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QUALITY | 8 out of 10
Build quality is...very good
Interior has an effortless simplicity
Legroom and headroom are fine
The 2009 Pontiac Vibe is another step forward for GM when it comes to materials and build quality. This 2009 Pontiac also offers versatile cargo capacity and decent passenger comfort, making for an all-around success in this category.
Edmunds says that "thanks to the Vibe's tall architecture, there's plenty of room for passengers," five of whom can fit in the 2009 Pontiac Vibe. Cars.com notes the Pontiac Vibe 2009 offers "enough room for a family of four and their belongings" to fit comfortably, adding that the "cloth front bucket seats...offer good comfort and support," but also reporting "the three-seat rear bench is less comfortable." ConsumerGuide reviewers agree, finding "legroom and headroom are fine" up front, "but knee space is tight" in back, and "the seat is too firm for long-trip comfort." Detroit News reviewers also report that the front seats are "comfortable and [hold] you snugly in place."
One of the true measures of any hatchback (or wagon—nobody's quite sure which of the two categories applies to the 2009 Pontiac Vibe) is cargo space, and reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that the Pontiac Vibe 2009 meets all expectations here. According to Edmunds, the 2009 Pontiac Vibe rear seat "is split 60/40 and all but the base trim feature a flat-folding front passenger seat to allow long items to be carried inside," while "max cargo capacity is 49.4 cubic feet, which is about mid-pack in the segment." ConsumerGuide adds that this 2009 Pontiac offers "versatile cargo-carrying options," and the "available cargo management system is highly recommended, as it offers numerous options for keeping smaller items" secure. Inside the cabin, Mother Proof is "impressed with the adjustable cupholder that held both my travel mug and, later, a reusable water bottle with no problems," but notes "the center console was a problem...barely big enough to hold a garage door opener and the keys to my mailbox."
Several reviews complain about the hard plastic lining the cargo area, which Mother Proof describes as “a skating rink.” Although some of those interior plastics draw several reviewers' ire, overall Edmunds feels that "build quality is...very good, with most of the interior bits and pieces sourced from Toyota." However, ConsumerGuide notes that the interior of the 2009 Pontiac Vibe "is dominated by hard-plastic surfaces" and "not all testers find the silver-painted dashboard trim appropriate, even in this price class." On the positive side, Cars.com says "the new cabin is more upscale than the old version," commenting "it's clear Pontiac gave most of its attention to the upper half of the cabin" where "the dashboard, instrument panel and doors feature materials that are pleasing to the eye." On the downside, however, Cars.com says that if you "look down at the console and middle armrest and you'll see less-appealing plastic and cruder finishes."
Certain aspects of the interior may rate highly with reviewers, but one area that can use improvement on the 2009 Pontiac Vibe is noise reduction. ConsumerGuide reviewers find that "neither engine is a paragon of refinement," and overall "wind and road noise intrude at highway speeds." Cars.com also notes "the engine doesn't sound great when revved hard." Overall, the ride is pleasant; ConsumerGuide says the Vibe exhibits "good bump absorption over most road blemishes."
The 2009 Pontiac Vibe is not the most refined small vehicle, but it has been significantly improved.