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Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix: Are They the Same Car?

Two compact cars that have been discontinued for a while are still attractive options for many consumers, especially small families on a budget who don’t want anything complicated, but need something convenient.  

The Pontiac Vibe and the Toyota Matrix indeed offer an interesting format (they compare favorably to several current sub-compact SUVs), reliable and efficient engines, a versatile cabin and a good level of equipment.

Is one better than the other? Not really, because they have been jointly developed by General Motors and Toyota, and that’s why they have so much in common. In fact, they can be described as non-identical twins.

Photo: Pontiac

If their bodies differ a little bit, the cabin is exactly the same, except the logo on the steering wheel and some accessories of course! Their high front seats don’t hinder driving – quite the opposite, since the visibility is outstanding – while their back seat has plenty of room. Other detail worth mentioning: the trunk floor is all plastic, which makes it very easy to clean.

By the way, the Matrix was typically found in basic, XR, XRS and AWD versions, while the Vibe was offered in basic, GT and AWD iterations. The most elementary ones had a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 132 HP while the others had a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder making 158 HP. The optional all-wheel-drive systems were the same.

Photo: Toyota

Now, let’s not forget that even though they are two technically similar vehicles, the Matrix was a proudly Canadian product made in the Cambridge plant in Ontario, while the Vibe was assembled in the NUMI plant in Fremont California. But don’t worry, these two plants both had excellent ratings regarding the quality of their work.

With the Pontiac name and reputation now fading in our memories, the Vibe sells for less than the Matrix today. However, if some people still believe that the first was not made as well as the second, it’s really not the case. With both vehicles in equal condition and greenlit by an inspection, you can buy either one with confidence. 

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