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Toyota Matrix vs. Pontiac Vibe - Compare Notes



  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    I agree with jmcknight. I think the AWD is the best value on the market. It either needs a bit more power, or for the driver to modify their driving habits. The latter is easier to do than most people think. I change my oil with Mobil 1 every 5k.
  • jmcknight2jmcknight2 Posts: 47
    - I also use Mobil 1 at approx. 5000-mile intervals. My driving is mixed urban and highway. In October I change to 0w-30 and in April I go with 5w-30. I see there's a 0w-40 grade now, advertized as "European Car Formula".
  • carbonnicarbonni Posts: 33
    you said on another board that you need to turn off the overdrive of your AWD Vibe on each hill you drive up. Why do you need to do that?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    carbonni: there simply is not enough HP to get up hills with the AWD. Sure I can punch the gas pedal and have the tranny downshift, but I believe hitting the OD button is the better way to make the tranny last.
  • The owner's manual recommends using the OD button if you are towing something because it prevents the transmission from shifting into 4th gear, which is the overdrive gear. If you are in 4th gear already and punch the OD button to force the transmission back to 3rd gear, won't that put more wear and tear on the transmission than simply letting it downshift on its own? The OD button won't prevent downshifting on hills from 3rd to 2nd gear.
  • hudraheadhudrahead Posts: 169
    hertzo: True, it can still downshift from 3rd to 2nd if the grade is so steep or load so heavy it just needs more rpm to keep from lugging the engine. If anyone is planning to tow something that heavy then you have no business doing it in such hilly terrain. The Vibe IS a nice vehicle ( I have one) but woefully underpowered in the torque dept. and should not be towing anything in the firsplace. The main benefit of locking out the OD is that it will hold 3rd gear and no "hunt" back and forth between OD and 3rd. What GM should do is make the ECOTEC 2.2 a optional engine choice but maby that is not doable due to the connection with Toyota. Toyota would not like to admit that both the VIBE and MATRIX are way, way underpowered. If you just want to put-put around town or cruise the flatlands they are barely adequate but if you have any mountains (or just hills for that matter)to climb you most likely will not be happy. My wife just loves the car however and would be happy if she had to get out and push it . LOL

    HUD :):)
  • capitanocapitano Posts: 509
    I don't find my Matrix to be underpowered. I have the XRS version which has significantly more horsepower than the base or XR versions. Torque is about the same though.

    Maybe it's the manual transmission, but I find my car has plenty of zip and I haven't yet had it in the VVTI range over 6k rpm.

    I am still in the break in period and although I am trying to baby it, I find it very hard to do so. The car seems to want to go.

    So far I only have one real complaint. I don't like the speedo markings. The most used range is only the lower left quarter. The range from 0 to 60 feels compressed and the markings aren't where I am used to them.
  • hudraheadhudrahead Posts: 169
    capitano: I agree totally about the speedo markings. The car is so quiet that the speed will creep up on you and soon that needle will be @ 12'oclock, not good !!! I got two speeeding warnings before I finally adjusted to the range on the speedo plus you can't really see the darned thing in the daytime anyway. The 04's are supposed to have made some changes as to legibility (lighting) in the daytime but I don't think they changed the position of the numbers, bummer.

    Have you had the dreaded "stinky exhaust" syndrome yet? Most of the time it smells like you are following a septic tank pumper truck ! Have tried different brands of gas per the dealer but it still comes back from time to time.

    HUD :):)
  • capitanocapitano Posts: 509
    Mine is an 04 and the numbers are white now which does aid visibility.

    I have not had the stinky exhaust syndrome yet. I've tanked up twice using shell 93 octane.

    I have smelled other cars that do (various makes). My 89 Pathfinder had it, but it wasn't totally nauseating. It was a rather distinct smell. Even now I can smell a Pathfinder when one is nearby in traffic.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    if the base engine were the 148 hp 2L from the RAV - two cars with high profiles that weigh approximately the same. Fuel economy would suffer though - about five points probably. That would have me averaging 27, and I wouldn't like that.

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

  • I don't think so. Now, we're not going to break any land speed records, nor win many quarter miler, but the XRS will get on down the street. I'm often well past 60mph when I realize it and I have to back off to satisfy the spousal unit and avoid the local constabulary. Luckily, she doesn't ride with me often. A slow starter compared to most HP autos, yet, if I wanted an auto that would snap my head off, I would have got the 745i BMW and headed to the autobahns.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    you would have had to try to figure out's probably just as well you didn't! :-)

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

  • Underpowered thinkers - just found out about the Matrix 1.8L supercharger, manual tranny only. Adds approx 40 additional horsepower; seen costs ranging from $2695 - $2995 plus installation costs. Thoughts? Seems a bit expensive per horsepower added....?
  • I've seen some talk of it on other sites. Quite a few people seem to think it would be a good idea to get more low-end power out of the matrix base and XR models and as an alternative to getting the XRS model. The downside I see to this it that the XRS has a host of other goodies that the XR does not such as upgraded suspension, disk brakes all around, and ABS. So while the S/C may get an XR to be quicker than the XRS, the XRS IMO represents a better value.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    suspension is the same. Rim/tire package is the same if you have the moonroof too.

    So I guess this means the S/C makes engine output too high to hook up to the auto trans. But I thought the auto in both models was the same? Have not really checked it out though...

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

  • The suspension designs are the same, but the XRS is dialed in firmer. Not sure if that could be adjusted on an XR without aftermarket parts.

    2004's also allow 17" wheels with moonroofs.

    I think the issue with the S/C is the torque not the HP. The XRS is no longer available with an auto trans. When it was, the torque on the XRS is only marginally higher than that of the XR. With the supercharger the base 1.8l engine is supposed to generate almost 170 lb-ft of torque and the tanny might not be able to handle that.

    The obvious next question is whether the manual transmission in the base and XR versions can absorb that 35% increase in torque. Clutches aren't usually warranty items so maybe Toyota won't care.
  • from what i read only the automatic can get the supercharger.
  • Has there been any glaring reliability differences between the two vehicles?

    How about dealership treatment. On the whole are people who buy a Vibe from Pontiac treated just as well by GM dealerships as those who buy a Matrix from Toyota? The dealerships closest to me in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago are O'Hare Pontiac and Scaumburg Toyota. Experiences with either of those two?

    The only real differences I see between the two is the Pontiac has lower resale value (probably due to the mass amounts of rebates and discounts GM offers I would assume yes?), available grey plastic bumpers as opposed to painted, a lower price after rebates, a shorter powertrain warranty, and a navigation system available across the board for those of us who are directionally impaired but don't wish to purchase a car with a manual transmission and a peaky engine. ;-)

    Oh also the insurance rates on the Vibe are slightly (by $4 a month) higher than the Matrix for me. Any clues as to why? All my insurance company can say is that's the price symbol that was assigned to them. *shrugs* Not a big deal at all just curious.
  • The Vibe has a roof rack, and the Matrix doesn't. You can't even add the Vibe roof rack to a Matrix, but would have to instead go with aftermarket racks.
  • Can anyone tell me if the rear floor of Matrix folds as flat as the Vibe? Can you get the double spoiler on the regular fwd Vibe? Where is the Vibe and Matrix built? Thanks
  • The interiors are exactly the same so yes the Matrix seats fold as flat. The Vibe is built in California at the NUMMI factory while the Matrix is built in Canada at a Toyota Factory which builds the Corolla, Matrix and RX330.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I'd like to replace one of our current big SUVs with something like a Vibe or Matrix (don't have a real preference, it will depend on price and availability, as I'd like a FWD, probably with a 5-speed).

    Any opinions on the material of the cargo floor? My brother often hauls largish amplifiers (Marshall half stack) and I'm wondering

    a. does cargo slide around more than it would in a vehicle with carpeted floor (which I have now)

    b. are the floors durable (i.e., would said amplifiers likely damage the cargo floor)?
  • capitanocapitano Posts: 509
    Things do zing around in the back on the hard surface more than on a carpeted surface. I have the cargo mat, but that doesn't seem to have helped much. The nets help a lot though.

    Things slide around on the carpet in my wife's Civic and they slid around in every car I've ever had. I think the reason it gets more attention in the twins is the hard plastic floor makes it a noisier proposition. But the twins have the option for nets, and the tie downs to take care of it.
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    I've hauled home cut up sheets of MDF (medium denisty fiberboard for those of you who either aren't wood workers or don't watch Trading Spaces :) in my Matrix. I foolishly relied on the tremendous weight of the material to keep it from sliding around. It worked a bit but I had a moron in a pick-up in front of me slam his brakes and when the MDF slid around it carved some nice gouges in the hard plastic cargo area in several places.

    IMO, the only advantage of the hard plastic cargo area would be the easy cleaning (possibly cost savings as well).
  • luddite649luddite649 Posts: 1
    What's the load capacity of the roof rack on the Vibe? Is it compatable with add-on components from some standard manufacturer like Yakima or Thule? Anybody tried carrying something large like a canoe or kayak?

    Finally, what dork of an engineer decided to put the antenna sticking up right in the middle of the roof rack?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    the antenna was put there by Toyota as part of its design for the Matrix (note that the Corolla is identical). The Matrix does not have an available roof rack. When Pontiac decided it WAS going to have one, you would think they would have moved the antenna somewhere else...

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

  • We haven't tried to tie down anything on our roof rack yet - 2004 AWD Vibe - but we were told that the antenna is "very flexible and won't break." - salesman's words. We said your statement in almost the exact words when we looked at the Vibe and the Matrix on the lots and again to the salesman as we negotiated a price:

    "What idiot engineer decided it was a good idea to put the antenna in the middle of the roof?"

    I hope it can take a kayak or canoe...
  • I own a Vibe --


    So I can tell you that the antenna unscrews completely. If you are going to put something on the roof rack and the antenna is in the way, you can just take it off and put it back on when you are done.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    certainly a pragmatic approach to the problem. Of course, then for long trips where you are carrying something on the roof, you can't listen to the radio. :-(

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

  • Thats why you have CD players.. I always hate having to change radion stations every 100 miles or so anyway.



This discussion has been closed.