The 2010 Pontiac Vibe is a compact car that primarily competes with the Ford Focus, Honda Insight, Mazda Mazda3 and it first cousin, the Toyota Matrix. It's somewhat hard to say exactly what the Vibe really is. A five-seat compact, a compact station wagon or a compact SUV crossover - take your pick.
The Vibe has been out since the 2003 model year. In the 2009 model year it underwent a serious facelift, and is not much changed for 2010.
The Vibe has two trims for 2010: Base and GT. Base comes in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. GT is front-wheel drive. There is a choice of two engines on the Vibe, based on the trim you choose. If you get the front-wheel drive Base model, you get a 1.8 liter, 132 horsepower gasoline I4 engine matched with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The other two trims come with a 2.4 liter, 158 horsepower gasoline I4.
With the GT you get either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. The five-speed automatic has a driver shift control. With the Base all-wheel drive you get still get the four-speed transmission, just as with the Base front-wheel drive. Best fuel economy for the Vibe is 26 miles per gallon in the city and 32 miles per gallon on the highway. Mileage for the larger engine is 21 miles per gallon city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. That's better than class average for the smaller engine.
In spite of its small size, the Vibe has a respectable towing capacity of 1500 pounds and about twenty cubic feet of cargo capacity. It gets mainly good reviews. The minor complaints so far are that the roof rack could be better, cargo volume is a little small and the power to weight ratio with the small engine is not as good as it could be - a trade off for the mileage. On the other hand, headroom is good for a small car.
NHTSA and IIHS numbers are not yet available for the 2010 Vibe. However, the 2009 Vibe, which is similar in most respects, got an NHTSA rating of five stars everywhere except rollover and rear side impact, which got four stars. IIHS ratings for the 2009 are G for Good, the best rating, straight across. Safety features include antilock brakes with traction control, anti-whiplash head restraints, tire monitor and child safety locks.
With a base price of $16,100 the 2010 Pontiac Vibe exactly holds the line on prices with last year's model. Even with the higher priced trims, the price is significantly better than class average. The only question may be whether General Motors will stay in business long enough to deliver yours.