The 2004 Toyota Matrix is considered a crossover utility vehicle with the functionality of an SUV, the image and performance of a sports car, and the price of a subcompact sedan. Sounds like quite a bargain and, for the most part, it delivers. Released for the first time last year, it remains unchanged. There are three trim levels to choose from: the base, XR, and XRS. The base and XR have optional all-wheel drive, while the XRS has front drive only. The XRS also has an extra 50 horsepower and a six-speed manual transmission.
Body Style: hatchback
Engine: 1.8-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual, six-speed manual
Models: Toyota Matrix, Toyota Matrix XR, Toyota Matrix XRS
The 2004 Toyota Matrix was introduced for the first time in 2003, so there are no new changes. The only difference is the availability of new optional packages. The Power package features remote keyless entry and power windows and locks. The Extra Value package (XR model only) delivers underbody spoilers, foglamps, alloy wheels, and a moonroof.
The 2004 Toyota Matrix is built on a similar platform as Toyota’s Corolla, although it resembles a wagon more than a sedan. It has sharp surfaces creases, although it appears more contoured due to the edge-web body panels. Its 16-inch steel wheels and all-season tires are standard. A temporary spare is mounted inside. All cars have full wheel covers and a rear spoiler. The XR and XRS models have optional 17-inch wheels. Alloy wheels are optional on the base and XR, but are standard on the XRS. The XRS also gets foglights, a front spoiler, and a rear underbody spoiler. Dimensions are 69.9 inches wide, 60.6 inches high, and 171.3 long with a 102.4-inch wheelbase.
The 2004 Toyota Matrix seats five. The front features cloth-covered bucket seats. Standard features include remote trunk release, power steering with a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, a 12-volt front power outlet, air-conditioning with air filtration, and dual vanity mirrors. The dashboard features a clock, tachometer, external temperature display, and low fuel level warning. Other features include a cargo net, a cargo cover, a rear window defroster, and an AM/FM stereo with CD player and four speakers. Optional features include an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a compass, and a navigation system (XRS model only). The XR and XRS models upgrade with a keyless entry, a sport steering wheel, seat-height adjuster, and power windows, locks, and mirrors. Storage in the Matrix includes a front console with storage, front cup holders, front door pockets, and front seatback storage. Cargo capacity in the Matrix starts at 21.8 cubic feet with the seats in place. When the split-folding rear seatback is down, that space grows to 53.2 cubic feet. The cargo area features a sliding track that allows for different storage configurations.
Performance & Handling
There is only one engine available for the 2004 Toyota Matrix: a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that has 130 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque. Drivers choosing the all-wheel-drive option go down to 123 horsepower and 118 lb-ft of torque. The base and XR models come with either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission. The XRS model moves up to 173 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque and uses a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission. It has MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension. It is quiet while cruising but noisy when accelerating. In the base model, the engine is not powerful enough when using the automatic transmission. It has good stability and good steering, but is nothing exceptional in that regard.
The 2004 Toyota Matrix comes standard with ventilated front disc/rear drum brakes, child seat anchors, rear door child safety locks, daytime running lights, front seat belt pretensioners, and two front and two rear height-adjustable headrests. ABS is standard in the XRS and optional in the other front drive models. Side impact airbags, an engine immobilizer, and a security system are optional on all models. A panic alarm is standard on the XR and XRS, and optional on the base model. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded it a perfect five-star rating for passenger and driver safety and for front side impact. It awarded it four stars for rear side impact crashes and rollovers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did not test.
EPA Fuel Economy
Toyota Matrix five-speed manual: 25/33 mpg city/highway
Toyota Matrix four-speed automatic: 25/30 mpg city/highway
Toyota Matrix all-wheel drive four-speed automatic: 22/29 mpg city/highway
Toyota Matrix six-speed manual: 22/29 mpg city/highway
- Versatile cargo area
- Good gas mileage
- Plenty of standard equipment
- All-wheel drive option
You Won't Like
- Not enough torque
- Ho-hum driving experience
Versatility and affordability in a stylish package.
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