Looking to Buy a Vibe Tomorrow! (New to Vibe)

General discussions about the Pontiac Vibe & Toyota Matrix. New members, introduce yourself here!
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Vibernator
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Looking to Buy a Vibe Tomorrow! (New to Vibe)

Post by Vibernator » Thu May 12, 2016 3:00 pm

I'm considering buying a Vibe...as soon as tomorrow!

As I've never owned a wagon or GM vehicle, naturally I have some concerns. That the Vibe's pretty much a Toyota in regard to its innards has me sold on the prospect. I've been driving a 2001 Camry LE for the past eight years, with ZERO issues. None, zip, nada. I'm only getting a different car because I live in a major city and my Camry's been beat to hell. I want a ride that looks good. :=)

I basically have two concerns and one "aesthetic" question about the Vibe that I can think off-hand. Keep in mind, I haven't even been IN one yet, but I will be looking at two tomorrow, and based on their ads, they look pretty cherry/mint. So on with my questions.

1. Noise. I've read that it's one of the "issues" per se, of the Vibe, since wagons generally generate more noise than sedans. Granted, I haven't even test-driven one, so it might not be a thing at all for me. Though when friends ride in my 2001 Camry, they often comment how quiet a ride it is. Something you probably don't notice when you have it. Was wondering how the road/wind noise compares with my 2001 Camry LE and if the road/wind noise is an issue for folks around here.

2. Reliability. The Edmunds/KBB and Samarins all praise the Vibe. That's how I stumbled upon it. I know what I'm getting with a Toyota, in that it will run forever. Question is, will I get the Toyota reliability with the Vibe? It seems that the "problems" I come across in regard to the Vibe pertain to non-engine things, like struts, etc. I guess I've been spoiled with my 2001 Camry. I've driven it since 70,000 miles, it currently has 180,000 miles and the only "high cost" repair was the inevitable timing belt/water pump at around 110,000. (Looking forward to getting a ride with a timing chain!) Outside of that, just oil changes, brake pads, tires. Can I expect the same low-maintenance with the Vibe? (Most KBB and Edmunds reviews say yes, just wanting some more real-world experience).

My third thing is the look. I'll be looking at an '03 and '06. Interestingly, I kind of prefer the look of the '03 a little better, in regard to the recessed grill. To me, the '06 grill kind of looks like a mustache that's just growing in, lol, or whiskers if you will; or an electric razor, maybe that's it. If I wasn't comparing the '06 front grill to the '03 grill, I'd probably never notice it. Not that the post-2003 grills (eg '06 grills) are bad, I don't dislike them, I just seem to prefer (from the photos) the '03 grill. Was wondering what folks around here preferred, the recessed grill look or the '06 (flush) grill look.

Thanks all!

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Caretaker
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Re: Looking to Buy a Vibe Tomorrow! (New to Vibe)

Post by Caretaker » Thu May 12, 2016 4:05 pm

I think you may be in for a bit of a shock when you do drive the Vibe. I actually was not going to put that as the first comment, until I read where your friends thought the 2001 Camry was a quiet ride. I figured that generation would have been less so; but given you said it, I'll go with the thought that the '01 is pretty quiet. The first generation Vibe is NOT. I have owned both the first and second generation Vibes. The second is a bit more quiet, but nothing to write home about. Your comparison is with a cushy riding Camry that apparently had some good insulation. I think both the cabin noise and ride quality will be a downer for you. Secondly, while I know the interior appointments on the '01 Camry were quiet dull and pedestrian, you won't be going up in luxury by picking the first generation Vibe, that's for sure. Moreover, you may find the seat comfort in the Vibe a step back from the Camry. Other than that, the Vibe is an outstanding choice in its own right. I'm not sure I would recommend going for a 13 year old car, but since you didn't give us your budget, I can only guess you've done the research within your budget. If you buy the Vibe, you will certainly own one of the most versatile vehicles ever built. You'll get better gas mileage with the Vibe over your current ride and the maintenance history of the Vibe is every bit as good as the Camry. However, any time you look to buy a car as old as you are (2003), you are asking for repair bills. I don't care if a Toyota or Honda has 250,000 miles on it, if it is a late model car, I know age is generally much worse than high mileage assuming routing maintenance. For a city car that needs to take a beating with potholes, as well as your body that feels all of those potholes, I'd stick with a Camry. I think you've already proven that from your experience.
One last thought: the Vibe won't be too great if you are carpooling three other people to work or on a trip. The rear leg room is not as good as the Camry. Good luck with your choice.
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** 2009 Vibe: 1.8 liter automatic **
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vibrologist
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Re: Looking to Buy a Vibe Tomorrow! (New to Vibe)

Post by vibrologist » Thu May 12, 2016 5:49 pm

Vibernator: I think Caretaker is pointing out the differences really well. If a quiet comfortable ride is important to you then the Vibe and Matrix are not for you. If versatility and easy parking are more important than a comfortable quiet ride you should give it a hard look. I personally need the versatility and I would prefer a more comfortable ride. Click on the link in my signature. You get a good idea what I did to make it more comfortable for me. I feel it is inexpensive to maintain if you shop for your parts at Toyota and parts stores. GM charges too much for most parts. My fuel economy is 28.5 mpg.

http://www.truedelta.com/ is also a good source for general information if you like to expand your list of candidates.
Vibrologist
'05 Vibe

"It is important to know the difference between 'accurate' and 'precise' even if you are neither!"

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Vibernator
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Re: Looking to Buy a Vibe Tomorrow! (New to Vibe)

Post by Vibernator » Thu May 12, 2016 10:07 pm

Caretaker wrote:I think you may be in for a bit of a shock when you do drive the Vibe. I actually was not going to put that as the first comment, until I read where your friends thought the 2001 Camry was a quiet ride. I figured that generation would have been less so; but given you said it, I'll go with the thought that the '01 is pretty quiet. The first generation Vibe is NOT. I have owned both the first and second generation Vibes. The second is a bit more quiet, but nothing to write home about. Your comparison is with a cushy riding Camry that apparently had some good insulation. I think both the cabin noise and ride quality will be a downer for you. Secondly, while I know the interior appointments on the '01 Camry were quiet dull and pedestrian, you won't be going up in luxury by picking the first generation Vibe, that's for sure. Moreover, you may find the seat comfort in the Vibe a step back from the Camry. Other than that, the Vibe is an outstanding choice in its own right. I'm not sure I would recommend going for a 13 year old car, but since you didn't give us your budget, I can only guess you've done the research within your budget. If you buy the Vibe, you will certainly own one of the most versatile vehicles ever built. You'll get better gas mileage with the Vibe over your current ride and the maintenance history of the Vibe is every bit as good as the Camry. However, any time you look to buy a car as old as you are (2003), you are asking for repair bills. I don't care if a Toyota or Honda has 250,000 miles on it, if it is a late model car, I know age is generally much worse than high mileage assuming routing maintenance. For a city car that needs to take a beating with potholes, as well as your body that feels all of those potholes, I'd stick with a Camry. I think you've already proven that from your experience.
One last thought: the Vibe won't be too great if you are carpooling three other people to work or on a trip. The rear leg room is not as good as the Camry. Good luck with your choice.
Cool, thanks for the feedback Caretaker! I'm not sure how much I value a quiet ride to be honest. I guess I'll find out tomorrow if the road/wind noise bugs me when I'm taking the Vibes for a spin. Re: 1997-2001 Generation Camry; can't speak for 1999-2000, but my 2001 is smooth and quiet. Road/wind noise is something I never even thought about until I started reading about how that's one of the nitpicks of the Vibe via Edmunds, et al. I grew up in the country though, driving with the windows down, and cutting grass on a riding lawnmower for years, so I don't know why I'm freaking out about noise anyway, ha.

In regard to the car, I HAVE to get another car, lol. I guess I didn't make that clear. The hood flew completely off of my '01 Camry on a freeway (long story) two weeks ago, I managed to get it back on, but my beloved Camry is a freaking eyesore. It's safe to drive, for now, lol. But every time I look at, I get sad. Not to mention, I had to put off a first-date because I don't want to show up in a car that looks like it's been a victim of Monster Truck Show 2016.

I'm not sure I'm 100 percent with you, though, on the age-thing. You're probably not incorrect, in general, about purchasing an early 2000s vehicle, in some regards. But I think it's all about each car's particularities. For example, the three cars I've whittled my choices down to (two Vibes and one Camry Solara) have all had one owner (with the CarFax). They look like they were treated with kid gloves, garaged. (Fwiw, I live in an area where there's no snow or inclement weather, so the cars do age better here, at least aesthetically).

I'm all about the car's history and the miles. The two Vibes I'm looking at are under 120k. One is under 112k. The Solara is about the same. Two are mint/like new, and the '03 Vibe look excellent, except for a somewhat faded dark grey bumper (no biggie).

I think a car is just being broken in at 100k, lol. Heck, I drove my Toyota from about 70k to 182k with no issues. What I like even better about the three cars I'm looking at, no timing belts! Anyway, when I think of an "old car" I think of that 1979 BMW 320i I bought in college when I was even younger and dumber than I am now. That was a money pit. Anything post-2000 with a timing chain and computer stuff in it feels like a new car to me. :=) Plus, I'll be doing the "ecological thing" by not purchasing a new car ;=) Not like I could afford one anyway, but the ecological line sounds better :D

I figure if I can get a ride with around 110-120k, drive it 15k a year, I'll be more than happy to get 5-7 years out of it. I don't see why not, if it's a Toyota engine. My friend's 1994 Camry reached 450k two months ago and the tranny finally went out. He replaced the tranny and is still driving it. And there are stories all over the web about second generation Priuses reaching 625k as cabs in Canada, for example. I guess the moral of the story is, I have faith in a Toyota engine. Bring it on.

And I should disclaimer, I'm not cheap, my budget's 5k; again, I'm fortunate to live in area where there are a ton of cars for sale every day, so I have the veritable pick of the litter, in a matter of speaking.

Well, that's a long darn ramble, but I'll keep y'all posted on what happens! Thx again.
Last edited by Vibernator on Thu May 12, 2016 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Looking to Buy a Vibe Tomorrow! (New to Vibe)

Post by Vibernator » Thu May 12, 2016 10:14 pm

vibrologist wrote:Vibernator: I think Caretaker is pointing out the differences really well. If a quiet comfortable ride is important to you then the Vibe and Matrix are not for you. If versatility and easy parking are more important than a comfortable quiet ride you should give it a hard look. I personally need the versatility and I would prefer a more comfortable ride. Click on the link in my signature. You get a good idea what I did to make it more comfortable for me. I feel it is inexpensive to maintain if you shop for your parts at Toyota and parts stores. GM charges too much for most parts. My fuel economy is 28.5 mpg.

http://www.truedelta.com/ is also a good source for general information if you like to expand your list of candidates.
Cool, thanks vibrologist!

I just pointed out in my reply to Caretaker, I don't know if a quiet ride is important to me. I'll find out tomorrow when I test drive the Vibes! It's something I would've never even thought about, but I've been doing my homework on used cars, and road/wind noise is something that comes up in car forums, so naturally, I'm freaking out about it ahead of time, lol. I'm a cautious buyer, I guess that's the positive spin.

Interesting you mentioned parking as an advantage of the Vibe. I would think the Camry would be just as easy to park (because of length of the car). However, I don't do much street parking anyway, fortunately. Seems like the bumpers on the Vibe would be more durable to a-hole drivers when it comes to parallel parking compared to the Camrys, which are delicate flowers in regard to the paint jobs.

The MPG is definitely a huge perk. Thanks for the links and I'll check all that out! 8-)

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vibrologist
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Re: Looking to Buy a Vibe Tomorrow! (New to Vibe)

Post by vibrologist » Fri May 13, 2016 6:02 am

I had to put off a first-date because I don't want to show up in a car that looks like it's been a victim of Monster Truck Show 2016.
Vibernator: just a a piece of unwanted advise: keep that Camry around for first date purposes. It's a great filter: if a first date rejects you for that car she isn't worth your time and attention. ;)
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WhgVibe
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Re: Looking to Buy a Vibe Tomorrow! (New to Vibe)

Post by WhgVibe » Fri May 13, 2016 9:51 am

I'll keep this brief. I have a 2010 Vibe and its never been in the shop for any repairs. Im at 110K now and still runs like new. I've noticed that Vibes seem to even maintain their appearance better than other cars of similar age. Don't consider this a GM product because it really isnt except for the badge. As for the ride....its excatly what you would expect from a small car of it's era... bumpy and noisy. All is all tho they are great cars. Good luck in your search!! :D

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Vulcan05
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Re: Looking to Buy a Vibe Tomorrow! (New to Vibe)

Post by Vulcan05 » Fri May 13, 2016 2:39 pm

The other posters are correct about ride and noise. My '10 had the 45 series tires with sport suspension and you felt every crack and pebble on the road. But, it would CORNER!!!!! I made a cover for the cargo area, and that cut down on some noise.
The Camry rides like you're on a pillow and is quieter. The two cars are/were built for different customers and different age brackets. If I could, I would have kept the Vibe and parked the Camry next to it.
2010 Vibe. Moon roof, Monsoon, 2.4 engine, 5 speed auto, cruise, dark gray.

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Re: Looking to Buy a Vibe Tomorrow! (New to Vibe)

Post by vibenvy » Sat May 14, 2016 5:10 am

Welcome to GenVibe! I don't really have anything meaningful to add since you're looking at 1st gens (03-08) which I'm not too familiar with since we have 2nd gens (09-10), but you've definitely come to the right place to do your research. Be sure to keep us upated after you take the test drives ;).
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Re: Looking to Buy a Vibe Tomorrow! (New to Vibe)

Post by tpollauf » Sat May 14, 2016 10:42 am

Go for it !!! Not sure of your age BUT driving a Vibe will make you feel a bit younger again. For some of us it really doesn't take much anymore to do that :lol:
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