• Nov 7, 2007
Pontiac officially unveiled the 2009 edition of the Vibe hatchback yesterday, and a question has been raised by several commentors about the powertrain lineup. As we all know, the Vibe shares a platform with the Toyota Corolla and all of its derivatives. The question of why the Vibe uses the Toyota engines rather than GM's own Ecotec lineup was raised during the press conference. After all the 2.4L EcoTec as used in the Cobalt is rated at 173hp and yields EPA numbers of 22/32 mpg according to the 2008 EPA tests. That's 15 hp more, and it bests the 21/27 mpg of the Toyota 2.4 in the Vibe GT.

According to a Pontiac spokesman, the deal with Toyota allows GM to provide product performance requirements, and do the styling, final calibration and tuning. The base engineering responsibility falls to Toyota, and they select the major component suppliers and subsystems, including engines. So, as long as GM maintains this relationship with Toyota, they will have limited control over whatever vehicles are produced. When you consider GM's recent products, it may be time for the General to create the next generation Vibe from its own Delta platform instead. Dropping the 260 hp turbo DI 2.0 Ecotec from the HHR SS (and Cobalt SS, and Solstice GXP, and Sky Red Line) into the AWD Vibe might make a pretty sweet alternative to the new Caliber SRT-4 from Dodge.

[Source: General Motors]



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  • 32 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Vibe would be great using the 2.2L ecotec as a base engine with 2.4L optional and the turbo 2.0L as a sport package. As long as they don't just give us a rebadged HHR.... The Vibe looks GOOD... the HRR looks like CRAP...
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's made in the same Fremont, California factory as the Corolla, it was probably easier and cheaper for GM since it is largely a Toyota plant.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If you are going to compare mileage. Us a similar vehicle. The HHR 2.4 5 speed gets 20/28 according to EPA 2008.

      Another thing. The new EPA numbers don't come from a more "real world" test. It is the same old test with some tweaks(fudge factors), some cars are not even tested and they rely on numbers from the manufacturer themselves!

      If you want real world numbers look to Consumer Reports MPG tests, where they run the same loops multiple times with each car. They usually get city numbers lower than EPA, but highway numbers that are often higher than EPA.

      Or look at Edmunds long term tests. They put 30000 miles on a car and report the average over the whole test with multiple drivers.

      Those are real world tests. EPA is still a joke, just a joke with a new fudge factor.

      BTW if you want a GM powered Vibe, get yourself an HHR because that is the same idea, but a full GM design.
        • 7 Years Ago
        As an aside, I'll add that the 1st-gen Pontiac Vibe was regrilled, rebadged and sold in Japan as the Toyota Voltz. When I first saw the 2nd-generation Pontiac Vibe, I was stunned at its side profile/greenhouse similarity to the Japanese domestic market's Toyota Caldina (which sits on the Toyota Avensis/Scion tC coupe platform). In the context of Toyota's JDM lineup, the Vibe actually "fits in" better than the Matrix.

        Thus, don't be surprised if it's the Vibe and not the Matrix that gets exported to Japan as a Toyota, just like in the first generation.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The "new" Corolla and Vibe -- the Canadian EPA is coming out and they look be have horrible gas mileage ... horrors 21mpg in the city -- there are V8s that do better. 30MPG hwy ... I know for sure that most GM V8s do considerably better.

      I know the "small" 1.8L is supposed to be good, but even it is rated at only 27mpg city -- my Neon has never gotten worse then 29mpg in the city, and usually does around 31mpg.

      The Corolla and Vibe --- look unchanged to me; slight refreshing. I know Toyota says they are wider etc, but they sure a fooling my eyes.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The valvematic 2.0 would have been good choice.

      But how about a good transmission?
      Really, come on. A bad transmission can hobble a good engine.
      6 speed double clutch-no
      6:1 ratio spread CVT-no
      6 speed automatic-no
      6 speed stick-no
        • 7 Years Ago
        I completely understand gear spacing (and maybe something could be said about the choice of the variable cam switchover RPM) but there is no way to get up on the cam in 6th gear even with that gearing. It would be doing 180mph at redline in 6th and we all now that's not going to happen. So, what's the point of tight gearing in the top gears? To me it just feels like a poseur choice. If you're in 5th or 6th gear you're not racing anyways.
        Realistically in that car you're not racing above 80-90mph, you're just on a banzai top speed run, so gear it nice and tight up to 3rd/4th gear and above that start spacing the ratios out a bit to make the car real-world practical. As it is the gearing completely eliminated any interest I had in ever owning one.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The transmission in the 2ZZ-GE is the way it is because the engine is pretty torqueless at lower revs, requiring short gearing and (very) frequent shifting.

        I'm not complaining--it's a fun powertrain and it's sad to see it go--but you had to shift a lot.

        The problem with that transmission is that it isn't geared short _enough_ and the engine falls off the hot cam on every shift. Honda does this better in the K20C (RSX-S), but you still suffer the high revs at cruising speed. Both could have used a (very) tall sixth or seventh gear.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Close ratio gearing (4:1 ratio spread) like 5,8,11,14,17,20 mph / 1K would help to keep the engine operating on 'vtec'
        but it does nothing to help highway driving.
        A wide ratio dual countershaft 6 speed stick would be more amenable to the real world, 4,8,12,16,20,24 mph / 1K
        http://www.autozine.org/technical_school/engine/vvt_31.htm#VVTL-i
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yep, definitely on drugs.
      • 7 Years Ago
      these vehicles are made side by side no? Makes perfect sens to ship in a new engine and have them empty parts bins and refill them when they switch models..

      lol..
      • 7 Years Ago
      I too, got my Vibes because of the Toyota engine. I wouldn't have looked twice at the car if it had a GM engine.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yeah, the JV has kind of worn out its usefulness now that GM has got its act together. That plant in California is the only Toyota plant to have the UAW inside. It was Toyotas first attempt at building cars in the USA and wanted to learn about the American worker, while GM wanted to learn more about Toyota and its manufacturing systems. I say the end is near and one should buy the other out of the deal.

      People will read this article and slam GM's 4cyl, but there is no reason for this as it is as smooth and powerful with better fuel economy as stated in the article. You can also read up on how the Ecotec works as good as any from Toyota or Honda in the new Malibu per Edmonds Inside Line on their first drive of the car.
        • 7 Years Ago
        while I agree the Ecotec is a good engine you can't compare gas milage from teh cobalt to the Vibe

        make the switch adn the gas milage will most likel drop to the 21/27mpg levels.
      • 7 Years Ago
      My clutch went up in my matrix after 32k miles. Toyota said not under warranty, I said middle finger and paid a grand to get it fixed. Other than that, rock solid car.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Clutch at 32k is complete BS! I would've been pissed!!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Dropping the 260 hp turbo DI 2.0 Ecotec from the HHR SS into the AWD Vibe might make a pretty sweet alternative to the new Caliber SRT-4 from Dodge."

      No offense, Sam, but maybe Pontiac needs to set its sights a little higher, as in MazdaSpeed3 or Subaru WRX.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Am I the only one that sees Jeep Compass in the D pillar? Yet all of you are saying how beautiful this thing is. If that's the case, how come the Compass is deemed ugly? To me, this Pontiac looks amazingly like the compass except for the Pontiac front end.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Compass is the ugliest car on the road since the Aztek. It is a frumpy looking turd that does not reflect any of the core values of the Jeep brand. I believe that is the main argument against the Compass and it should be dropped. The Patriot is done well off the same chassis and should be the only Jeep model off of that platform, even if the interior is a tad on the cheap/hard plastic side. Park this Vibe next to a Compass and check out the interior and exterior design. Sure, both are a 2 box designs, but the attention to detail, quality of materials, fit and finish, panel gaps, as well as driveability would be way different. The CVT in the Compass feels like an elastic band and should be avoided.
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