The Toyota Matrix is a tall hatchback with a small SUV look and stance that benefits owners by perching them up high in the car and providing a commanding forward view. Sharp and youthful to a higher level than its over-achieving and under-styled brother, the Corolla, Matrix makes the most sense to most people coming from a wide range of lifestyles.
Available in front or all wheel drive (AWD), the Matrix could also be fitted with numerous features and options to suit a wide variety of needs. With 428 litres of cargo space, it offered one of the largest interiors in its class, too. A wide variety of dealer-installed and aftermarket accessories are available, too.
Power came from a high-revving 1.8 liter four-cylinder unit with up to 180 horsepower in Matrix XRS models, though power output figures were reduced as time passed.
What Owners Like:
Dependability, adaptability, flexibility and a fun-to-drive attitude are highly rated by Matrix owners, as is its relatively decent fuel consumption, and wintertime traction in models equipped with the AWD system.
What Owners Hate:
Common gripes include a lousy factory stereo system, squeaks and rattles as the Matrix ages, excessive wind noise and some low-budget interior parts.
On a test drive, be sure to watch for a check engine light, which could indicate a number of problems including an emissions control fault or a bad oxygen sensor. Be sure to note the engine’s idling as well. It should be smooth and steady. With an automatic transmission, ensure that shifts occur with minimal hesitation and that no ‘slippage’ is present. With a manual, be sure the clutch take-up feels smooth and positive.