2008 Pontiac Vibe Review

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List Price Estimate:$2,158 - $3,930
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Pontiac Vibe model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Roomy backseat, comfortable ride, versatile cargo area, excellent fuel economy, reliable Toyota powertrain.
  • Major safety features are available as options only, lackluster acceleration, Toyota's version is likely to have better resale value.

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

Vehicle overview

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.

2008 Pontiac Vibe models

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).

2008 Highlights

The 2008 Pontiac Vibe remains unchanged.

Performance & mpg

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.


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.


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.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2008 Pontiac Vibe.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
So good I bought it twice!
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
5 out of 5 stars
Rides better than larger cars
Danny Boy,08/13/2017
4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
This car has great fuel economy and plenty of power. The fold down seats and accommodating hatch allows me to put down movers blankets and haul things. The good quality seat construction and the well-designed suspension give it a surprisingly comfortable ride for a car this size. I am confident that the car will still be quite usable when I give it to my grandson to use for college in 2029!
5 out of 5 stars
70k miles, no issues
4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
This car is outstanding. We also own a 4 years newer, $10,000 more expensive Subaru and the Vibe blows that car out of the water in nearly every area. Two things that I'd like to see better on the Vibe would be: better snow/ice handling. If you don't have the ABS option and live in a snowy/icy climate it's a little bit of a lightweight car. The second would be acceleration, as the Vibe seems a bit underpowered. When I put the gas to the floor for a quick highway onramp, for example, it's a veryyyy slowwww acceleration. But otherwise it's a fantastic car. The reliability is absurd, especially for what you might hear about Pontiac, I've never had to do any non-routine repairs. I attribute that to the joint-venture with Toyota (all of the guts of this car are Toyota with the superior trimmings/finishing touches of American manufacturers - really the best of both worlds). They redid this car for the 2009 model year and the newer Vibe I found displeasing. The sightlines of my 2008 are outstanding but they shrunk the rear window and some others are harder to see out of in the newer ones. All in all I have no complaints, I could see this being a 150,000+ mile car at the rate it's going.
4 out of 5 stars
best in its class
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.


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 2008 Pontiac Vibe

Used 2008 Pontiac Vibe Overview

The Used 2008 Pontiac Vibe is offered in the following submodels: Vibe Wagon. Available styles include 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M). The Used 2008 Pontiac Vibe comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual. The Used 2008 Pontiac Vibe comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Pontiac Vibe?

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 2008 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) 2008 Pontiac Vibe for sale near. 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 2008 Pontiac Vibe.

Can't find a used 2008 Pontiac Vibes you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Pontiac Vibe for sale - 1 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $13,193.

Find a used Pontiac for sale - 9 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $11,631.

Find a used certified pre-owned Pontiac Vibe for sale - 7 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $22,547.

Find a used certified pre-owned Pontiac for sale - 12 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $22,602.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 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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