Click the image above for more high-res shots of the 2009 Pontiac Vibe.

The Pontiac Vibe was born in 2003 as the latest GM-badged product from its NUMMI manufacturing joint venture with Toyota in Fremont, California. That made it the oldest model in the Pontiac lineup, and it showed -- the Vibe, until today, was the last Pontiac to still wear vestiges of the horrendous cladding phase that ran from the late 80s to the early part of this decade. Like its Geo and Chevrolet-badged predecessors, the Vibe is based on the Toyota Corolla and Matrix. With new versions of the Toyotas dropping at SEMA last week. that meant it was time for a new Vibe. Pontiac unveiled it today in Detroit.

We got our first official glimpse of the car about a month ago, and anyone familiar with the original will recognize the new one. The five-door hatchback layout is preserved, as is the basic shape of the side glass. Replacing all the tacked-on plastic is newly-contoured sheetmetal that lends muscularity to the haunches. Follow the jump for more on the 2009 Pontiac Vibe.

[Source: General Motors]
The new Vibe comes in Base, AWD and GT trim levels. The base starts with a 132 hp 1.8L four with a 158 hp. The 2.4L is optional. The AWD and GT models use the bigger engine exclusively. Since the Vibe, like the new Scion xB, is based on the Toyota Corrolla platform, you can think of it as Pontiac's answer to Scion's wagon. A five-speed manual is standard equipment with either engine, and an automatic transmission is available as an option. The 1.8's auto is a 4-speed, while the 2.4 benefits from an added gear. At the pumps the 1.8L manual will get you 26 mpg city/ 32 highway while the 2.4L AWD combination comes in at a relatively unimpressive 19/25.

Inside, the Vibe is loaded with little storage nooks and have a substantial pod that extends from the IP, housing the shifter. XM Radio is standard across the board, too. Underneath, all Vibe models have standard four wheel disc brakes and Stabillitrack electronic stability control. In terms of size the new Vibe rides on the same 102 inch wheelbase but is one inch shorter overall with a wider track. So, want one? The '09 Vibe goes on sale in February with pricing to be announced in December. You can check out Pontiac's complete press release below.

PRESS RELEASEL
2009 PONTIAC VIBE AT A GLANCE:

  • All-new version of one of the segment's most popular small crossovers
  • Return of the AWD and GT models
  • 1.8L and 2.4L engines produce more power and torque without sacrificing fuel economy
  • Revised exterior/interior design augments vehicle functionality
  • Enhanced standard safety features

REDESIGNED 2009 PONTIAC VIBE MOVES TO NEW BEAT, OFFERS STYLISH FUNCTIONALITY IN SMALL CROSSOVER

DETROIT – The all-new 2009 Pontiac Vibe is a modern re-mix of a classic hit, infusing the functionality of a compact crossover with a bolder attitude of muscular styling, increased performance and tight handling. It arrives in dealer showrooms in early 2008.

Adding a richer harmony to the tune, the popular all-wheel-drive and GT models return to the Vibe lineup. Regardless of the model, each Vibe offers a level of athletic design, boosted performance and everyday versatility uncommon in the price range.

"With the 2009 Vibe, we knew we wanted to take everything we liked about the original and push it to the next level – more power, more style, more versatility," said Craig Bierley, Pontiac marketing director. "It has the interior room and cargo capability expected of a larger SUV, but with the precise handling characteristics you would expect from any Pontiac."

The 2009 Vibe includes a number of all-new and enhanced features, including:
  • More powerful 1.8L base engine and a new, high-output 2.4L engine (optional on the base model, standard on the AWD and GT)
  • Athletic exterior styling with a faster windshield, all-new sheet metal and lighting elements
  • Refreshed, driver-focused interior styling with more harmonious integration of the controls
  • Standard electronic vehicle stability control and tire pressure monitoring systems
  • Six standard air bags
  • Enhanced functionality with integrated cargo management system and fold-flat front seat
Engine performance
Packing more off-the-line power than ever before, the '09 Vibe delivers the type of responsive performance needed to safely navigate those unexpected everyday driving situations. A 132-horsepower (98 kW) 1.8L DOHC four-cylinder is standard on base models and delivers 128 lb.-ft. (174 Nm) of torque. The engine benefits from dual variable valve timing, optimizing both performance and efficiency, and is matched to a standard five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic.

Customers desiring higher performance can opt for the larger, 2.4L DOHC engine with 158 horsepower (118 kW) and 162 lb.-ft. (224 Nm) of torque. The 2.4L engine is standard on AWD and GT models, and is optional on the base model.

A four-speed automatic transmission is standard on the AWD. Customers of the 2.4L-equipped base or GT models can choose between a standard five-speed manual transmission or a new, five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission featuring Driver Shift Control (DSC), which delivers a great combination of performance, fuel economy and smoothness. With DSC, the driver can manually select gears via tap up/tap down controls.

Fuel economy
With the 1.8L engine and the standard manual transmission, fuel economy is estimated at 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway; with the automatic, fuel economy is estimated at 25 in the city and 31 on the highway.

The 2.4L engine on the GT is estimated at 21 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway with the manual transmission and 21 city/26 highway with the five-speed automatic. On the AWD model, the 2.4L/four-speed automatic combination delivers an estimated 19 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway.

Ride and handling
Driving dynamics of the new Vibe have been refined to deliver a responsive driving experience, with a special focus on reduced noise, vibration and harshness. An array of chassis control systems enhances ride and handling, as well as safety.

The Vibe has a body-integral structure with underbody rails running from front to rear, giving the structure exceptional strength and a strong foundation on which to anchor the suspension systems. All models employ a MacPherson-strut front suspension design. The base model has a torsion-beam rear suspension that is revised for a more comfortable ride, while the AWD and GT models use a multi-link independent rear suspension for even sharper responses and enhanced driving control.

Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS are standard on all models, as is electronic stability control and traction control. Steering control is augmented with an electric power steering system, providing variable-effort performance and (because there is no engine-driven power steering pump) enhanced fuel economy.

Exterior design
The Vibe has the looks to back up its performance. With a lean, athletic form, the Vibe's new exterior exemplifies the future of Pontiac's design – clean, purposeful shapes and a decidedly sophisticated aesthetic. The new Vibe's appearance melds the space-enabling design of a small SUV with a forward-looking profile, furthering the groundbreaking design pioneered by the original Vibe, launched in 2002.

All of the sheet metal is new, with minimal gaps that reinforce the Vibe's tailored appearance. A faster windshield angle contributes to the sleeker look, while large wheels and minimal overhangs give the vehicle an aggressive, firmly planted stance.

"The new Vibe's design is sporty yet completely functional," said Ron Aselton, chief designer. "Clean lines, minimal overhangs and wheels pushed to the corners give the vehicle a muscular stance."

Vibe's three models – base, AWD and GT – are distinguished from one another with unique styling cues. For example, the AWD features a standard roof rack perfect for outdoor activities. The GT has its own front fascia – with larger fog lamps and lower-fascia air intake – rocker moldings, roof spoiler and a bright exhaust tip. All models offer distinctive wheel options.

Interior design and features
Like the exterior, the '09 Vibe's interior is all-new and has a driver-focused cockpit design more common to sports cars. The controls and gauges were redesigned for easier use, but retain a performance-oriented look and feel; and the interior quality and craftsmanship are reflected in class-leading gap/flush tolerances.

Interior material refinement is also stepped up a notch in the new Vibe, with a combination of low-gloss materials, varied grains on the instrument panel and other trim components, and satin-metal accents. New, knit-fabric seating surfaces are durable and have a premium look, while GT models are enhanced with standard leather-trimmed seats, three-spoke steering wheel and shift knob. Seating for five is standard on all models.

The Vibe's interior also is loaded with standard amenities not typically found in other vehicles in the segment, including a steering column with telescoping/rake adjustability; a 115-volt, three-prong auxiliary power outlet, six-way adjustable driver's seat and front active headrests.

Audio systems
All Vibe models come with an AM/FM radio with CD and XM Satellite Radio. The XM band is integrated for seamless switching between all three signal bands. An auxiliary audio input jack is standard, too, allowing the MP3 players and other portable devices to play through the Vibe's speakers.

A four-speaker sound system is standard on Vibe base and AWD models. True audiophiles can step up to a premium Monsoon™ 320-watt audio system, including MP3 capability and seven-speaker sound. The Monsoon system is standard on GT models and available on base and AWD as part of the Sun and Sound package.

Cargo versatility
Vibe's roomy interior provides generous storage space for all kinds of stuff, starting with a 60/40-split rear seat that folds flat to create 49.4 cubic feet (1,399 L) behind the front seats. Rubberized cargo floor strips help prevent items from sliding. Additional storage solutions are offered from an oversized glove box, an overhead console, a dual-tier center console and other integrated cubby holes located throughout the vehicle.

A rear cargo compartment storage organizer is standard on all models equipped with a 2.4L engine (optional with the 1.8L engine) and provides an almost unlimited number of cargo solutions, thanks to a multitude of hooks and net-divided compartments. It also conveniently folds into the floor when not in use. Vibes equipped with the 2.4L engine also come with a fold-flat front passenger seat that expands the interior's storage versatility – for times when you need to haul a ladder, small kayak or other long items.

Wheels and tires
Sixteen-inch wheels and touring tires are standard on base and AWD models. Seventeen-inch aluminum wheels are also available on these models, featuring a bright machine finish on the base model and chrome-clad finish on the AWD. The Vibe GT comes standard with 18-inch bright machine finish aluminum wheels and 215/45-series all-season performance tires.

Safety
The new Vibe was designed from the outset to be one of the segment's safest vehicles, with a comprehensive system of design and technology features that help protect occupants before, during and after a crash event. Standard features include:
  • StabiliTrak electronic vehicle stability system
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Dual-stage frontal air bags with a passenger sensing system
  • Head curtain side air bags
  • Side thorax air bags for the front passengers
  • Active head restraints
  • Three-point safety belts in all seating positions
  • Front safety belt retractors
  • Rear-seat LATCH child safety seat provisions in all three seating positions
  • OnStar
The standard OnStar system's digital equipment includes enhanced hands-free voice recognition capabilities, including more intuitive continuous digit dialing and improved voice recognition accuracy. Using the GPS satellite network and wireless technology, OnStar features core safety services and OnStar Hands-Free Calling, which allows drivers to make and receive voice-activated phone calls.

Vibe history
Introduced in 2002 as a '03 model, the Pontiac Vibe was an immediate hit with customers who sought a contemporary, roomy utility vehicle that was also efficient. Sales topped 39,000 in that abbreviated first-year and continued to climb in the years after – reaching more than 64,000 in 2005. By the end of calendar-year 2007, total Vibe sales will number approximately 300,000.

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