2003 Pontiac Vibe Overview


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2003 Pontiac Vibe Overview

Ah, youth. How carmakers covet your attention. As GM's youth-oriented brand, Pontiac has been trying to reinvigorate its lineup by calling on its heritage of performance cars. The 2003 Vibe is a compact SUV aimed at young and active drivers who don't have a lot to spend. After the disastrous Aztek, the 2003 Vibe hits the ground with a sportier, more traditional SUV-look.

The sport wagon comes in three trims -- base, AWD, and performance GT. The front-wheel drive base and AWD come with a 130-hp, 1.8-liter I4 with a standard 5-speed manual. A 4-speed auto tran is offered on the base model as well. Due to the weight of the part-time AWD, it only hits 123 hp. The fastest of the bunch is the GT, with the 1.8-liter I4 engine from the Celica GTS, which hits 180 hp matched to a 6-speed manual transmission. All Vibes come with split-folding rear seats and a folding front passenger seat. The cargo area expands to 58 cubic feet and features tie-downs and a rear window which opens separately from the liftgate. A roof rack is also standard, with bike and ski rack attachments optional. The 2003 Vibe comes standard with dual front airbags and daytime running lights, but ABS brakes are only offered on the AWD and GT. Side impact bags are optional.

Power features, cruise control, a sunroof, and navigation system are all optional on every trim level, though the GT does come with a sporty leather-wrapped steering wheel. A household power outlet accompanies two standard car outlets. Keeping the features light helps keep the pricetag down, and the 2003 Vibe's seating and storage configurations are definitely utilitarian rather than luxurious. Drivers love its excellent fuel economy, that easily surpasses regular SUVs, and despite its compact size, the cargo area and headroom is spacious. The style is hip enough to be appealing, and handling is crisp and easy. Poor rear visibility, inadequate tires, a noisy ride, and an underpowered engine in the base model are some drawbacks.


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