Author Topic: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?  (Read 4943 times)

skunkfunk

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Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« on: August 11, 2015, 08:41:42 AM »
My wife currently drives a 2013 Chevy Cruze Eco with the 6 speed transmission. I average 38 MPG in this thing and it has 34000 miles, so almost out of warranty. I bought it along with my wife just before we jumped on board the FIRE train in late 2013. While we love the car I've always heard great things about the Pontiac Vibe around here and I am concerned that I won't be able to sell it on craigslist due to the transmission and the general inability of other people around here to drive a stick. After reading the article here regarding transactions (specifically not to be afraid of them) I'm considering making the leap, but am nervous enough to consider a trade in.

The car I've got in mind is something like this - http://www.shawneeautomallok.com/2003-Pontiac-Vibe/Used-Hatchback/Shawnee-OK/6139303/Details.aspx

I've had my eyes peeled for a Vibe for 2 years now and they just don't pop up all that often. Assuming I can find something like that for a reasonable price, would I be stupid to downgrade to a much older Vibe?

We currently have one child at 6 months of age so 5 seats should be sufficient. Would the Vibe be a significant safety downgrade?

sirdoug007

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2015, 08:51:23 AM »
Don't worry about selling the Cruze.  You are limiting yourself to your perceptions (not even necessarily reality) of how many people can drive a manual transmission in your immediate area.

If you wanted to sell it you should go beyond local craigslist.  You can put it on eBay motors or even this site and probably quickly find someone that appreciates the extra mpg you get with a clutch.

Keep it and enjoy many, many more miles!

sirdoug007

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2015, 08:53:23 AM »
And a 2003 Vibe is absolutely a safety downgrade from a 2013 Cruze.

The advances in safety in general but especially structure crumple zone and airbag technology in those 10 years are incredible.

skunkfunk

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2015, 08:57:06 AM »
And a 2003 Vibe is absolutely a safety downgrade from a 2013 Cruze.

The advances in safety in general but especially structure crumple zone and airbag technology in those 10 years are incredible.

So you'd personally recommend just sticking with the Cruze due to mileage and safety? The primary motivation for getting the Vibe would be cargo space, cashing out about $6k on the difference in price, and frankly the Vibe looks much more fun. I'm very much on the fence, though, and if the safety really is that much better I should probably keep the Cruze for the kiddo.

I suppose I could also replace my old '91 pickup with a Vibe. They can carry quite a bit of stuff. I have a hard time justifying getting rid of a 24 year old pickup with 240k miles that's worth only maybe $1500, though.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2015, 08:59:15 AM »
I can't comment on whether the Vibe would be a safety downgrade, but I can tell you that I have been very pleased with the 2003 Pontiac Vibe that I own.  It is a pretty efficient vehicle and the interior space is surprisingly large and versatile.  With the seats folded down, it has more space in the back than many small SUVs.  Mechanically, it has been quite reliable.  The most significant repair I've had to make in recent years is to replace the front struts... but that is expected for pretty much any car that old. 

My biggest complaint about my Vibe is that it does not handle well in snow and ice.  It pretty much has the braking and cornering capability of a hockey puck and the torque is high enough that it is difficult to accelerate without breaking the front wheels free.  It is not something that stops me from driving it in the winter, but it took some getting used to as I have to drive it more conservatively than some other vehicles.  I imagine a set of snow tires could help a bit, but I have never bought any to find out.  Also, I understand that there are some four wheel drive Vibes out there that might handle better in the snow. 

But the snow complaints are not that big of a deal to me because it is only a few weeks out of the year that snow handling is an issue for me.  It rarely prevents me from getting around and on the rare days I am unable to get around in the Vibe, I would be unable to get around in anything less than a large truck or SUV anyway.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2015, 09:11:33 AM »
I wouldn't say you are crazy.  Unless I had a bunch of debt and/or no emergency fund, I would not do it.  If I were pinched, I would consider it.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2015, 09:13:56 AM »
And a 2003 Vibe is absolutely a safety downgrade from a 2013 Cruze.

The advances in safety in general but especially structure crumple zone and airbag technology in those 10 years are incredible.

So you'd personally recommend just sticking with the Cruze due to mileage and safety? The primary motivation for getting the Vibe would be cargo space, cashing out about $6k on the difference in price, and frankly the Vibe looks much more fun. I'm very much on the fence, though, and if the safety really is that much better I should probably keep the Cruze for the kiddo.

I suppose I could also replace my old '91 pickup with a Vibe. They can carry quite a bit of stuff. I have a hard time justifying getting rid of a 24 year old pickup with 240k miles that's worth only maybe $1500, though.

Remember, http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/07/safety-is-an-expensive-illusion/.  Your best protection is to drive as little as possible and to drive carefully. 

You probably won't get 38 miles to the gallon with a Vibe, but it is still pretty efficient compared to many other vehicles (I get ~30 mpg highway).  There's a good chance your total savings resulting from lower insurance, lower registration fees, wheel taxes, etc., and a $6,000 lower purchase price will be more significant than the loss of MPGs from the switch.  This is especially true if you are able to mostly go without driving it. 

I have a one year old and our Vibe accommodates her car seat significantly better than our 2005 Honda Civic, for what that's worth. 

sirdoug007

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2015, 09:16:21 AM »
And a 2003 Vibe is absolutely a safety downgrade from a 2013 Cruze.

The advances in safety in general but especially structure crumple zone and airbag technology in those 10 years are incredible.

So you'd personally recommend just sticking with the Cruze due to mileage and safety? The primary motivation for getting the Vibe would be cargo space, cashing out about $6k on the difference in price, and frankly the Vibe looks much more fun. I'm very much on the fence, though, and if the safety really is that much better I should probably keep the Cruze for the kiddo.

I suppose I could also replace my old '91 pickup with a Vibe. They can carry quite a bit of stuff. I have a hard time justifying getting rid of a 24 year old pickup with 240k miles that's worth only maybe $1500, though.

I would keep the Cruze.   You have a relatively new, safe, paid for, high mpg vehicle that will treat you well for years and years to come.  A 2013 with 34,000 miles is going to give you fewer maintenance problems than a 2003 with 60k miles.  You already have a cheap pickup so you already have the cargo carrying capacity taken care of.

Perhaps the Vibe looks like more fun, but I've never heard of them described by their drivers as "fun" :)

skunkfunk

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2015, 09:36:49 AM »
And a 2003 Vibe is absolutely a safety downgrade from a 2013 Cruze.

The advances in safety in general but especially structure crumple zone and airbag technology in those 10 years are incredible.

So you'd personally recommend just sticking with the Cruze due to mileage and safety? The primary motivation for getting the Vibe would be cargo space, cashing out about $6k on the difference in price, and frankly the Vibe looks much more fun. I'm very much on the fence, though, and if the safety really is that much better I should probably keep the Cruze for the kiddo.

I suppose I could also replace my old '91 pickup with a Vibe. They can carry quite a bit of stuff. I have a hard time justifying getting rid of a 24 year old pickup with 240k miles that's worth only maybe $1500, though.

Remember, http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/07/safety-is-an-expensive-illusion/.  Your best protection is to drive as little as possible and to drive carefully. 

You probably won't get 38 miles to the gallon with a Vibe, but it is still pretty efficient compared to many other vehicles (I get ~30 mpg highway).  There's a good chance your total savings resulting from lower insurance, lower registration fees, wheel taxes, etc., and a $6,000 lower purchase price will be more significant than the loss of MPGs from the switch.  This is especially true if you are able to mostly go without driving it. 

I have a one year old and our Vibe accommodates her car seat significantly better than our 2005 Honda Civic, for what that's worth.

Well, we actually drive a fairly ridiculous amount. The vast majority of this driving is to visit family (they provide our day care and we also visit frequently.) Anyway, the point is we put 35K miles on it in two years because our families are spread out. Safety and mileage are definitely non-trivial.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2015, 09:54:41 AM »

Well, we actually drive a fairly ridiculous amount. The vast majority of this driving is to visit family (they provide our day care and we also visit frequently.) Anyway, the point is we put 35K miles on it in two years because our families are spread out. Safety and mileage are definitely non-trivial.

In that case I would lean toward not replacing it.  When you buy a used car you are never sure whether you are buying a can of worms.  You have a paid-for, efficient, safe vehicle now and you know how it has been maintained.  If you swap for a Vibe, you are buying an arguably less safe, less efficient vehicle with a significantly shorter life expectancy.  Plus, there is the chance the particular Vibe you purchase has latent mechanical issues caused by negligent prior owners. 

I'm not seeing a whole lot of upside in the swap beyond $6,000 cashed out, assuming the insurance/registration savings of the Vibe are outweighed by the efficiency of the Cruze.  There is a good chance you will need to reinvest the $6,000 you cashed out in a car in +/- five years if you get the Vibe.  You already have a truck that provides large-cargo capability.  Unless someone else sees upside I'm not seeing, I'd say stick with the Cruze. 

Forcus

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2015, 11:03:25 AM »
Please note my signature before continuing on...

I would keep the Cruze. I've actually been looking for a Cruze Eco and just barely missed out on one at a screaming deal (~3k under market value). I think your car, based on my area, would get sub-10k on trade in at a dealer. Local prices are around 12k-14k at dealers. The stick is definitely an issue, around here.

What you have is still a rarity at this point in time. High mpg, but a decently built, solid, substantial, modern, safe car. Only newer choices in the 40 MPG area are hybrids, Fiesta 3 cylinders, Cruze Eco, Hyundai Elantras, and VW diesels (there are a handful of others but they are too oddball or old - e.g. early 2000's Honda Insight - for me to group them in). The Fiesta is just fine for one person but gets a little crowded with more, and the safety ratings are not near what the Cruze has attained. Hybrid versions of family sedans that can get close to 40 MPG are much more expensive on the used market.

Nothing against the Vibe but I wouldn't expect more than 33 mpg while a properly driven Eco can get over 40, and there is a tune that is supposed at add up to 3 mpg on top of that. Vibes are hard to find around here that aren't all rusted to hell but that's probably not an issue for you.

Just my $.02, if you are financially sound, I'd stick with the Cruze.

oldladystache

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2015, 11:21:04 AM »
I've had my '06 Vibe since it was new. I can carry an amazing amount of stuff in it, and I can't think of anything to complain about. But fun? Not that I've noticed.

I do plan to replace it sometime soon, probably with a van or minivan. Not because of any problem with it, but because I prefer to have a vehicle less than 10 years old. On the theory that I'm less likely to get stranded with a newer one. When you get old you begin to worry about things like that. And I can afford to drive anything I want.

Spork

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2015, 11:23:13 AM »
I have a Matrix (a Vibe in Toyota clothing).  I know *nothing* about the Cruze, so it's difficult for me to say anything bad (or good) about it.

I have a few complaints about my Matrix... though not enough to dump it.  It is reliable and has reasonable MPG. 
Pros for Matix:
* large capacity
* reasonable mileage -- but you probably are not going to beat your 38mpg.  (My average city/highway combined since I bought mine is right around 31.)
* reasonably inexpensive
* can still buy them with manual transmission

Cons:
* as mentioned upthread: the wheels do have a tendency to break away.  I'll even say: they have a tendency to break away on very wet streets at speed.  It's a little disconcerting to be going uphill in the rain and have the wheels spin.  (Putting high dollar tires on it makes it better, but not perfect.)
* no anti lock brakes (or at least on the model I have)
* not overly sporty or exciting to drive.  (But driving excitement is over rated and the tradeoff costs real money.)
* if you're overly worried about safety, they're in the midst of an airbag recall.  This *will* get fixed, but they are strapped for parts in the short term.  (A small percentage of the airbags have deployed in a way that sent out metal fragments and caused injury/death -- mostly in hot, humid climates.)

skunkfunk

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2015, 11:33:29 AM »
there is a tune that is supposed at add up to 3 mpg on top of that.


What, where??

On the theory that I'm less likely to get stranded with a newer one. When you get old you begin to worry about things like that.

Meh, I'm pretty handy. If my old '69 firebird can't strand me, nothing can! I've had a transmission fail, starter burn, failed oil pump, and valvetrain parts eating themselves to name the worst it's thrown at me. To digress, that particular car is a holdover from less mustachian times (got it 11 years ago) and is now on the back burner as a retirement project.


* not overly sporty or exciting to drive.  (But driving excitement is over rated and the tradeoff costs real money.)


The GT model linked in my original post looks fun, 180 HP and a 6-speed couldn't be all that bad.

Excellent thoughts everybody, thank you. The Cruze seems to be a winner in this forum's opinion.

Spork

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2015, 11:35:43 AM »

* not overly sporty or exciting to drive.  (But driving excitement is over rated and the tradeoff costs real money.)


The GT model linked in my original post looks fun, 180 HP and a 6-speed couldn't be all that bad.

Excellent thoughts everybody, thank you. The Cruze seems to be a winner in this forum's opinion.

Speaking out of my ass, as I have never driven the GT ;)   I would think you would lose your good mileage there.  I would also be REALLY concerned about the handling with more power, given the way the plain jane model tends to break away the front tires in water/ice/snow.

skunkfunk

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2015, 11:45:15 AM »

* not overly sporty or exciting to drive.  (But driving excitement is over rated and the tradeoff costs real money.)


The GT model linked in my original post looks fun, 180 HP and a 6-speed couldn't be all that bad.

Excellent thoughts everybody, thank you. The Cruze seems to be a winner in this forum's opinion.

Speaking out of my ass, as I have never driven the GT ;)   I would think you would lose your good mileage there.  I would also be REALLY concerned about the handling with more power, given the way the plain jane model tends to break away the front tires in water/ice/snow.

Yes, that is concerning. I had been ruling out the GT model until recently (I expanded the search since the Vibes are seemingly rare) due to the mpg's, although I had not thought about the ice handling with the extra power. I've never had a FWD car with anywhere near 180 hp, so it had not crossed my mind.

AZDude

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2015, 11:56:51 AM »
Honestly, the idea sounds a little crazy. You want an old Vibe instead of the reliable, fuel efficient car you have now? I drive an old Pontiac(2007 Grand Prix, 117K miles), and while I like the car, it is not reliable. It overheats if I drive it too hard or too long. Stuff just stops working like the gas gauge and the headlights(kind of important). It has already been through at least one recall.

Think it through... is a Vibe really what you want?

skunkfunk

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2015, 12:02:27 PM »
Think it through... is a Vibe really what you want?

I can say that if they had still been in production when we bought the Cruze, we would have bought that instead of the Cruze.

AZDude

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2015, 12:04:31 PM »
Well, if you really want one and its going to make you happier, then go for it. Different strokes for different folks, just make sure its not a decision you will regret.

skunkfunk

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2015, 12:06:28 PM »
Well, if you really want one and its going to make you happier, then go for it. Different strokes for different folks, just make sure its not a decision you will regret.

Given this thread, I've decided to keep the Cruze barring a big push from my wife to get one. Maybe one of these days I'll grab one, but not in the foreseeable future.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2015, 12:16:14 PM »
Honestly, the idea sounds a little crazy. You want an old Vibe instead of the reliable, fuel efficient car you have now? I drive an old Pontiac(2007 Grand Prix, 117K miles), and while I like the car, it is not reliable. It overheats if I drive it too hard or too long. Stuff just stops working like the gas gauge and the headlights(kind of important). It has already been through at least one recall.

Think it through... is a Vibe really what you want?

That's because you are driving a Pontiac.  A Vibe is a Pontiac in name only: the only thing "Pontiac" about the Pontiac Vibe is its skin.  Mechanically, a Vibe is a Toyota.  It is built on the Corolla chassis, has a Toyota engine and mechanical parts.  If I need more serious service, I even take my Vibe to a mechanic that only services Toyotas and Hondas. 

Forcus

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Re: Would I be crazy to swap my Cruze for a Vibe?
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2015, 01:53:37 PM »
there is a tune that is supposed at add up to 3 mpg on top of that.


What, where??


I think it was called the Trifecta tune. I looked a couple days ago and it doesn't look like that tune is available anymore. But there are others, apparently, I just haven't researched them. I took a quick look at cruzeforums.com (I think it was) and it has a ton of information on mpg.