2006 Pontiac Vibe Review

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable ride, unique features, roomy backseat, versatile cargo area, good gas mileage, available stability control.
  • All-wheel-drive version is sluggish, Toyota's version likely to have better resale value.
Other years
List Price Range
$3,450 - $5,000

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2006 Pontiac Vibe blends performance, practicality and affordability into a tastefully styled, but still fun sport wagon package. Here's one Pontiac that hits its mark.

Vehicle overview

The Pontiac Vibe blends the handling of a small sedan with the practicality of a five-door hatchback. It's geared toward young buyers who want a stylish, practical vehicle but don't need or want a gas-guzzling SUV. Related to the Toyota Matrix, the Vibe is a jointly developed vehicle that shares most major components with its Japanese cousin.

At just 171 inches long, the Pontiac Vibe is slightly shorter than your typical compact sedan, but its body is taller and wider, which gives it a more spacious and functional interior. The rear seats fold completely flat to open up just over 54 cubic feet of cargo space, while the durable plastic load floor offers adjustable tie-down points via built-in floor tracks. The front-passenger seat also folds flat to function as an impromptu work table for the driver or to aid in loading longer items. Drivers sit higher in the Vibe than in most sedans but not so much as to make entry and exit a chore as in many SUVs.

Red backlit gauges with chrome-trim rings highlight a sharp-looking instrument panel, while the rest of the interior features straightforward climate controls, a well-placed stereo for easy access and even a 115-volt outlet for plugging in electronic devices. The Vibe's sporty looks are backed up by a well-sorted suspension that delivers a comfortable ride around town and responsive handling. Front-wheel drive is the standard layout, but all-wheel drive is available for negotiating the roads during inclement weather. The top-level GT version offers optional 17-inch wheels and tires for the performance-minded buyer in addition to its standard six-speed manual gearbox and peaky 170-hp, four-cylinder engine.

Lesser models make do with a detuned version of the GT's engine -- performance isn't as lively but most buyers will find the power band more user-friendly. Capable competitors like the PT Cruiser, Impreza, and Mazda 3 share many of the Vibe's attributes. The Vibe doesn't quite match any one of those vehicles in its specific areas of expertise, but it does offer a well-rounded package that delivers a little bit of everything without sacrificing practicality or fun. Add in the unique interior features and multiple drivetrain configurations, and the 2006 Pontiac Vibe certainly makes a strong case for itself as an attractive yet practical sport wagon that won't break the bank.

2006 Pontiac Vibe models

The four-door, five-passenger Pontiac Vibe comes in three levels of trim: base, AWD and GT. Without any options added, all three are pretty frugal in terms of standard features. Every Vibe comes with air conditioning, CD audio, tilt steering and 16-inch wheels (alloys on the GT). Potential buyers should seriously consider getting the Preferred package as it adds power windows, locks and mirrors; cruise control; and keyless entry. There's also a Sun and Sound package with a power sunroof and an upgraded audio system. Order both, and Pontiac will throw in OnStar. For 2006, Pontiac has also made leather seating available as part of a new Premium package. Other Vibe option choices include satellite radio, an exterior-enhancing Sport package and 17-inch alloy wheels.

2006 Highlights

Not much changes for the Pontiac Vibe in 2006. The optional DVD-based navigation system has been discontinued, while leather seating is a new item on the options list.

Performance & mpg

The Pontiac Vibe has two different engines available. Base models come with a 1.8-liter, 130-horsepower four-cylinder mated to either a standard five-speed manual or an optional four-speed automatic. All-wheel-drive versions come with the automatic only, and due to different exhaust routing, make just 122 hp. Top-of-the-line GT models get a 170-hp version of the same 1.8-liter four-cylinder and a standard six-speed manual transmission; an automatic is not available on the GT.

Safety

Seat-mounted side airbags for front occupants and full-length side curtain airbags are optional across the line. ABS brakes are standard on AWD and GT models, and optional on the base model. GT models also gain standard four-wheel disc brakes. For added security, stability control is offered on base models equipped with the automatic transmission. In governmental crash tests, the Pontiac Vibe earned a perfect five stars in frontal-impact testing, five stars for side impacts involving front occupants and four stars for side impacts involving rear occupants.

Driving

The Pontiac Vibe offers an elevated driving position that affords a great view of the road, but the ergonomics can be a bit awkward for some. The handling isn't particularly sporty but it is responsive, while the ride quality is smooth and comfortable on a day-to-day basis. Acceleration from the base motor is a bit sluggish, especially with the added weight of the all-wheel-drive system, but the GT is fast for a compact wagon, provided you're willing to take advantage of its higher-strung engine.

Interior

The Pontiac Vibe features an interior that is both stylish and functional. Chrome-ringed gauges and metallic dash trim spice things up in front, while in back, the 60/40-split bench seat provides roomy accommodations for adult passengers and folds completely flat to create 54.1 cubic feet of usable cargo space. Other useful features include a front-passenger seat that folds flat for carrying extra-long items, a 115-volt AC power outlet for plugging in household devices and a completely flat cargo floor with adjustable tie-down anchors.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2006 Pontiac Vibe.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

A Great Car ... Through The Years!
k_texas,05/16/2012
I bought my Vibe new back in early '07 ... here it is five years later and I still love it. She (yes, it's a girl -- with her own name) just turned the corner and has safely and efficiently taken me over 100,000 miles. Can't rave enough about fuel economy. Last road trip was just a few weeks ago (about 900 miles r/t) ... she did me proud with 30-35 mpg!! Really?? YES! I noticed a past reviewer commented on very poor handling in Midwest winter snows. I'd like to chime in on that and say mine was quite the Opposite. She handled herself very respectably in a South Dakota winter -- with FOUR blizzards back-to-back.
Keep the Recall in Mind
bike_canoe2,05/10/2011
I agree with Edumonds it is sluggish, but 32 mpg city is a definate advantage. The seating is comfortable, road noise is average. It is fun to drive but it's not a sports car. NOW ABOUT THE RECALL - the PCM (performance control module) has issues, it will leave you stranded on the side of the road when it fails. The recall covers specific years, and specific engines so check yours at NHTSA.GOV and have it replaced if yours is recalled! The recall will cover replacing the PCM, labor, and towing to a GM dealer, but it does not cover a loaner vehicle. The dealer is very confident about the reliablity of this vehicle, this is the only issue they have with this vehicle.
213,000 plus Miles
123me,09/30/2013
4dr Wagon AWD (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
I hope I don't jinx everything by updating my Review. But here goes. My Vibe will turn 14 in the fall, and I now have just over 213,000 miles on it. It's a terrifically reliable vehicle, and I would recommend buying it as a used car. The vehicle sits higher than a sedan which makes getting in and out a breeze. The seats are comfortable and this includes the backseat which has plenty of cushion and leg room, not to mention ceiling height. Someone over 6' tall is fine sitting in the backseat. With the pull of a lever the seat backs flatten out the entire cargo area. It's amazing how much of a load you can get into this car. Vibe design excels in achieving a flat cargo space. It's so much easier to slide cargo in and out when not negotiating height differences many of the other vehicles have. In addition the front passenger seat folds down and gives 8 feet of interior length. Currently I have a 7ft ladder inside the vehicle I am taking to a job.. The rear window will also open when you need to transport all those boards with the fluttering red flag. Gas mileage is still great. I average 30 MPG, but can get up to 33 with more freeway driving, or after an oil change and the tire pressure restored. My repairs up to this point have only been routine maintenance. Batteries, oil changes, tires. Only my satellite radio's digital dial has faded. It still works I just can't see the station numbers. But the presets are still intact. The paint has taken a beating from a lot of bad road conditions but despite the numerous nicks, the original paint has never faded or peeled, and this car has never been housed in a garage. I'll keep you posted how much longer I have it, but at this point I still love my Vibe.
Best Car We've ever owned!
Scott,03/31/2016
4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
This is by far the best car we've ever owned. 220k and still great. Only repairs have been brakes, battery, serpentine belt, wiper blades and tires. Regular maintenance important, done with tranny fluid at each 50k, plugs at each 100k, same with coolant. Oil and filter every 5k. Still have original alternator, a/c unit (no recharge needed on freon), muffler system, hoses. Stock radio w/ 5 cd changer blew after 3 years-replaced with after market. Almost 10 years and this car is still going. Hope to get 230k then it's time to retire the Vibe....with tears in my eyes then I am sure.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2006 Pontiac Vibe features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2006 Pontiac Vibe

Used 2006 Pontiac Vibe Overview

The Used 2006 Pontiac Vibe is offered in the following submodels: Vibe Wagon. Available styles include 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M), 4dr Wagon AWD (1.8L 4cyl 4A), and GT 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Pontiac Vibe?

Price comparisons for Used 2006 Pontiac Vibe trim styles:

  • The Used 2006 Pontiac Vibe Base is priced between $3,450 and$5,000 with odometer readings between 126595 and166640 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2006 Pontiac Vibes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2006 Pontiac Vibe for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2006 Vibes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $3,450 and mileage as low as 126595 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2006 Pontiac Vibe.

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Find a used Pontiac Vibe for sale - 8 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $15,816.

Find a used Pontiac for sale - 9 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $24,583.

Find a used certified pre-owned Pontiac Vibe for sale - 11 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $18,489.

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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Pontiac Vibe?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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