I am looking at the Vibe and Matrix. Consumer Reports calls them ‘twins’. They both have engines made in Canada. How much are they the same car? Toyota doesn’t have much of a deal and they cost more to start with. Is the Pontiac Vibe as reliable as the Matrix? Are they both using the same engine then putting thier own chassis on it? Thanks for any help

They are both built in a Toyota plant to Toyota standards. The quality is essentially the same.

The caviat here is the future of GM and Pontiac. GM’s restructuring plan calls for Pontiac to be eliminated as a separate brand, so many Pontiac dealers will disappear. Althought the Vibe is the same mechanically as the Martrix, many body and trim parts are not. My guess is that 10 years from now, GM will have lost interest in the Vibe and won’t supply those unique body parts. That appears to be your only risk.

If you are only going to keep the vehicle for 5 years, I see no problem other than somewhat lower resale value. But since you are getting a good discount on the Vibe, that will offset the worse resale.

If you are planning to keep the car 10 years or more I would go with a Matrix.

The Matrix and the Vibe are built side by side in the same factory. They are mechanically identical to each other, and equally reliable. The drive train in these vehicles is based on the Toyota Corolla, one of the most reliable vehicles on the planet. You could consider these vehicles Corolla Station Wagons and not be far off.

I’d say buy whichever one you can get the best deal on.

If you are planning to keep the car 10 years or more I would go with a Matrix.

I’d make the exact opposite suggestion. The Vibe will be cheaper to buy, and you won’t care about resale value if you plan to keep it 10 years or more. The mechanical parts will be available from Toyota if not from GM, and body parts should not be a problem. There are lots of aftermarket makers of body panels.

“The Matrix and the Vibe are built side by side in the same factory.”

No, the Matrix is built in Canada and the Vibe is built in California. The Vibe is built in a GM factory. Really. Of course, its also built in a Toyota factory, since it’s a joint venture. It’s called NUMMI. They also assemble Tacomas and Corollas in California. The NUMMI plant was the sole source for US Corollas and Prizms for many years. The Toronto plant also builds Corollas, Lexus RX-350, and the Matrix.

It is the same car beneath the interior and exterior look. Both are derived from the same car/engine, Toyota Corolla.

Buy what appeals to you most, whether it be price, style, color choice, dealership, or whatever.

Thanks for the detail, but how does this help the OP?

I want to sell my 2003 Vibe but I was victim of scam and it has a 1993 Sunfire engine when I bought it used. Despite that, it’s old faithful and starts every cold morning here in Anchorage and has required few repairs, but has been rear ended twice (and repaired). It is in fair condition (grandkids). I want to sell it fir a low value of $1500 because of old engine and my husband is screaming I am undervaluing it. What do you think?

Anything that runs at $1500 is a steal. You can always accept less, it is hard to ask for more.

A 2003 Vibe will sell for about $2500 and up from a dealer. A prime specimen might go for $7000. Figure $4750 as a midpoint. Presumably that would include the correct engine, and a private seller would get less for it. Then there’s your vehicle’s accident history to take into account. So less than $4750 and probably considerably less. You can always ask $2-3000 and come down. How much does your husband think it’s worth?

$3,000. So we’re a distance apart. Thanks for your input.

That’s a help. Thanks for your input.

The value of something is what someone is willing to pay. Start at $3000. If it sells, great. You can always lower the price to get it to sell.

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I call BS. It would be way more expensive and time-consuming to manufacture the necessary motor mounts and wiring harnesses needed to install a Sunfire engine into a Pontiac Vibe versus buying a working used engine of the correct type. And then there’s the issues of finding a suitable PCM, transferring the accessories from the donor car, and adapting the engine to the bellhousing of the Vibe transmission.



It’s not that different from someone suggesting that other engines can be readily transplanted into a BMW M3. Do we know anybody who suggested that strategy only a day or so ago?


I think that you will be lucky to get the 1500.00 . Wrong engine , 2 rear end hits and Fair condition . Even if it was without those problems the top value in might be 2000.00

List it for 2500.00 and if someone pays that fine. If no traffic lower the price because if you trade it in you will not get 1500.00 .

As a side note . The next time you have a question start your own discussion instead of tacking onto a 12 year old thread .

I am not understanding your suggestion. When faced with a $36k cost to purchase the correct BMW engine, just about any other engine can be installed for less money–even with the challenges of making it fit and providing the necessary control wiring and PCM to run it. When faced with the cost of replacing the stock Toyota 4-cylinder engine in a Pontiac Vibe, which might range from $500 or less for used engine from a “you pull it” yard all the way up to maybe $5k for a professionally installed reman with a warranty, there’s no possible way that putting a used engine from a much older–and completely unrelated car could be done for less money, even if time is no object.

When I was in high school back in the 1950s, one of my classmates had a 1951 Mercury with a 1953 Cadillac engine. It seems to me there were places that sold bell housings that let a person adapt an engine of one make to a transmission of a different make. I also saw a 1953 Studebaker that had a Buick nail head V8 under the hood.
I know that the Mercury with the Cadillac engine did have some problems. I can’t imagine doing engine swaps on modern cars.
I did one engine swap. Someone gave me a LawnBoy mower with a blown two stroke engine. I had a mower with a Briggs and Stratton engine and a rusted deck. The B & S engine bolted right up to the LawnBoy deck.

Pre 75 engine swaps were easy. You swap engine and transmission as a unit. Have the front of the driveshaft from the new engine mated to the cars rear section. Any driveshaft shop can do that. Slap a Hurst floor shifter in and tweak the clutch linkage a bit and you jave a swap. Maybe change the speedo gear.

Currently, the easiest swap for that BMW is a LS Chevy with trans, wiring harness and all. Have the GM PCM reprogrammed to lose the security system and fab some mounts. Use an Android tablet for the dash using OBD signals.

As for the Vibe, I’d swap engine and trans as a unit and figure out the half shafts I need. You might even get the PCM to control the engine. Not sure about the transmission, though.

Well, not BS. Took the car to the dealer for some work early (to remove supercharger the previous idiots also installed that was causing issues), that’s when dealer who sold it to me discovered it was a 1993 Sunfire engine. Talked me into keeping it if they removed supercharger for free and any work for the next two year’s as an extended warranty. So I kept it. It served me well until now, but mom wants to sell her 2014 car to me for cheap, so I’m selling the VIBE.