2009 Pontiac Vibe  

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General Motors has officially launched its 2009 Pontiac Vibe at an event held today in Detroit. Not surprisingly, the Vibe shares many of its mechanics with its sister car — the recently unveiled Toyota Matrix — although the exterior is unique to the Pontiac brand. Like the Matrix, the Vibe will also offer an all-wheel drive model for 2009.

The Vibe's engine choices mirror that of the Matrix; customers can choose from either a 1.8L four-cylinder rated at 132 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque or a 2.4L four rated at 158 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. The 2.4L will be standard on all-wheel drive models and GT models and will be optional on the base model..

Depending on the model and powertrain options, customers will be able to choose from several transmissions. Base model cars with the 1.8L engine will come standard with a five-speed manual transmission, with a four-speed auto optional. AWD models will only be available with a four-speed automatic. GT models and cars equipped with the 2.4L engine will come with a five-speed manual, with a five-speed automatic optional.

Fuel economy for the 1.8L engines ranges between 25-26 city and 31-31 highway, depending on transmission is selected. The 2.4L ranges between 21 city and 28-29 highway. As expected, the AWD option decreases mileage to 20/26 city/highway.

All models will feature a MacPherson-strut front suspension design, with the base model using a solid beam rear axle and GT and AWD models using a fully independent rear suspension. Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS will be standard throughout the model range, as well as electronic stability control and traction control.

The exterior of the Vibe is "clean and purposeful," and GM claims it exemplifies the future of Pontiac’s design. Like with the Matrix, each trim level will have its own unique styling cues, with AWD models receiving a roof rack and GT models wearing a new front fascia. The interior is also all-new and has a driver-focused cockpit design. The 2009 Vibe has 49.4 cubic feet of cargo space with its rear seats folded down.

The 2009 Pontiac Vibe is expect to hit dealer showrooms in early 2008.

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