A vs. thread? Yes, sir! Tribute/Escape v Vibe/Matrix- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    A vs. thread? Yes, sir! Tribute/Escape v Vibe/Matrix

    I'm looking for a new vehicle to replace my old Subaru that leaks oil like an offshore BP rig and isn't worth fixing. I've been seriously considering the Mazda Tribute or a Pontiac Vibe (I like the styling of those more than their counterparts). I haven't test driven a Vibe yet so I'm not sure what exactly to expect. I recently drove a Tribute with the V6 and liked the power, size, and the fact that it was AWD. However, I do like the idea of significantly better mpg the Vibe offers. This will be my family's only vehicle (I have a one year old kid) and I plan on getting a receiver and hitch rack for my other babies.

    What are your thoughts and experiences with these cars? Any different recommendations?

  2. #2
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    Price range and new or used?

    If new, also look at the Equinox and CRV. My sister has an Equinox, not the best thing to drive but its a solid vehicle. Sliding back seat is very useful. My wife test drove a CRV - great vehicle, just wasn't quite big enough. We just stuck with our older, paid off Tahoe fwiw.

    If used, the current gen Highlander seems solid. My step mother in law has one, lower end model - cloth, etc. Seems very quiet and smooth, she loves it. Good fuel econ - mid to upper 20s on the highway. 3rd row when you need it, not too big not to small size.

    We tried the smaller vehicle route when we only had one rugrat, who was 4/5 at the time. We made it work, but what a pain in the ass.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammy35
    Price range and new or used?

    If new, also look at the Equinox and CRV. My sister has an Equinox, not the best thing to drive but its a solid vehicle. Sliding back seat is very useful. My wife test drove a CRV - great vehicle, just wasn't quite big enough. We just stuck with our older, paid off Tahoe fwiw.

    If used, the current gen Highlander seems solid. My step mother in law has one, lower end model - cloth, etc. Seems very quiet and smooth, she loves it. Good fuel econ - mid to upper 20s on the highway. 3rd row when you need it, not too big not to small size.

    We tried the smaller vehicle route when we only had one rugrat, who was 4/5 at the time. We made it work, but what a pain in the ass.
    Thanks for the input. I'm definitely looking to go used with a budget of only $6k. Don't laugh, I'm working on my MBA and don't have time for much work

  4. #4
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    No judgements here. We drive older vehicles (old bimmer and a Tahoe) b/c they are reliable and still serve their purpose. I don't need a $50k driveway fashion statement.

    In that price range you're going to be looking at stuff that has some miles. That moves reliability way way up the ladder since you mentioned it will be your only family vehicle.

    CRV seems to get good reviews. Our '99 Tahoe has been rock solid with regular maintenance. Every other person here has owned a 4 Runner which seem to be a safe bet. No experience with what you mentioned; I had a Ford Contour SVT which turned out to be a steaming pile of poo reliability wise - so I feel pretty burned by that brand.

    Since it will be your only car, and it sounds like $$ is a little tight, have you considered leasing something new? The new Kia suvs look slick and there are always lease specials out there for ~ $200/mo. This gets you cost certainty - you know your payments gas and insurance are going to cost you X. With a $6k car, there is always going to be a $500 - $1000 repair hanging around the corner; and those never happen at convenient times. For me leasing is not a long term solution, but I think it's a very useful tool. It would at least get you by until your MBA is finished.

  5. #5
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    I have an 03 Matrix (same as vibe) with about 150 000 km on it. I have had no problems as of yet. I am still on first brakes and have replaced nothing except tires and wiper blades. Only maintenance has been oil/tranny fluid, rad flush. So far it has been pretty reliable.

    When it is cold it makes a valve tapping noise while warming (goes away after 5 min).

    It is a terrible snow car even with winter tires IMHO. This was the most disappointing thing for me. I wish I had got the AWD model. This could be a big difference from your Subaru or the Tribute if you care.

    I carry bikes on the roof. The roof rack (Thule) was very noisy until I added a fairing.

    Other small issues were dash rattles and a radio that resets every time I turn the car on (I never know the correct time).

    Hope this helps.

  6. #6
    ginormous newbie
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    I'm tardy to the party here but +1 for the vibe. Ive had my 03AWD model since 05' and can honestly say it has been THE most reliable and versatile vehicle I have ever owned. I'm a bit of a car floozy and have owned 37 vehicles in my 14 years of driving so I definitely have hands on experience with a number of different rides.


    Best of luck in your search



    Jay
    Last edited by big Jay; 12-23-2010 at 01:25 AM.

  7. #7
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    +2 on the Vibe/Matrix. My neighbor has one uses it to carry his bike or kayak. He's an engineer and researched a ton before he made the purchase. Says great gas mileage/super reliable. Another thought is an older Honda Odessey. Bigger than the Matrix but just as reliable and still good MPG.

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