Endurance races, ski trips, musings, and adventures on the East Coast.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Car House Review: Pontiac Vibe

I've been meaning to throw this one up on the blog for awhile now, so here we go. I spend a lot of time on the road, more than I'd care to admit really. Much of that time is spent traveling to races on a self-financed shoestring budget, which means hotels, and even campgrounds are mostly out of the picture. I spend a lot of nights camped out on the side of the road, at highway rest stops, and on National Forest Land. Which makes having a bed in the car a must. For a little over a year I had a little platform set up in the back of my beloved Volvo 240, which was not very comfortable, but it got me through. Then last spring the Volvo finally kicked the bucket.

I needed a new car. I wanted something that got more than 30 miles a gallon, was reliable, and that I could sleep in. I ended up with a Pontiac Vibe. It's rad. I'm sure that the number of people shopping for cars with the same criteria as me is relatively small, but if you want a smallish car you can travel with, the Vibe is pretty sweet.

Without a roof rack milage is in the upper 30's. With a roof rack it drops to about 30 even, but I can carry a lot more stuff.

The inverter in the dash in incredibly useful on long road trips. I can charge my computer, phone, camera battery, and iPod without adapters or inverters. It's awesome.

The back of the Vibe. Lots of stuff packed in on the left, and the bed is on the right. A 2x4 and plywood base underneath the mattress keeps it level with the font seat (which folds flat), and allows for a little storage underneath.

There is a big, 3 inch thick foam pad in there. I have to say it's pretty comfy and not at all cramped. I usually sleep really well.

From the outside the Vibe doesn't look big enough to sleep in. But the front seat folds flat, which allows me to stretch out and sleep comfortably. When I'm driving the sleeping pad folds back and I can put the seat up.

Stuff sacks, crates, and storage bins galore. Anything to keep everything organized.

Everything packed in. It looks a little cramped, and to be sure, it's no Eurovan. But it works pretty darn well. Three straight months of living out of the Vibe this fall convinced me that, overall, it's a pretty good setup even for extended living. And for the quick weekend trip to a bike race outside of the state, you can't beat it.


  1. Cars are meant to be driven. Leaving a vehicle unattended for a long period of time can cause something akin to automotive atrophy, a slow deterioration of the vehicle that can create problems when you try to drive it again. Rust and corrosion can form on the body or inside critical components, gum and varnish can clog the fuel system, sludge and acids can form in the engine oil, mildew can grow in the interior, and constant sunlight can slowly fade the paint and deteriorate vinyl, leather, and rubber parts. That's why if you need to store your vehicle—whether for the winter or because it can't be driven for an indefinite period of time—certain precautions should be taken before you put it into mothballs.

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  2. I got a vibe for all the same reasons you did except I'm touring for music. What size is that mattress? 24x72?