2008 Pontiac Vibe Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Pontiac Vibe Wagon

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Pontiac Vibe Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.8 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 126 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 26/33 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Pontiac Vibe

  • Though aged, the 2008 Pontiac Vibe is still a viable choice for an affordable, practical and sporty-looking small wagon.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Roomy backseat, comfortable ride, versatile cargo area, excellent fuel economy, reliable Toyota powertrain.

  • Cons

    Major safety features are available as options only, lackluster acceleration, Toyota's version is likely to have better resale value.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Pontiac Vibe remains unchanged.

Full 2008 Pontiac Vibe Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Pontiac Vibe remains unchanged.


Making inexpensive and practical transportation cool is not an easy task, somewhat akin to asking the president of a high school math club to get freaky at a hip-hop dance club. But unlike President Poindexter, though, the 2008 Pontiac Vibe manages to be both smart and edgy at the same time.

When it debuted five years ago, the Vibe was one of the first entries in the tall, sport compact wagon segment. Combining SUV, minivan and compact sport sedan themes, it featured qualities such as an elevated driving position, generous passenger room, a versatile cargo area and sporty design. Impressive fuel economy along with an easy-to-handle price tag furthered this Pontiac's allure.

The Vibe also benefited from good family genes. A platform twin to the Toyota Matrix, the Vibe's running gear and most of its cabin design is from Toyota, which bodes well for long-term reliability and durability. The exterior styling is where the two differ, and to our eyes the Vibe is the more handsome of the two with its chiseled lines and distinctive trademark grille as opposed to the Matrix's bland nose and bulbous body.

Being shorter than the typical compact sedan, the Vibe is a snap to parallel park and maneuver in tight spots. Also driver-friendly is the "command of the road" view out the windshield afforded by this Pontiac's taller seating design. The upward architecture with its elevated seating makes for a spacious cabin, especially for rear-seat passengers. The cargo area is versatile too, with a plastic load floor that can be quickly wiped clean, along with a fold-flat front passenger seat that allows long items to be carried inside.

Though the 2008 Pontiac Vibe is now one of the oldest compact wagons in terms of design, we feel it's still a good choice. Rivals such as the Chevrolet HHR, Dodge Caliber, Mazda 3 and Scion xB share many of the Vibe's attributes, most notably remarkable space-efficiency. All have their strengths -- the Chevy boasts cool retro styling, the Caliber offers all-wheel drive, the Mazda is known for its sporty handling and the redesigned Scion has edgy youth appeal -- but the Vibe makes no apologies here. Even now, in the twilight of its lifecycle, the 2008 Pontiac Vibe offers an appealing mix of practicality, affordability and fun.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Pontiac Vibe is a compact, five-passenger wagon that comes in a single trim level. Standard features include 16-inch wheels, air-conditioning, a CD player and tilt steering. Most buyers will probably want the optional Preferred Package, which provides full power accessories, cruise control and keyless entry. There's also the Sun and Sound Package with a sunroof and an upgraded audio system. Spring for both and you're eligible to order OnStar as well. Other options include leather seating, satellite radio, 17-inch alloy wheels and a Sport package (which includes a monochromatic paint scheme, 16-inch alloy wheels and an in-dash six-disc CD changer).

Powertrains and Performance

A 1.8-liter 126-horsepower four-cylinder mated to either a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic is the Vibe's lone engine choice. With the manual gearbox, acceleration is respectable as long as you don't mind winding the engine up past 4,000 rpm. With the automatic, off-the-line punch is softer but otherwise acceleration is satisfactory. Though it's smooth, the engine can get a bit noisy when kept on the boil, however. Fuel economy is excellent, with the more realistic 2008 estimates putting it at 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway for manual transmission-equipped models. (The automatic is a few mpg less.)


Virtually all the latest safety features can be had on the 2008 Pontiac Vibe, though they will cost you extra. Front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, stability control and antilock brakes are all optional. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the Vibe earned a perfect five stars in frontal-impact testing for the driver and four stars for the front passenger. Side impact testing (with the optional airbags) by that agency resulted in five stars for the front and four stars for the rear.

Interior Design and Special Features

Spicing things up inside the Vibe are chrome-ringed gauges and metallic accents. When not providing roomy seating for passengers, the 60/40-split rear folds completely flat to offer 54 cubic feet of usable cargo space. Increasing the capacity further is a folding front passenger seat that allows long objects to be transported inside, a 115-volt A/C power outlet and a durable plastic cargo floor with adjustable tie-down anchors. All displays and controls are simple and intuitive, including those for the often-used climate control and audio systems. Build quality is also excellent, as most of the interior bits and pieces are sourced from Toyota.

Driving Impressions

Although the 2008 Pontiac Vibe's handling isn't as entertaining as that of the decidedly sporty Mazda 3, it is responsive and composed. Body roll is minimal and turn-in is fairly crisp. A supple ride makes the Vibe a good companion whether handling commuting duty or road tripping, and freeway cruising is unstrained at higher speeds.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2004 pontiac vibe 4 door.hatchback

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Vehicle: 2008 Pontiac Vibe 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

I love my bive, i bought it new with 4 miles on it. I have had it 10 yrs. has been a great car for me, if I had the money and could get another car I would search for another Vibe... I am sadden they don't make them any longer. I don't like sun roofs, but the inside of the 2004 vibe is the style I would search for .. 2004--2008/// Great car in my eyes and heart.. Love my vibe wouldn't get another if I had to and couldn't get a Vibe I'd get the same company that made mine a Toyota.. maybe a Matres.. I would have to do some searching...

Best in its class

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Vehicle: 2008 Pontiac Vibe 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

I never owned this vehicle but was assigned one of the 4 owned by the place i used to work.I got it with less than 50 miles basically brand new i used to drove 200 up to 500 miles daily and have to say this car was great in every way. First lets call things by their name this is a 4 cylinder economy base car you can't expect great acceleration or killer looks or comforts found in luxury cars.I put 108k miles in 14 months besides oil changes(cheap oil by the way every 7500 miles) and wiper blades it never gave any problem if that is not reliable i don't know what it is.Even the tires it came with lasted for about 13 months.Sometimes i question the ability of some people to review cars.

Great buy

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Vehicle: 2008 Pontiac Vibe 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

Lots of extras in the Pontiac version power roof, windows roof rails etc. Very peppy and fun and easy to drive. Bought for my teen who is a new driver and it has been perfect.

Out of 17 cars owned

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Vehicle: 2008 Pontiac Vibe 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

My second Vibe! My first one was gave to my father inlaw. He is handicap and over wieghtaking it hard for him to get in and out of a car. This car is perfect for him. Also, this gave me a good reason to buy a new one! Only thing is the enlinks went bad on the car while still under warrenty and the dealer will not fix. This is not a mark against the car but a mark agaist the dealership!

So good i bought it

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Vehicle: 2008 Pontiac Vibe 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

I bought my 1st Vibe in 2003. I loved it. I am a park ranger but grew up in the city, this car was the best of both! It has nice style for the city yet it was perfect when I moved to Yellowstone. The back has ample space to fit all sorts of gear and the roof rack adds extra space. Front pass. seat flips down so when I bought 10 foot 2X4's they fit perfectly. Even if they had been longer I would not worry cause back window pops open! While traveling X country I recharged by AA batt. using the 2 prong outlet in dashboard. After hiking I throw my dirty boots in the trunk & never worry about a mess cause it is durable plastic. Never had a prob. In June I got 2008, gave 2003 to mom- she loves it

I love my vibe!

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Vehicle: 2008 Pontiac Vibe 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

i love this car. its is a reliable, fun, peppy sporty little car, but at the same time works for my baby. getting him in and out is easy as the car sits fairly high as opposed to most other cars you have to bend over into.

Talk About The 2008 Vibe

2008 Pontiac Vibe Discussions See all Started By

2009 Vibe timetable pulled forward at NUMMI-...

:mad: I have been searching for a Vibe (with all the bells and whistles) for MONTHS...now intensely, the past 2 weeks. (need it fast!)...

2008 Vibe has 32000 km and the car has started giving occasional vibrations on braking. please suggest solutions....

Gas Mileage


  • 26
  • cty
  • 33
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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