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#21

in 2010 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $9,961 - $12,786
Original MSRP: $16,100 - $20,875
MPG: 26 City / 32 Hwy
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2010 Pontiac Vibe Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2010 Pontiac Vibe has strong engines and competent ride quality. Reviewers especially like the GT trim's sportiness. However, the same reviewers say the Vibe isn't the sportiest option of either the affordable small car or hatchback class.

  • "Although sportier than before, the Vibe still isn't as athletic as the MAZDA3." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "All the Vibe's moves are admirable. None is spectacular. Result? Sensible shoes." -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

According to our analysis, the Vibe's modified 1.8-liter engine is a better performer compared with previous years, while the 2.4-liter engine is a better choice for more spirited driving. Nevertheless, several critics say neither engine makes the Vibe as sporty as class leaders. The Vibe gets up to 26/32 mpg city/highway. 

  • "The 1.8-liter engine was peppy and powerful enough for the hills of our test drive route, but the 2.4-liter engine made the car even more fun and pleasurable." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "While we appreciate the silky nature of the Toyota's 2.4L engine, we would have preferred a bit more power than what it had to offer." -- Autoblog
  • "While it's not as entertaining as the decidedly sporty Mazda 3, the Vibe GT shines as one of this segment's more engaging choices, thanks in part to its capable engine." -- Edmunds
  • "Neither engine is a paragon of refinement. Both grow loud and coarse under heavy throttle, though they cruise fairly quietly." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

The 2010 Vibe doesn't have exceptional ride quality, but test drivers say it's pleasant. The odd complaint does mention that the tall hatchback is susceptible to crosswinds.

  • "Through the turns, the 2010 Pontiac Vibe is reasonably responsive, particularly on models with the independent rear suspension." -- Edmunds
  • "On the road, the car's Corolla-based chassis handles bumps and pot-holes adequately and is a bit stiffer than the 2008 model, but this GT is no sports car." -- Autoblog
  • "The new Vibe's ride and handling are pleasant: nothing exciting in terms of cornering power, but nothing harsh or uncomfortable about the ride, either. In general, the Vibe drives like a competent compact sedan -- say, a Toyota Corolla." -- Dallas Morning News
  • "Steering feel is generally good in both models. Like the Matrix, Vibe is subject to crosswind wander at highway speeds." -- Consumer Guide

All-Wheel Drive

The Pontiac Vibe with all-wheel drive transfers up to 45 percent of the car's power to the rear wheels when necessary. For the most part, test drivers had a positive experience with the system in good and bad driving conditions. 

  • "During the foul-weather conditions in which we drove it, the Vibe gripped the curvy, wet roads and took the turns well." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "In good conditions, the system is virtually transparent to the driver. Any different feel you notice on a test drive not done in a blizzard is apt to be caused by the extra weight and not the AWD system." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Though AWD usually means a car will hold better when the roads are dry, Vibe tends to settle back into economode in corners despite optional...17-inch all-season radials designed for better handling." -- Chicago Tribune

Next Steps: 2010 Pontiac Vibe

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