2008 Pontiac Vibe Performance
This performance review was written when the 2008 Pontiac Vibe was new.
The 2008 Pontiac Vibe has solid handling and a sound braking system. Nevertheless, its powertrain can, at times, contribute to a sluggish driving experience. MSN says the engine has "lazy acceleration during passing maneuvers above 65 mph -- even with just a driver aboard."
Acceleration and Power
The 2008 Pontiac Vibe is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 126-horsepower at 6000 rpm and 122 pound-feet of torque at 4,200 rpm. According to Automotive.com, while the Vibe's four-cylinder engine "delivers adequate performance," its still "no pocket rocket." Nevertheless, it "comports itself well." Consumer Guide adds, "Engine needs high rpm to deliver decent power. Pontiac pegs 0-60 mph at about 9.5 sec with manual transmission; automatic feel slower still, and passing response is tepid."
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, when equipped with a manual transmission the Pontiac Vibe maintains a fuel economy of 26 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. When equipped with an automatic transmission, the Vibe maintains a fuel economy of 25 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. NewCars.com notes, "The typical sport wagon will tax your gas budget quite a bit more than the vibe will."
Standard on the Pontiac Vibe is a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with overdrive is available as an option. "The best acceleration is gotten with the manual gearbox, but the responsive automatic is the most convenient transmission for most Vibe buyers -- slightly more than half of whom are women," says MSN.
Handling and Braking
The 2008 front-wheel drive Pontiac Vibe handles the road well. "Handling is very confidence-inspiring. You never feel you ever come close to reaching the vehicle's limits," says About.com. Automobile Magazine adds, "Although the Vibe looks like a mini-minivan, it feels lithe and agile."
The Pontiac Vibe comes equipped with power rack-and-pinion steering, which Automobile Magazine describes as "quick" with a "linear response." While Consumer Guide notes that "gusty crosswinds cause mild wander," it concedes steering is still crisp and direct.
The Vibe's suspension system is also impressive. Comprised of an independent front suspension and rear torsion beam, as well as front and rear stabilizer bars, Automobile Magazine describes it as "composed, with minimal body roll, ample grip, and excellent impact damping." MSN adds, "It's not harsh or cheap-feeling and seems to feel better the more weight -- from either passengers or cargo -- is in the car." The reports "the ride is very good on all but the worst pavement."
While front disc/rear drum brakes come standard on every Vibe, Pontiac's four-wheel anti-lock brake system, which Consumer Guide says provides "good stopping performance," is only available as an option. Also optional for the 2008 Pontiac Vibe is StabiliTrak - Vehicle Stability Enhancement System. According to Automotive.com, this feature improves stopping performance by helping drivers "maintain the intended path by applying brakes at any of the four wheels independent of the driver's use of the brake pedal." Altogether, Automobile Magazine says, "the brakes inspire confidence."