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SAFETY | 6 out of 10
Five stars, frontal driver and frontal passenger rating; three stars, side driver rating; four stars, side rear passenger rating
Major safety features are available as options only
Side-impact and side curtain airbags, and GM's OnStar communication system are optional
Today's safety-conscious consumers have come to expect several features to be standard equipment on the vehicles they buy, whether that vehicle is a $12,000 Chevrolet or a $150,000 Mercedes-Benz. Unfortunately, many of those safety features that have become virtual necessities are not standard on the 2008 Pontiac Vibe, and the lack of certain airbags shows in crash-test ratings.
The 2008 Pontiac Vibe has not yet been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has had the opportunity to test the Pontiac Vibe both with and without the optional side airbags. The difference is noticeable in the crash-test results, as a Pontiac Vibe without additional airbags scored only three stars in the NHTSA side driver impact test, while a test conducted with the side airbags boosted the score to a perfect five-star rating. The side passenger rating is four stars whether the airbags are included or not. In terms of front impact protection, the 2008 Pontiac Vibe earns a perfect five-star rating for front impact driver protection, and the NHTSA also awards the Pontiac Vibe four out of a possible five stars for front impact passenger protection. Despite its tall stance, the 2008 Pontiac Vibe also scores a respectable four stars in the rollover category.
The crash-test ratings for the 2008 Pontiac Vibe certainly aren't terrible, but many reviews read by TheCarConnection.com take exception to the fact that, as Edmunds puts it, "major safety features are available as options only." According to ConsumerGuide, those optional safety features include "antilock brakes, an electronic stability system, side-impact and side curtain airbags, and GM's OnStar communication system." ConsumerGuide adds that the only standard safety features available on the Pontiac Vibe are "dual front airbags" and "daytime running lights."
Fortunately, driver visibility is a safety plus on the 2008 Pontiac Vibe. ConsumerGuide reviewers are quick to point out that the Pontiac Vibe's "fine driving position" affords outward visibility that is "slightly cluttered over the shoulder, good otherwise." Edmunds confirms that opinion and praises the "'command of the road' view out the windshield afforded by this Pontiac's taller seating design."
In the 21st century, consumers shouldn't have to check options boxes to add anti-lock brakes or side airbags to cars like the 2008 Pontiac Vibe.