Determined to allay any concerns that the Pontiac Vibe – a clone of the recalled Toyota Matrix – has safety issues with its brakes, General Motors conducted its own vehicle tests over the weekend at its Milford Proving Grounds. "We ran the Vibe wide open at 60 miles an hour and the brakes were able to bring the vehicle to a safe stop within 169 meters, consistent with our internal requirement for brake performance," said Martin Hogan, GM director of brake systems.
While the tests may have successfully exonerated the Vibe's braking capability in a controlled unintended acceleration scenario, they did shed some light on the increased distances required to bring run-away vehicles to a stop. According to a recent Edmunds road test of the 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT, their test vehicle panic-stopped from 60 mph in just 127 feet. Converted, GM's quoted stopping distance is 507 feet – meaning the full-throttle Vibe took four times the distance to come to a safe stop when fighting both inertia and engine power.
Nevertheless, prior to the Toyota recall announcements, GM says it had not received any relevant customer complaints on its 2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe models (although the Vibe is currently included in two Toyota recalls). The recent actions against Toyota did send a few Vibe customers to GM's hotline, but none have reported any crashes or injury. Even then, GM is quick to reiterate, "In the rare case of a sticking throttle, a driver should apply the brakes firmly and steadily until you come to a stop. Do not pump the brakes, which can deplete the available vacuum boost from the brake system." Park the vehicle, and then have it towed to a GM dealer for inspection.