2009 Pontiac Vibe Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Pontiac Vibe Hatchback

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Pontiac Vibe Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 158 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Pontiac Vibe

  • The 2009 Pontiac Vibe remains a smart choice for an affordable, practical and sporty compact wagon.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Roomy backseat, comfortable ride, versatile cargo area, peppy performance, generous standard safety features, reliable Toyota powertrain.

  • Cons

    Lackluster acceleration in base model with automatic, Toyota's version is likely to have better resale value.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Pontiac Vibe receives a complete makeover. The result is a more stylish, better-performing compact sport wagon.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (27 total reviews)

Great versatile car!

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Vibe 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

We bought our 09 Vibe AWD when it was a year old and had 11K miles. It has 90K, now. My wife drives it most of the time and she liked the size and control layout. The interior is nice and the seats are comfortable. We often take this car on a 4 hour road trip to visit family and my back does not hurt. We average 28 mpg. Have gotten as high as 32. It swallows up cargo. Have hauled tall filing cabinets, 8Kw generators, lumber, etc. With the higher ground clearance and AWD it gets around great in Ohio winter snow. It could use more sound insulation. You hear a lot of road noise. New tires at 58K helped but still noisy. No major repairs, only normal maintenance items. Overall, great car!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Delivers on target for its

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Vibe 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

Ok, I bought this as a lease return with 15k. But it's GM Certified. Now, review for what it is, not for what is not. It delivers on every aspect of its designed mission. It's an AWD AT SUV/5 door lift back, with comfortable seating for 4 (5 if you have kids). Great space to load stuff with seats down. Peppy, quiet, nice handling, not too stiff or spongy, and fuel economy is pretty darn good for an AWD. It's easy to get between 25 and 30 mpg normal driving. Sound system/CD/MP3/XM is very nice, and On Star is a plus. Mostly Toyota Matrix twin, so I know it's gonna be durable and last (parts will always be around). AWD w/AT will use more gas than 2WD, but that's expected. 2 Thumbs Up!

Post recall thoughts

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Vibe 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

Much better than the previous model. Much more comfortable. Much peppier. No problems merging on to hi-ways and fun on back roads. Great in rain and snow. If you have a strong ego it's more car than you'd ever need.

Great little car

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Vibe 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

I'm very pleased with my Vibe. It's the AWD model. It handles well and is pretty zippy with the 2.4L engine. Upgraded factory sound system with Sirius/XM is great. Mileage has consistently been around 26-27 mpg. The car is great in the snow with or without snow tires. With the back seat down it has an amazing amount of cargo space. The back seat has a lot of leg room for a small car. Too bad they discontinued this car, I'd buy another one!

Scared in snow!

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Vibe 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

We just bought a 2009 awd vibe for my wife. We live in Denver and had a good size snow. She called from work her 1st day driving this vehicle. It slid all over the place!! could hardly stop at stop signs & would just slid when turning! So i drove it when i got home, she was right! I do realize it is light but even with the "snow feature" awd kicked in, it was scary. The tires are very good--low profile, perhaps if we changed to regular tires? any Thoughts?? Very disappointed in Denver.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Can't believe i drive this

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Vibe 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

I needed a second car after buying a 2006 Porsche 911S. GM was giving these Vibes away and all I needed was a basic car with decent space, room for 5, and AWD for trips to Lake Tahoe in the winter. Since I bought the Vibe, I've put 3800 miles on it, and only 500 on my Porsche. I love this Vibe. It doesn't handle particularly well, it isn't that fast, it doesn't have any luxuries, and it isn't beautiful. But, I find myself drawn to its fun, comfortable, and easy to drive nature. My friends and family make fun of me for showing up in my Vibe while my Porsche sits in the garage, but I can't help from loving this stupid Vibe.

Full 2009 Pontiac Vibe Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Pontiac Vibe receives a complete makeover. The result is a more stylish, better-performing compact sport wagon.


In the past, small wagons were practical and affordable and not much more. If you wanted driving excitement, you were pretty much out of luck. The Pontiac Vibe, however, was one of the first entries in a new class of tall, compact sport wagons to change all that. Sure, it had the practical parts covered via an elevated driving position, remarkable passenger room, a versatile cargo area and impressive fuel economy. But it also had sporty styling, respectable performance and a cool-looking interior.

Once again a semi-identical twin to the Toyota Matrix, the redesigned-for-2009 Pontiac Vibe shares the Toyota's interior and mechanical components -- a genealogy that promises long-term reliability and durability. Unlike the identical cabins (furnished by Toyota), the exterior styling is unique to each model, with the Pontiac retaining its trademark dual grille theme. Pontiac says the steering and suspension were also specifically tuned for the Vibe.

In addition to the new styling, the '09 Vibe (available in base, AWD and GT trims) brings a new engine for all but the base trim. Replacing the high-revving but ill-suited 1.8-liter engine in previous GTs is a torquey 2.4-liter four-cylinder. It's the same one that's used in the Toyota Camry and Scion xB and is perfect in the real world for cut-and-thrust city traffic and freeway merging. The previous base-level 1.8-liter inline-4 carries over, though it's been heavily updated to provide a bit more power. All-wheel drive is available again, as well.

Other changes this year include a full complement of standard safety features and a newly standard telescoping steering wheel. Combined with increased front seat track travel, the new Vibe promises a more comfortable driving position for a greater range of body types. The interior retrains its driver-oriented layout and design, though now updated with easier-to-use controls, better materials and improved fit and finish.

If you're shopping for a small wagon or hatchback, there are more choices than ever, including the Chevrolet HHR, Mazda 3, Subaru Impreza and Scion xB. They share many of the Vibe's attributes, most notably an impressive amount of passenger/cargo space within a small footprint. The Chevy boasts cool retro styling and an available high-performance SS variant, the Mazda is known for its sporty handling and the boxy Scion has edgy youth appeal and the most interior space. If you don't dig the Vibe's styling vibe but appreciate its other attributes, Toyota's near-identical Matrix may fit your fancy. But the 2009 Pontiac Vibe makes no apologies here. With its peppy performance, solid handling, low price and high level of practicality, the Vibe is a smart choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Pontiac Vibe is a compact four-door hatchback/wagon that essentially comes in two trim levels: base and GT, though the base can also be had with all-wheel drive (AWD).

The base Vibe features include 16-inch wheels, a four-speaker audio system (with satellite radio, a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack) and a tilt/telescoping steering column. Most buyers will probably want the base with the 1SB package, which adds a more powerful engine, a rear cargo organizer and a fold-flat front passenger seat. The AWD version adds all-wheel drive, sport suspension (with independent rear setup), a luggage rack and air-conditioning. The GT is outfitted like the AWD minus the all-wheel drive and adds a rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded 320-watt audio system with MP3 playback, full power accessories, cruise control, keyless entry, leather/cloth sport seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel (with audio controls) and shift knob.

For all but the GT there is the available Preferred Package, which provides full power accessories, cruise control and keyless entry. A Sun and Sound package is available for the two middle trims and includes a sunroof, the GT's audio system and the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. la carte options for the lower trims include air-conditioning, the rear cargo organizer and an anti-theft system.

Powertrains and Performance

The base 2009 Pontiac Vibe is powered by a 1.8-liter 132-horsepower four-cylinder engine. All other trims feature a 2.4-liter four with 158 hp. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on all but the AWD, which comes with a four-speed automatic. The latter is optional on the base Vibe, while the 1SB and the GT offer an available five-speed automatic.

With the smaller engine coupled to the manual gearbox, acceleration is respectable as long as you don't mind winding the engine up past 4,000 rpm. The new 2.4-liter delivers solid, useful throttle response off idle and through the midrange, and the engine revs smoothly and quietly. With the 2.4, the run to 60 mph is estimated at around 8 seconds, about average in its class.


The Vibe comes with antilock disc brakes, OnStar, stability control and a full complement of airbags (front-seat side and full-length side curtain).

Interior Design and Special Features

All displays and controls are simple and intuitive, including those for the often-used climate control and audio systems. Build quality is also very good, with most of the interior bits and pieces sourced from Toyota. Thanks to the Vibe's tall architecture, there's plenty of room for passengers. The rear seat is split 60/40 and all but the base trim feature a flat-folding front passenger seat to allow long items to be carried inside. Max cargo capacity is 49.4 cubic feet, which is about mid-pack in the segment. All trims but the base also feature a rear cargo organizer that's handy for holding grocery bags upright and secure.

Driving Impressions

Through the turns, the 2009 Pontiac Vibe (especially in AWD and GT form with their sport suspensions) is responsive and composed, if not quite as entertaining as the decidedly sporty Mazda 3. Body roll is minimal, steering is nicely weighted 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.

Talk About The 2009 Vibe

Read more about the 2009 Pontiac Vibe

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Other Vibe Years