Junkyard Find: 2005 Pontiac Vibe, Gambler 500 Edition

Several hooptie-centric road rallies take place every warm season in Front Range Colorado, including the 24 Hours of Lemons Rally, the Rocky Mountain Rambler 500 Rally, and the Colorado Gambler 500 Rally. Teams will build crazy stuff— say, a Lincoln Continental Mark IV filled with three tons of engine-heated water or a gutted Volkswagen R32 converted to a doorless post-apocalyptic Astroturf nightmare— or just acquire some random cheap car, decorate it, and beat it half to death on Rocky Mountain fire roads. As you’d expect, many of these cars go right to the nearest boneyard when the rally is over, and I find quite a few of them during my junkyard travels in northeastern Colorado. Here’s the “Good Vibes” Pontiac Vibe, found in Denver over the summer.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Economical All-purpose Hatchbacks From 2010

Three hatchbacks from 2010 (we might call them crossovers today), all of them about to disappear for various reasons. All three promise utility for their owners, and all provide four driven wheels. Thinking with your 2010 hat, which one do you take home?

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Ask Bark: Is $6,000 Too Much To Spend On A High Mileage Car?

Sophia writes:

Thank you for taking the time to read and answer this email, it’s greatly appreciated.

I have a budget of $6k and would like to buy a used car (automatic transmission). I really like the Scion tC models from ’06-’08 (I’m a fan of its smooth curves). Is it worth spending $6k on a car that has ~100k miles? I live in Silicon Valley and most the Scions I’ve seen for sale are in Sacramento or LA; I wouldn’t mind traveling a bit for the right car. By that measure, I love to drive and need a car that can take me all along the West coast as well as the weekly commute and won’t break the bank when it comes to repairs. Am I asking too much of a used vehicle? My 2001 civic made it through 235k miles, and while I prefer to stick to the Honda or Toyota family, am I missing out on a reliable American vehicle?

Again, thank you for the advice.

Regards,

Sophia

Back when I used to judge high school solo and ensemble music competitions for money in college, I seriously considered buying a rubber stamp that said “More dynamics.” I mean, every single kid needed to use more dynamic contrast (loud and soft playing), so I literally wrote “More dynamics” on every single judge’s sheet. The stamp would have been a YUUUUGE time saver. After about three months of doing the Ask Bark column, I’ve decided to buy two rubber stamps—one that says “Pontiac Vibe” and another that says “Scion tC.”

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Ask Bark: Which Beater Should She Bet On?

New-to-TTAC reader Kobe writes:

Hi Bark,

I’ve only begun to read TTAC and your email responses are a great read, so I figured I’d give sending you a question a shot.

Two of my wife’s friends are looking for reliable, used cars. The parameters I’ve been given were $4,000 or less (as she will need to save a little for maintenance repairs I figure), a hatchback (preferably four-door), automatic, front- or all-wheel drive, and decent gas mileage. Her friend has lived around NYC most of her life, so although she has her driving license, she has rarely driven.

Now, I went about scrolling through all the makes and models that are listed on Autotrader and came up with this possible list:

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Ask Bark: Too Much Junk in the Trunk (and Everywhere Else)

Ben writes:

Hey Bark,

I have a brother with a mechanically-healthy 2001 Toyota Camry LE four-cylinder automatic. I’m estimating it has about 180,000 miles now. He uses that car everyday — extensively on the job, and for visits to family members out of state. Mileage is piling up fast. He does have the car regularly maintained — mechanically — through a local independent technician who he trusts. Cosmetically, the car gets occasional self service, pressure-wand-and-foam-brush washes, but that’s it.

Here’s the problem: he’s a hoarder, and his car is suffering for it.

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  • Jeff S I rented a 2012 Chrysler 200 with the 4 cylinder from Enterprise for business travel and it was not a bad car but I would not buy one. I would have picked a Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, or a Ford Fusion over a Chrysler 200. I have known people that bought Chrysler 200s that had nothing but problems with them. I appreciate these old reviews and miss the old TTAC before it became what it is now with many articles that are slanted toward politics. Don't have to agree with everything but it is good to read an honest review of a car.
  • Jeff S The Cybertruck was first unveiled and announced on Nov. 21, 2019. For over 3 years Tesla has been saying that this truck was going to be released soon. The mystique and surprise is no longer there. I think the Cybertruck is hideous but then I am not the target for this. Since its initial unveiling there has been the introduction of the Lightning, Hummer, and the Rivian truck. The anticipation of this truck and the mystique has faded. There will be a few that will buy this because they are hard core Tesla fans and some because it is different but Tesla should have been the first to market an EV pickup. GM is planning a compact EV pickup under the GMC brand starting at 25 MSRP. This should have been Tesla and Tesla could have downsized the Cybertruck to either a midsize or compact truck and been first. Tesla should have been first at the very least to release a smaller EV truck.
  • Bloke Wow, this should make a big difference, to those catalytic converter thieves who don't have tools like 'angle grinders' with them.
  • Carlson Fan The way the truck drops in the rear and the bed/tailgate become a ramp is genius! I'd buy it just for that alone!!! It would be awesome for loading snowmobiles and garden tractors in the back. However, my trucks need to be able to regularly tow heavy loads long distance, summer & winter. Sorry folks, current battery tech. isn't even close to what it needs to be for me to think even one second that a battery truck could replace my current ICE powered truck. An EV for a DD makes sense , but for truck you need a MUCH better battery.
  • Inside Looking Out For midsize sedan it is too small. It basically is a compact car.