Why the Pontiac Vibe is the Greatest Barn Car Ever Made

I've known for a long time that I need a daily driver.  The barn is 80 miles round trip, and the truck is an expensive vehicle to put highway miles on, both in terms of gas (all time AWD = 16mpg highway) and in terms of cost of replacement.  I want that guy to last a long time.

I love this truck.

My parents happened to have the ol' 2005 Pontiac Vibe sitting around doing nothing, so they offered it to me.  Three weeks, a few hundred bucks in routine maintenance and 2,000 miles later, I have determined it's the greatest barn car ever made.  Hear me out:

1. It's been getting 32-35mpg on the highway.  Perfect for that long barn commute, and for your wallet: you're an equestrian, you've got better things to spend money on than gas.

I've been doing a LOT of driving for work lately...

2. The cargo capacity is similar in volume to a truck bed.  Every seat folds flat except the driver's seat.  My mom has carried a full sized loveseat home in the Vibe before.

8 ft lumber, no problem.  The left rear seat wasn't folded flat here because my saddle is sitting there.

3. The backs of all the seats are dirt-colored plastic, so you can throw your muddy tack on it after XC schooling and just wipe it out later.

Actual muddy tack: Connor's Majyk Equipe sport boots after a spontaneous trip through a muddy field.

4. It has four tracks of repositionable tie-down anchors, you can see three of them in the picture above.  You can literally ratchet strap your cargo down just like a truck.

5. Horse people are also dog people: The seats are made out of a miraculous fabric that resists dog hair weaving into it.  It is truly amazing.  I had Bitsy in there for four hours and you can't even tell after I vacuumed it.
Our roommate Mark has gotten into hiking lately and has been taking Bitsy with him.  She is, needless to say, the happiest dog in all the land.


6 It's actually a rebranded Toyota, made in the same factory as the Toyota version, so they run forever.  You'll hear a lot of stories about high mileage Vibes, including a friend of mine who currently drives one with 350,000+ on it.  See #1: you've got better uses for your money than cars.

Dat Toyota lawn mower actual car engine tho.

7. Despite being a Toyota under the hood, people are inherently prejudiced against the Pontiac name, so you can pick them up for very little $$.  It was cheap new ($15k-16k ish) and they're really cheap used.  See #1 again.

8. A bumpin' stereo for all that long-commute-to-the-barn time.  This one has a premium sound system option with a subwoofer in the back that somehow sounds better than the truck's Bose system.  I did install an aftermarket stereo to replace the broken stock one, and now it has Bluetooth and Spotify control too.

A necessary purchase: when I brought the Vibe home, the stock radio's volume button went in a random direction every time you spun it.  Not okay.

9. It's fun to drive.  I didn't want to get a daily driver that would make me miss the truck.  I've been in a lot of 4 cylinder automatic hatches where the acceleration sucks and the handling is boring.  The Vibe is peppy and handles like it's happy to be driven.  I only wish it was the manual version, then it'd be really fun!

Anyone else on #teamvibe?  Or have another contender for Greatest Barn Car Ever?

19 comments:

  1. Great review and recommendation for us truck lovers! Same as you, I want my F250 to last forever and really need to look into another daily driver.

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    1. Trucks are just too darn expensive. Especially in winter - I want to keep it garaged so the salt doesn't ruin the already rusty undercarriage.

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    1. Even if it wasn't, I can't complain about a free car! Even if it does have 206,000 on it, haha.

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  3. Definitely a vehicle to consider if I ever had to do the long barn commute again! I also had an 80 mile round trip for almost a year...only being able to see my mare on the weekends was the deal breaker in the end

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    1. Yeah...I usually make it out 4 times a week. It's a lot of miles. I'd love to move him closer but there's literally nothing.

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  4. I feel the same way about my 2002 CR-V. Poor thing drives 7 days a week at least 64 miles a day, but it is corgi approved and even fits the huge German Shepherd. I baby it since it has 320,000 miles on it and works hard. Tires are cheaper on these little cars compared to the trucks too.

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    1. That's a Honda for you! I baby all my vehicles, nobody misses out on routine maintenance. Tires are unfortunately almost as expensive on the Vibe as the truck, my Honda Fit was the same way. They use a non-standard tire size that's only made by like one Japanese company.

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  5. I don't know why people don't like Pontiacs. I had a 2005 Grand Am that needed very little work aside from the usual maintenance. The only reason I got a newer car was because the Pontiac ended up totaled after an accident.

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    1. I've heard that from a lot of Pontiac owners, they seem to have a cult following. It's too bad they don't make them anymore.

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  6. I feel like same way about my Subaru Forester! Its gas mileage isn't as good as the Vibe's, but it's a fun car to drive, and I can fit 4 bags of shavings or 3 squares bales in it!

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  7. Hubby's care is a Volt, which accelerates like crazy and is totally silent on battery mode. I'd steal it if I wasn't the one with the 5 mile commute... alas, my truck is my daily driver.

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  8. I have a Mazda3 hatchback so it's very similar. I love my car!

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    1. We just started leasing a M3 hatchback so I'm not putting a billion miles on my truck and it is awesome! :)

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    2. I've had mine 4 years and it has been an awesome car!

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  9. My little Honda Civic can actually fit a surprising amount of barn crap in it...it's carried everything from hay bales to saddles to a big Stanley "tack" trunk. I am really good at Tetris-ing though so YMMV. Now if it was a hatchback, I'd be in heaven! So much room for activities! And it's a manual and pretty zippy and very fun to drive :)

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  10. I really LOVE my Spark for the same reason. Cheap car and I average (AVERAGE!) 42 miles to the gallon in my city and highway driving. I don't feel bad tossing dirty horse blankets in it, especially now that it's totaled and I own it, and despite being a tiny car I can fit everything I've ever needed to in it.

    I may have to look into the Vibe when this finally dies :)

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  11. I had an old pontiac with the same volume control problem! So weird. But this sounds like a super fantastic barn car! I'm hoping my nissan never dies, but if one day it kicks the bucket I would really love something that gets over 30mpg like your little car.

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  12. My parents made the mistake of helping me lease a new Camry. I literally pack on nearly 20k miles a year. So much for returning that lease..oops? Anywho, I love it but I feel so bad for how many miles it has at such a young age.

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