Today, at Miami-Dade College Kendall Campus, there was one of those really stupid 'festival' events going on.

"Festival", in this case, means "Oh, let's just get a few student organizations and a bunch of corporate 'sponsors' together, take students' money, and make them think they're having fun waiting in line all afternoon". But, I digress, and that shall probably the subject of a completely new rant.

Anyway, the radio station had made an appearance out there, and we were right across from some representatives of a local car dealership and their apparent new pride and joy on display, the Pontiac Vibe.

This seems to be a vehicle, from the promotional material I've seen on it, that Pontiac is marketing towards high school and college students. It's sort of a sorry excuse for a cross between a SUV and a stationwagon, with a really stupid factory-applied body kit.

"Any color you like, as long as it's PUKE"

The version they had sitting out there was the most disgusting metallic orange I've ever seen. I took a photograph of it with my digital camera, but it failed to capture the true chromatic nausea of the color. Here's the best I can do to describe it: If you still have a now rotted and liquefying pumpkin sitting around from Halloween, note the color of it. Now, imagine this color, made shiny and mixed into a metal flake paint. There's the color of the Vibe I saw today, probably mixed up from gold (which went out of style on cars in the 1970s) and defective candy apple red. After all, you've gotta use that SOMEWHERE, or it all goes to waste!

So, now what shall I mock? Let's see...

The interior is.... evil. First of all, the backseat was obviously added as a joke; the only real advantage I can see to it is that it can be folded down to extend the rear cargo space. That's it, move right along to... the driver's area. Who the hell designed this? On the dashboard, there are a few chrome-ringed holes. Yes... just HOLES. Recessed about 4 inches into each one is a part of the instrument panel, which is completely unreadable by daylight.

As standard with all cars sold in the USA (and probably, for that matter, anywhere in the world), 3-point seat belts are present at both front seating locations. I cannot see, from the way the interior is designed, why anyone would ever have to WEAR the seatbelt, however. An impact in any direction, at least from the driver's seat, would cause you to fly right into a nice, obscenely large and padded looking plastic interior feature; the swiss-cheese dash and steering wheel that looked like it belonged on a Power Wheels toy vehicle, the obscenely huge center console, or the enormous armrest protruding out of the door.

Actually, when I first saw the driver's side, my first thought was that they simply stole the driver's seat and controls of a NABI 30-LFN and shoved them in a bastardized Saturn. The resemblance is almost perfect; I'll try to get a photo of it for comparison soon. I'm 6'1", and the front seat of the stupid vehicle gave me almost an incredible inch of headroom. Perhaps those obscenely tall front seats are adjustable in height, but if they were, I'd have to push it all the way back (like I do in my family's 1995 Taurus) to be able to fit in there without my knees becoming embedded 2 inches into the cheap plastic dash.

The body shape of the Vibe is ugly, in the sense of "take a Ford Focus and hit it 500 times with the 50 pound Ugly Stick". It looks as though a poorly matched body kit was factory-applied, reducing the ground clearance to maybe 4 inches... which is a crying shame since the Vibe has 18" wheels, but where did I ever mention Pontiac's engineers doing anything RIGHT?

To top all of this horror off, the Vibe comes with a factory-applied Chrome Exhaust Tip of Stupid Largeness (-5). What, it's not like they weren't hurting for Wrongness Points in my book anyway.

Now, for some proof of just how bad this thing is.... photos!

The back, with the stupid exhaust tip

Let's see... Cheap plastic radiator (which will fail in 5 years), check.
Stupid plastic engine cover, check.
Engine compartment layout which will EAT your knuckles should you try to change the serpentine belt, check.
Easily accessible dipsticks and fill points for all vital fluids... check.
(Well, ok... score is 1 out of 3, but still.)

Okay, so if you epoxy-glue yourself and the Vibe to the ground permanently, so you are NEVER able to view it from any other angle, it might actually look okay.

Interior, showing the Dashboard 'O' Holes and the little 11" toy steering wheel. Sadly, the angle I took this picture at almost makes the seats look normal. Oh well. (Vertical striping due to RFI from a nearby cell phone.)

Based on my initial impressions, and no, I will not go to a dealership for a test drive either... I hereby give the Pontiac Vibe one overflowing urinal for stupid design.


Okay... if you excuse me... I'll be off worshipping the 2004 Toyota Prius. Soon, my precious, you shall be mine...

So why the heck did I read this?