2006 Vibe New Car Test Drive
The Pontiac Vibe is popular for its practicality, sporty styling and zippy performance. A new front fascia greatly improves the appearance of the 2005 models. It's a smoother look that suggests the styling of an upcoming sports car called the Solstice.
A five-door hatchback, Vibe has roomy front and rear seats, making for comfortable travel for four. Its cargo compartment features a track system with adjustable tie-down anchors for securing your stuff. The seating setup is flexible, allowing the driver to flip down the passenger seat when hauling items up to eight-feet long. That seat can be used as a desk for a laptop computer, which can be plugged into the 115-volt electrical outlet.
Vibe is best represented in the standard model. It's pleasant and comfortable to drive and offers versatility when it's time to haul something. Its four-cylinder engine delivers adequate performance and it's clean, already meeting Ultra-Low Emissions standards set for 2007. It's also inexpensive. A Vibe loaded with optional safety features, premium sound systems and cargo compartment accessories retails for about $20,000. And it can get there: All-wheel drive is available for dependable all-weather capability.
The Vibe GT is designed to deliver more excitement, but its high-performance engine seems too peaky for this application and adds considerably to the cost. Vibe comes in wild colors, and accessories are available to enhance its look.
New safety features are options for 2005 models, including StabiliTrak electronic stability control, side curtain airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags, a tire pressure monitor, OnStar, and programmable automatic door locks. The front-passenger airbag has been upgraded on all models. 2005 models get new cloth fabrics as standard equipment. Leather has been added to the options list along with an upgraded audio system.
Pontiac builds the 2005 Vibe in base ($16,915), AWD ($20,240), and GT ($19,890) versions.
The base Vibe comes with a 130-horsepower four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, a four-speed automatic optional ($850). The Vibe comes standard with wind-up windows, manual door locks, and 16-inch steel wheels, but it is otherwise reasonably well equipped with air conditioning; power mirrors; a CD player; two automotive-style 12-volt outlets; plus a two-prong, household-style 115-volt power outlet.
Anti-lock brakes ($525) and StabiliTrak ($495) are optional. Also optional: side-impact and curtain airbags ($745) and OnStar ($695). We strongly recommend all of these features for their ability to help you avoid accidents, to reduce injuries in the event of an accident, and to automatically call for help after an accident.
The all-wheel-drive Vibe (AWD) is similarly equipped to the base model, but its engine is de-tuned to 123 horsepower. The AWD model comes standard with an automatic transmission and anti-lock brakes.
The Vibe GT comes with a 180-horsepower engine and six-speed manual transmission. No automatic is available. GT gets four-wheel discs with ABS, 16-inch cast-aluminum wheels, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Side-impact and curtain airbags are optional ($745). Stabilitrak ($495) electronic stability control is also optional. A Power Package ($850) adds cruise control, power windows with driver's express-down, and power door locks with remote keyless entry to all models. The optional Moon & Tunes package ($840) adds a power glass moonroof and 200-watt audio system with seven speakers and integrated subwoofer. An in-dash six-CD changer is also available as a stand-alone option ($325) or as part of a DVD-based navigation system ($1,650). XM Satellite Radio ($325) and OnStar ($695) telematics are optional. Optional 16-inch ($440) and 17-inch ($825) aluminum wheels are available.
To give all that show some go there is a dealer-installed supercharger for the base model that will deliver 7.5 psi of boost for a 35-percent increase in horsepower and torque. The supercharger can be installed on either manual or automatic Vibes, and shares the Vibe's 3 year/36,000 mile warranty.