Well, it’s almost been a year since we got the 2006 Pontiac Vibe. We still think it’s a decent car for us around town. This past Christmas we discovered that it’s just barely big enough for us to take the whole family on a road trip. More on that later. :)
After about 32500km, we’re averaging about 8.37L/100km. Since about 80% of that is what we would consider highway driving, we’re not overly thrilled with the real world gas mileage of the Vibe. Now that we have winter tires on and the air is cooler, we’ve been getting just over 9.0L/100km. It hasn’t even gotten really cold here yet as I think the lowest temperature over night was about -15 degrees Celcius.
As for the size of the car. We have a large dog and she basically takes up 3/4 of the trunk area. On top of that, with our munchkin in the infant carrier in the back, the passenger seat is too close to the dash to be comfortable for a long trip. So we had the car well packed for our trip this Christmas. Not too much in the way of weight though, about the same as 3 adults and light luggage. On the way out, we averaged 8.5L/100km. Not too bad. The only comment is that the car is definitely underpowered for passing. With this relatively minor load it had a heck of a time getting up to speed to pass on two-lane roads. It can be done but you had to turn off the overdrive and get a good run (ie get the car into the 4500-5000 rpm range) on the car you wanted to pass.
On the way back we had a rooftop carrier with some extra weight, probably equivalent to 4 adults and light luggage. Holy crap that made a huge difference on the gas mileage though. We averaged about 11.5L/100km! Our worst was a stretch through Quebec where we had a head wind and I was trying to drive too fast (Screaming munchkin, Quebec drivers, middle of nowhere, etc.). That lead to 296km on just over 35L or 12.1L/100km. Yikes! The biggest problem (other than the rooftop carrier) was that the car couldn’t stay in overdrive. It was constantly kicking down into 3rd gear when I had the cruise control on. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trying to break any land speed records. I was driving at a speed slightly slower than you would normally see on those roads. Heck, the two cops I passed weren’t interested in me at all. ;)
On top of that, I discovered a trait about the car that I don’t especially like. When it does kick down from you pressing harder on the throttle, it takes an exceptionally long time to go back to overdrive when you let off of the throttle. There were times where I had to almost lift my foot completely off of the throttle just to get the car to go back into overdrive. Damn slushboxes. When I used the kick down button, it wasn’t as bad since the car would go back into overdrive almost immediately after you press it again.
Unfortunately it looks like there is a minivan in our future if we have another rug rat. :(
As far as the Pontiac Vibe goes, it’s likely going to become our second car in the future and go into the high mileage club with me taking it back and forth to work (110km/day round trip). 32500km in the first year. Hopefully it will last at least 10 years of driving like that!