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 Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 158 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/28 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 (39 total reviews)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great car for great price!

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT 4dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

I was on the search for a car for two weeks and almost bought a Mazda3 so glad I didn't! This little car is very well made and i've always loved pontiacs as my first car was one and never had an issue with it till it got in an accident. I thought i couldn't afford this car when I first test drove it but I got it right in my price range per month had great credit and apr and I knocked them down to 13grand :) basicly for the price you just can't beat the deal on a reliable car like this. Oh I chose the GT model cause thats what I have...but its an auto but has the option to switch to manual sooo 5 speed manual? only option they had lol.

Fantastic little hatchback

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT 4dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

I have only had this car a month and I love this thing. It is really fun to drive and seems to be really solid on the road even in the turns. It is no Mazda 3 but for me it is sporty enough with a lot of practical applications. I really wish GM had not killed this car off, they could have re-badged it to a Chevy or Buick nameplate which is a shame that they just let it drop instead. The cruise control takes a bit to get used to. The Engine is nice too, a little torquey on take offs but it is a solid engine and great for quick merges.

Nice car - of course

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT 4dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

This bought used 2009 GT would be our second Vibe, also have a 2004 we bought new. The 2009 has the 2.4 engine which makes a lot of power for a car this size. The 5 speed automatic shifts flawlessly. The northeast U.S. has been getting bombarded with massive snow lately, but the Vibe hasn't let us down once! The 18 inch rims are quite sharp looking, the fit and finish appear to be up to par too. All in all a fine little vehicle!

2009 pontiac vibe gt -

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT 4dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

Purchased used with only 12k miles. 2.4L (toyota camry) engine and 5 speed auto/manual a great combination. This is not offered on the Toyota Matrix. GT model rims/tires are nice, but noisy on rough roads and you feel the bumps. Versatility and appearance are better than average. Handling is excellent because of full independent suspension, wide/low profile tires and sport tuned suspension. I did my research and compared to Matrix, Versa, Mazda-3 and Fit - Vibe GT model won out for best combination fuel economy, performance and SUV type features in a compact hatchback. GM warranty a plus (100K powertrain). Mileage should be around 30+ on highway.

09 go

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT 4dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

I have had this car for over a year now and have enjoy great performance at 25 MPG. Looks small but is large inside. love the self shift feature and the Monsson sound system is great. Stock tires are great in snow and rain. I have had no problems thus far- this car is basically a Toyota Matrix as it is built in same assembly plant.

Love to drive this car

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Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT 4dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

This is our second Vibe, an '04 and an "08 but this one has the big engine and flies. It handles like a sports car, beats college students from light to light, has a great sounding stereo (love the XM stations), is so roomy I can load my entire art display in it and just bungee the hatch door down to travel, is comfortable on long drives (which I love now that this car in under me), it looks beautiful with the black pearl paint, sunroof and spoiler and the wheels get admiring looks now that I took out the center plastic hubs for a sportier look.

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


  • 21
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

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