Member Posts: 19
    I picked up a few feet of something called "anti-fatigue matting" at Lowe's - slightly squishy rubber matting to go on top of linoleum - the light gray matches the plastic material of the back nicely... threw a door mat on top of it and the dog has a great grip surface now (matting is sold back where the indoor/outdoor carpet is and is on a roll with the carpet runner materials)... its 3' wide and is sold by the foot (maybe $3/ft)... also, it looks like it will trim easily with scissors (haven't tried it yet). No more flyin' doggies!
  • boatsboats Member Posts: 19
    Just picked up my Vibe last night... all very nice so far! I was reading the owner's manual and I'm trying to find the 2nd accessory outlet... I have the one on the dash (where a cigarette lighter would go if it had one) and I have the 2 prong household oulet on the dash... isn't there supposed to be another 12V accessory outlet in the center console? I'm talking about the armrest/cupholder/storage compartment thing between the seats?? Thanks.
  • capitanocapitano Member Posts: 509
    On my trix it is in the bottom of the large center compartment under the armest.
  • goodvibrationsgoodvibrations Member Posts: 14
    I recently purchased and 05 Vibe base model, I didn't notice any wind noise when I test drove it. I had vents installed on the windows but only because they keep rain from coming in the car. Car seems pretty quiet to me. Certainly as quiet as my wife's 05 Civic.
    With respect to the accessory outlet it is in the centre armrest at the front. Personally I think they should have put the second outlet in the hatch. So far I am pretty please with the car. Great gas mileage reasonable pick-up tremendous versatility. I am big fan of hatch backs :)
  • steine13steine13 Member Posts: 2,818
    "We need to carry a 17' Winona canoe on our Vibe. Any suggestions on roof racks?? "

    Sorry for the late reply.
    This doesn't look too hot, but it works and is relatively cheap:
    It's a 17'9" Sawyer Cruiser on a Yakima Railrider (or whatever) rack. Notice cleverly positioned electrical tape to keep the paint from rubbing off. You're better off with a two-tone Vibe.

    I've bought and used Q towers for the front, which makes the whole rig a little more balanced, but the load limit remains at a paltry 75 lbs... barely enough for rack+canoe. A Focus wagon has a limit of 220 lbs and sturdy rails the length of the car. It's a Euro design; they take their racks seriously as they don't have pickup trucks...

    Good luck,
  • siamsasiamsa Member Posts: 1
    I just got my 05 last Friday and never noticed the wind noise. I am disapointed that the roof rack system doesn't come with cross rails, and that my second accessory outlet in the center arm rest is nothing but a hole with a rubber cap on it. Should this be this way? Did Pontiac stop putting the second accessory outlet in the 05's?
  • goodvibrationsgoodvibrations Member Posts: 14
    My bad, You are correct. Mine is nothing but a plastic cover as well. Our 05's are missing the third outlet and the two piece storage cover on the console box and the cross rails, Pontiac cost cutting. You can buy the accessory outlet and the connections to hook it up for about 100 dollars or so if you really need it, search the genvibe website. You can also replace the console cover with one from the 2003 or 2004. Enjoy your ride :)
  • nsbnsb Member Posts: 3
    Are the Matrix and Vibe built by the same people? Same Vehicle?
    Thanks, nsb
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    same vehicle, different hatcheries. Vibe: Freemont California at the Corolla plant;
    Matrix: Toronto Canada area.
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Member Posts: 470
    The vehicles actually are triplets instead of twins. There also is the Voltz that is built in Fremont for export to Japan. Differences in the finishing. Hence the differences in complaints in this forum, e.g., paintjobs, starting problem.
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Member Posts: 1,060
    Ah yes, the difference in "paint jobs". It seems the Vibe got left behind.
  • steine13steine13 Member Posts: 2,818
    I posted this yesterday but the pics were too big the post was removed. Let's try again...

    Maybe I'll make a separate page and send it to Yakima for comment, but I'll start here.

    At first blush, this looks good and held up well in 40mph (!) side winds today... it was the nastiest bit of driving I've done since an ice storm in '01...

    So it's a lot of boat for a little car. So what?

    So this:
    and this:

    The wind load slid the windward Q tower 1/4" along the bar, which loosened the rack on the lee side of the car... you can see how the black "clip" in pic 3 isn't gripping any more. The whole shebang slid an inch or so backwards, taking the paint down to the metal.

    Yes it was over the load limit for the Vibe (75 lbs), but not for the Matrix (125 lbs) and it wasn't the weight that did it, it was the force of the wind.

    These Yakima Q towers are junk, they don't bite the cross bars hard enough. I'm glad I made it home OK.

    Comments anyone? Is Thule any better?

  • steine13steine13 Member Posts: 2,818
    Hello, Mathias. Thank You for your inquiry about Yakima Products, Inc!

    We have since changed the design of the q-towers. Drop us a line with your address and phone number. I will get some new towers out to you.
    Other then tightening the tower more it sounds like you have done everything correct in fitting the rack.

    I'm impressed.
    Seems to be a stand-up company after all.

    I'll let y'all know how the new ones work out.

  • matrixownermatrixowner Member Posts: 1
    I am looking for a roof rack for my 2005 Matrix. Can I get the list of products or a place to purchase around Leominster?
  • pontiac2pontiac2 Member Posts: 2
    Has anyone had any problems with cold weather starts? Only in -20C and colder, my '04 Vibe will start but none of the electronics work. No heater, dash, or any controls. Also unable to shift into gear. After running several minutes I can re-start the car and everything works. It doesn't happen any other time, only extreme cold conditions.

  • sccoast1700sccoast1700 Member Posts: 5
    Same car,just a matter of syle preference and what kind of deal you get. I bought a 2005 Vibe last August. I prefer it's looks. I have 16000 miles in 7 months. Get 34 mpg. I drive one 1400 mile round trip /month for my job. 700 miles each way. It is very comfortable. I never feel cramped . Nice stereo. I love the moonroof. The 110v outlet is handy. Cruise control is great. No problems.Wonderful car.
    By the way , I park my Vibe in the company lot. I try to park next to another employees Matrix. Side by side the Vibe is much nicer looking.
  • ronald711ronald711 Member Posts: 44
    My concern owning previous GM products, is I had problems with altenators and stuff like that failing eary in the vehicles life. I am wondering how much of the vehicle is toyota parts vs gm contributed parts? Who made the transmission, etc? Or is it safe to say Toyota really has a complete hold on this car and its made with pretty much all their parts except for maybe the onstar and vehicle stability, etc... Just trying to get a grasp as the incentives being offered makes this a great buy over the Matrix with over $2000 customer incentives (Conquest incentive $1000, trading vehicle non GM $500 and $500 cash incentive, and thats on top of my work related GM Supplier Discount, he advised I would be under $15,000 on a base. So Im very interested in going this route, but very scared form my past GM experiences in vehicle reliability. any comments?
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Member Posts: 470
    When the Matrix was first introduced, people in this forum commented that the interior design was GM and that the engine and other mechanical components were Toyota. The Matrix is built in Ontario, while the Vibe is built in Fremont, California. A year or two ago there were complaints about the paint on Vibes, and I would suggest going back through previous posts to see what other issues there might be with the finishing details on Vibes that you don't have on the Matrix. There also have been issues with how Toyota responded differently than GM did to problems. One issue I experienced first-hand was with the headlight sensor in the dashboard, which on vehicles sold for a few months in 2002 was overly sensitive and resulted in frequent switching from running lights to headlights and back again. Toyota issued a service bulletin that took care of the problem (though I did have to argue with the service technicians at my dealership who claimed it wouldn't solve the problem), but to my knowledge GM never did the same thing for Vibe owners. I do know people, though, who have had good luck with Vibes and who have been very happy with the car.
  • jstant01jstant01 Member Posts: 65
    I have a 2005 Vibe. I understand your concern completely. I bought the Vibe for two reasons - GM had employee pricing for everyone at the time, and the car was mostly Toyota. I also wanted to support an "American" company, if possible. I had my sights on a Corolla or Civic until I saw the Vibe.

    Anyhow, to answer your question - from all the reading I have done in several Forums, it is my understanding that the Vibe is entirely a Toyota mechanically. That means, the engine, the suspension, the controls, and all the other parts you mentioned. GM's role was limited to the styling of the vehicle. In other words, it was "engineered" by GM but built with all Toyota parts.

    I did hear a rumor that I was never able to corroborate that perhaps the Engine Control system (i.e. "computer") was GM's as well. However, I don't think that would make sense, since it would be controlling a Toyota engine.

    The Vibe has rated "better than average" for all of its production years thus far with Consumer Reports. I believe that puts it at the top of the pack as far as "GM" models go.

    Mine has been trouble-free, except for a periodic "weird" starting problem. Sometimes it doesn't like to fire up right away on a warm re-start. If you read through the maintainence and repair forums, you'll see others have had the same issue. However, it's never left me stranded, and does always start up eventually.

    For the deal coming your way, I would take it in a heartbeat. The Vibe is an excellent product. I haven't heard or read anything about early failure on any of it's parts or components.
  • roy15roy15 Member Posts: 16
    Ronald 711, my owners manual says auto tranny made in Japan
    I'm not sure about the rest but i think at least suspension & tires are made in U.S. Too much uneven wear on rear tires too soon. I would have bought a Matrix rather than my 04 Vibe, but I didn't want to be bottoming out with the low rider rockerpanels.
  • ronald711ronald711 Member Posts: 44
    Thanks for your input, you know the starting problem you are referring to? I just wanted to go on record, I did an overnight in a Corolla before I looked at the Vobe, and I had 2 instances where the Corolla didn't start on the first or 2nd try, I was concerned, but then it did it on another corolla (different model), and I just think its something goofy, it eventually starts if you just crank it longer, it seems completely normal for a toyota to do this.. It sounds like if this is the problem people are having, then Im not too concerned. I am very very close to purchasing the Vibe. My thought as much as I would like 39 mpg out of a Yaris, the vibe is 10X more what I want only a little over $1000 more, and I can get this paid off in 3 years, and the Yaris will still be around then and be a nice 2nd vehicle. to offset my high mileage.
  • ronald711ronald711 Member Posts: 44
    I had an 06 vibe for an hour from the dealership tonight I took the 4 bolts and lifted up the center console. there is a connector for powering the outlet already mounted with power, just have to buy the accessory, Im assuming if you cant get it through Pontiac, you would be able to get it via Toyota as the Matrix has this feature, and I bet it possibly may be the same mounting... Ron
  • nanc3nanc3 Member Posts: 8
    Ron, I've had my Vibe two weeks and several times I had to turn the key two or three (or four!) times to start the car. I'm not concerned; I think it is just different than my old car, which doesn't need me to hold the key in the Start position. Or maybe it's because it is in a different location and therefore has a different hand motion. My son said, "Mom, you just need to hold the key until it starts. How hard is that?"
  • jackpot2jackpot2 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 xrs Matrix with 17in wheels also I have 2004
    Pont. Vibe standard model with 16in steel wheels. question is can I swap wheeles between the two? :confuse:
  • capitanocapitano Member Posts: 509
    Check Tirerack to do the circumference calculations based on your tire/wheel combos. You can switch them, but unless they are close in size your mileage and speedo will be off.

    It would be the same thing as putting aftermarket wheels on either car.
  • pdrakepdrake Member Posts: 10
    I have an article from MANUFACTURING ENGINERING magazine from last September. The Vibe and Toyota Tundra are made in the same factory in California. The plant manager is quoted as saying " like all other NUMMI plants that I have been involved with NOTHING except for shareholding is GM everything is TOYOTA made and engineered". If anyone is interested in this article I will see if you can read the entire article (through backlog perhaps). GM has NOTHING to do with the VIBE except for shares....
  • mikey00mikey00 Member Posts: 462
    First thing that comes to mind is the radio. If you check your radio you will see that the NUMMI plant in California is installing GM radios in the Vibes. I suspect some other electronics as well. Also note that Matrix has engine imobilizer and Vibe does not. Another thing to note is the Vibes painted at the NUMMI plant in California have serious paint quality issues in 03, 04, 05 and I am assuming it still exists for 06. The Matrix is painted in Canada and does not have the same paint quality issues.
  • templertempler Member Posts: 7
    If the Matrix and the Vibe are twins, will the roof rack on the Vibe fit on the Matrix. It was the same way on the Isuzu Rodeo and the Honda Passport. To top it off on the Yakima roof rack system runs about $350.00.
  • templertempler Member Posts: 7
    If the Matrix and the Vibe are twins, will the roof rack on the Vibe fit on the Matrix. It was the same way on the Isuzu Rodeo and the Honda Passport. To top it off on the Yakima roof rack system runs about $350.00
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Member Posts: 470
    Answer in a word: No.

    The top of the Vibe hatch is shaped a bit differently than the Matrix hatch to allow for the hatch opening without interference from the roof rack.

    I checked into this with our 2003 Matrix because I wanted a roof rack but agreed with my wife that the Matrix was the better choice for us than the Vibe. Check the design for your model year Matrix, but I suspect the situation is the same as for the 2003s.
  • igo2xsigo2xs Member Posts: 1
    :confuse: Call me picky, crazy, what have you! I would like to know if it would be possible to replace the center console in my 2005 Vibe with one from a 2005 Matrix (ie A/C Control, Rear Defroster button, Clock)? Judging from the photos of the two, they seem pretty well matched. If I went to a Toyota dealership, would they do it? It would a great mod and certainly make my Vibe unique! Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.
  • 350sb350sb Member Posts: 1
    I'm just starting the Vibe Matrix thing and wondered if someone could direct me to some kind of a comparison of equipment VS price. Thanks
  • i_luv_toyotai_luv_toyota Member Posts: 350
    The Vibe and Toyota Tundra are made in the same factory in California.


    The Tundra is built in Indiana and soon to be Texas. I'm sure you meant the Tacoma, right?
  • patvizinapatvizina Member Posts: 16
    I am down to the wire on these two cars and was slightly surprised to see the crash test ratings are different. Does anyone know why? Per Edmunds, the passenger safety on the VIBE is Good VS. Excellent on the Matrix. Does this mean GM did something cheaper with the body?
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Member Posts: 470
    This reminds me of the Geo Prizm and Corolla. Same car, but one was listed by some reviewers as compact and the other as mid-size.

    I have heard about GM being cheap with the paint. Not a safety item, but you probably will want to check to see if the Vibe paint issues have been resolved.
  • remaxmarty1remaxmarty1 Member Posts: 14
    Hi Roy,

    I'm researching possibilites of a class action on the uneven tire wear issue on the Matrix. We bought an '06 and notice the wear at 200 mi. I can't believe there isn't any recall information - our service center mechanic out here said this is normal for this car - what did you do about your tire wear?
  • steine13steine13 Member Posts: 2,818
    class action on the uneven tire wear issue

    I'm guessing this is not a joke...

    Uneven tire wear comes from worn suspension parts or poor alignment. Cars are often not well aligned when they roll off the assembly line.

    You need a mechanic, not a lawyer.

    FWIW, my '04 Vibe ran its lousy OEM tires down in 27k miles. And it did so very evenly.

    It had a couple other niggling things wrong with it that the dealer fixed. Life with cars is like that.

    A law suit over tire wear....??? Nuts.

  • capitanocapitano Member Posts: 509
    The only thing I noticed about tire wear on my matrix was that pretty much all of the wear occurs in the front.
  • remaxmarty1remaxmarty1 Member Posts: 14
    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.

  • remaxmarty1remaxmarty1 Member Posts: 14
    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.

  • jay39jay39 Member Posts: 2
    Where is the Vibe made, and which parts are Toyota or GM?
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Member Posts: 470
    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.
  • oubaasjohnoubaasjohn Member Posts: 8
    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.
  • oubaasjohnoubaasjohn Member Posts: 8
    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.)
  • rocky101rocky101 Member Posts: 7
    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.

  • moosmoos Member Posts: 17
    go to the matrix board and lok up the tire wear issue. :lemon:
  • caliberchiccaliberchic Member Posts: 402
    Here ya go link
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