2009 Pontiac Vibe AWD
2009 Pontiac Vibe AWD. Click image to enlarge

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2009 Pontiac Vibe

Ottawa, Ontario – Although the weather has moderated here in Ottawa, the warmer temperatures (hovering at, or just below, freezing) have on occasion created sloppy, slippery, conditions and a really messy driving experience. Additionally, unseasonably warm temperatures and heavy rain and wind added interest to a recent 1,000-kilometre drive to and from Toronto.

First, the tires: the Pirelli Snowsports have good bite and don’t work against the Vibe’s light steering, but they can be noisy (they don’t sing like Michelins on certain surfaces, but they do noticeably hum on the dry pavement in our area). The suspension is proving adept at dampening the effects of heaving asphalt, however, which is a very good thing because we have a condition in Ottawa — and it’s really prevalent this winter — where some of our main roads are an exercise in plate tectonics! Apparently they are asphalt laid on top of concrete, and they’re self-destructing.

So, the Vibe ride is good, despite broken and heaved pavement.

2009 Pontiac Vibe AWD
2009 Pontiac Vibe AWD. Click image to enlarge

The rear washer/wiper is also good, but that back window is on the small side, and compromises visibility somewhat (notice how the roof of the Vibe slopes toward the rear of the vehicle; it’s almost a triangular shape, rather than a box). Front wipers are effective and the washer distributes a liberal spray of fluid in the right places for optimum cleaning. Exterior mirrors are large enough, but not heated. Something else to note about the Vibe is that removing snow and ice from the windows is an easier reach than you’d experience on an SUV.

Inside, the heater is adequate in around-town driving, and quick to warm up. Heating/ventilation is controlled by large rotary knobs that can easily be adjusted with a gloved hand. But for some reason, my feet became cold on the long highway drive, necessitating a redirection of warm air exclusively to the floor. Balancing the heat was something of an art, it turned out.

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