Preview Drive: 2003 Pontiac Vibe

Six-speed manual transmission, all-wheel drive, base price of 17 grand. What more could an entry-level buyer want?

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2003 Pontiac Vibe

The Pontiac Vibe didn't take long to impress. We were sitting in the front seat, ignition off, looking at the spec sheet: six-speed manual transmission, all-wheel drive, base price of 17 grand. What more could an entry-level buyer want?

Not much, as our test drive near Las Vegas proved. We especially liked the 180-horsepower four-cylinder engine in the upmarket GT (the base engine makes 130 hp), and handling was responsive with both engines.
Bottom line: PT Cruiser or Focus buyers should add this SUV-ish sedan (or its twin, the Toyota Matrix) to their test-drive list.