Pontiac have unveiled the Vibe - a compact, versatile crossover fused with the sporting nature of a performance-driven vehicle.

Less than a week after Toyota have revealed their Corolla Matrix to crowds at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, has joint-subsidiary company Pontiac unveiled the Vibe with which it shares a platform. The 2009 model year vehicle is a compact, versatile crossover fused with the sporting nature of a performance-driven vehicle - entering showrooms from early next year.

Clean lines, tight overhangs and a greater wheelbase are key styling decisions made to produce an athletically muscular but graceful design. Near-unrivalled in this price range is the Vibe's 1,400 litres of fold-flat 'everyday versatility', packaged with more powerful powertrains to deliver driving style 'to a new beat'.

“The Vibe has the interior room and cargo capability expected of a larger SUV, but with the precise handling characteristics you would expect from any Pontiac,” explains the brand's marketing director, Craig Bierley.

The base model offers drivers a more comfortable, composed ride via its front suspension design set up, while the all-new Vibe line-up now also boasts re-introduced all-wheel-drive and GT variants which employ multi-link independent rear suspension for sharper responses and greater control. Vibe models have been differentiated by way of unique styling cues, from the AWD's roof rack to the GT's own front fascia and roof spoiler. Sixteen-inch alloys are fitted as standard on base and AWD models, with 18-inch aluminium finish wheels standard on the GT.

Now packaged with two more power-packed powertrains, the 2009 Vibe offers more responsive performance. The base model is equipped with a punchier 1.8-litre base unit, delivering 132-horsepower for enhanced off-the-line power. A new high-output 2.4-litre engine, optional on the base model and standard on AWD and GT variants, delivers 158 hp and 162 lb.-ft of torque, while on all but the AWD model, which is limited to a four speed auto, a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmission is available. Performance figures are as yet unpublished.

The car's cabin is all-new from the footwells up, now featuring a more driver-oriented cockpit to complement its sports car 'vibe'. Controls and gauges have been redesigned to be user-friendlier while retaining a sense of performance orientation and 'class-leading quality' in their look and feel.

Low-gloss materials and satin-metal accents are splashed on instrument panels and other components, with new knit-fabric seats reinforce a more premium interior cabin feel. GT models feature leather-trimmed seats as standard as well as leather steering wheel and gearshift lever. Impressively packed with a greater specification, the Vibe includes radio, CD player, and either a four-speaker or seven-speaker MP3-compatiable system.

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