2009 Pontiac Vibe GT Review – Watch CNET’s Video Review

29 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT Review – Watch CNET’s Video Review
Pontiac Vibe

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The good: The 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT comes with a decent stereo system and an economical engine.

The bad: OnStar navigation in the Vibe GT isn’t much better than asking a stranger for directions. iPod and Bluetooth cell phone integration aren’t available.

The bottom line: The 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT lacks the cabin tech for modern entertainment and information. But its saving grace is the usable interior space and the good fuel economy.

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2009 Pontiac Vibe GT

We found the economy car efficiency, the tight build quality, and the odd body style all appealing on the 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT. But once we started looking at the details, we realized it was a Toyota. The hard flooring in the cargo area and the shape of the instrument cluster perfectly matched what we had just seen on the 2009 Toyota Matrix. and the similarities don’t stop there.

Both cars had the same 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which someone on staff suggested might be GM’s most advanced engine.

This big subwoofer added depth to the audio experience.

Pontiac Vibe

For this first leg of the trip we had plenty of traffic, and spent a lot of time working the five-speed manual transmission. We liked the solid feel of this shifter, which took away some of the frustration of stop-and-go traffic. We put an MP3 CD on random and turned up the volume to appreciate the 320 watts from this Monsoon audio system. During this trip, we had plenty of time to evaluate the audio quality.

The amp for this system helps the quality a lot, but the system’s downfall are its speakers. There’s a big subwoofer in back, which gives music a lot of depth, but the tweeters and woofers are merely good. They reproduce highs and mids well, but they don’t contribute to a broad audio experience.

In the hills south of San Jose and on the Grapevine leading into Los Angeles, we tested out the engine’s power. In fifth and even fourth gear, there’s no real passing power–you have to drop it down to third if you need to get moving in a hurry. But climbing the hills we could maintain speed easily in third, holding at 60 mph or 70 mph.

The handling was effortless, with the car’s responsive steering helping us keep to our lane. We could also make quick lane shifts easily, as long as we were geared down far enough.

We crossed over to Interstate 5 at Paso Robles, and hit the blue button so we could ask for directions to our Los Angeles destination. We told the nice man who answered the address we wanted, and he asked us if we had someone else in the car who could write down the directions he was about to give us.

That sounded very quaint to our tech-focused ears, but that was the only option, as the Vibe GT didn’t support downloadable turn-by-turn directions we’ve seen in other GM cars, such as the Saturn Aura Green Line. As we didn’t have someone else in the car, the OnStar representative read out the directions and had OnStar record his recitation so we could access it from the car at any time. This kind of navigation help just doesn’t stand up to a GPS system with maps.

The blue OnStar button connects you to an OnStar operator, while the telephone button activates the OnStar phone service, if you have it.

While talking to the nice man from OnStar, we had some difficulty hearing and being heard, as there was plenty of road noise while we careened at 80 mph down the freeway. During this trip, we crossed every manner of road surface, and got to hear each one’s distinct song. We found it particularly rough where the paving crews at work on the freeway left gaps between new asphalt and the old.

In these places, the Vibe GT would nearly take flight.

Pontiac Vibe
Pontiac Vibe
Pontiac Vibe
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