The days when buying a small wagon are becoming less and less common these days. No longer are people buying wagons, but instead optioning for crossovers that sit higher off the ground like the Nissan Juke and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. However, what if you need a small wagon that's just as versatile and slightly more fuel efficient? Look no further the Toyota Matrix may just push some of the right buttons.
Performance: There are two engines available for the Matrix. A 1.8 liter four-cylinder with 132hp, and a 2.4 liter four-cylinder with 158hp. Both engines provide swift acceleration, but the 2.4 liter engine provides more punch at highway speeds. There really isn't much of a price difference between the two engines. The top of the range model gets all-wheel-drive.
Ride & Handling: Ride comfort is excellent for a small wagon. The suspension soaks up bumps really well. Some bumps may upset the ride. Handling isn't inspiring, and doesn't urge you to push the Matrix to its limit. There's bodyroll but not a lot. You may want to look at the sporty trim for a sports suspension.
Refinement: Toyota's reputation for quality doesn't come short of the Matrix. Road and wind noise is well supressed. The engine can be heard when revved hard, but its far from annoying. Around town the Matrix is nippy and easy to manuever. At highway speeds, the Matrix is quiet and refined. However, there's very little feel from the steering wheel. This is a let down because the Matrix looks sportier than its Corolla counterpart.
Behind the wheel: The dashboard has a nonsense free layout. Everything is within reach of the driver's seat. The materials used look and feel high quality. However, the interior looks a bit dull compared to some rivals.
Space & Practicality: The interior is roomy for five passengers. The floor in the rear seat is flat. This gives more space for three people. There's plenty of head and leg room in the back. The boot space is somewhat disppointing compared to rivals. The rear seats fold flat creating a cargo van like roominess.
Equipment: Each Matrix comes well equipped. Air-conditioning, power windows and central locking all come standard. There's an MP3 compatible stereo, with top of the line trims adding upgraded stereo system.
Buying and Owning: The Matrix is priced reasonably with other small wagons. There's not much of a price difference between the base and top of the line trim. Most buyers will pick the base trim, its priced reasonably and comes with enough kit to satisfy most buyers. Running costs should be low, and resale value will be average.
Quality & Reliability: Toyota's reputation has been soiled by the recall. However, the Matrix has always gotten high remarks by its owners. Build quality is excellent, and the mechanicals have been proven to be trouble free.
Safety & Security: Each Matrix comes with deadlocks, and other anti-theft systems to guard out theft. There's ESP and ABS standard across the range. There's also side curtian airbags and day time running lamps to add to safety.
Likes: Excellent fit and finish, very fuel efficient, loaded with value for the money.
Dislikes: Dull driving experience, play it safe styling inside out.
The Matrix is a dependable and reliable vehicle that offers extra cargo space and versatility. The legendary build quality of Toyota and fuel efficient engines are also some of the benefits. However, the driving experience is rather dull and styling inside out is bland. If you can overlook these few little faults the Matrix is a great car to own.