We have a 2003 Vibe and are very pleased with it:
1) all-wheel-drive: This has got to be the most stable vehicle I've ever driven in heavy snow. I've driven much heavier front-wheel drives, rear-wheel drives, and even 4wd vehicles in the harsh northern NY state winters and nothing has compared to how well this handles bad weather.
2) Anti-lock brakes: Useful in adverse conditions, but, having grown used to non-antilock brakes for most of my life I'm still partial to driving without them.
3) 1.8L engine: a bit on the noisy side when accelerating, but has sufficient power for highway and city driving. You certainly won't see this on a drag-strip anytime soon, but it's more than adequate for most drivers.
4) Auto-transmission with overdrive: shifts smoothly, seems to be consistently within the engine's best RPM range. Has the overdrive switch on the shifter to turn it off (maybe for towing small trailers - though I wouldn't recommend towing anything with this small of a vehicle).
5) LATCH system: for those with child seats, this is a blessing.
6) dual front and side curtain air bags: the side curtain are optional, not standard. I can happily say that we have not tested this feature yet.
7) Power windows/locks/cruise control: all bundled as a single package. Work pretty much as expected
8) child safety locks on rear doors: good for keeping toddlers from opening doors from the inside, but annoying for the adult who has to sit waiting for his/her unsympathetic fellow passengers to let him/her out.
9) 60/40 split folding rear seats: this is VERY useful if you don't have too many passengers but have to carry a little more cargo. It's not a pickup truck, but it's impressive what can fit into what is basically a slightly enlarged hatch-back.
10) tie-down rails in back: these are of limited use. You can tie some items down with them, but it's hard to make much use of them as they don't always reach where you want them.
11) roof-rack: somewhat useful - it's a bit on the small side for most roof-top carriers, but it can be used (just watch out for the protruding radio antenna!) It can be hard but not impossible to properly tie down bulky items on the roof.
12) The stereo is a single CD/AM/FM unit: the sound is good and allows balance and fade (side-side, front-back) as well as bass/treb adjustments.
Fuel mileage with the AWD and 1.8L engine runs in the low 30's for highway and mid-20's for city driving. I'd expect the non-AWD vehicles would improve on that a little bit.
The car handles very well in nearly all weather conditions.
The styling of the exterior is very typical of Pontiac with a sharp-nosed, raked-back look that I find attractive.
The interior is cloth seats with carpeted floors and has held up well to over 4 years of children. The seat comfort is pretty good in front and back. The high seats tend to make those with longer legs feel like there's more leg room. Most of the controls are easily within reach of the driver. The dash is also typical of Pontiac with the orange lighting and wrap-around fighter cockpit styling.
Road noise tends to invade a little bit, but I guess that's typical of the hatch-back construction with no trunk to block the rear tire sounds. It's a small car and rides a little bit stiff over rough surfaces too.
For reliability, I'm giving this car a decent rating. It's had one radiator replaced under warranty and no other problems since then. It's never broken down or even so much as had the "service engine" light on.
Overall, I like this car and it's done everything we've needed with our small family (2 kids with car seats + 2 adults). We've even on occasion squeezed a 3rd adult in between the two child seats in the back though it was a difficult fit.
Amount Paid (US$):
2003Model and Options: