Sharing its platform and mechanicals with Toyota's extremely popular Corolla, the Matrix offers consumers a small, compact wagon for those who need more cargo carrying capacity than the sedan provides.
Trims for the Matrix, are Base, S, and XRS. We drove the "S" trim of a vehicle that was originally targeted at the youth market, but that has gained a broader acceptance with buyers who appreciate its combination of size, economy and utility.
Featuring sculpted body lines that flow rearward from a front end treatment that includes multi-reflector halogen headlamps on all trim levels, the "S" and "XRS" versions also include integral fog lights, color-keyed front and rear underbody spoilers and a roof end spoiler mounted on the rear lift gate. Our test Matrix "S" also came with 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in low profile 50-series performance tires.
The base engine for the Matrix is a 1.8-liter inline-4 that puts out 132 horsepower and 128 pound feet of torque. S and XRS models come equipped with a 2.4-liter inline-4, generating 158 horsepower and 162 pound feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels or available all wheel drive through either a 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic, or 5-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel economy for the Matrix ranges from 20 miles per gallon city, to 32 miles per gallon highway, depending on engine choice.
The interior includes a tilt and telescoping multi-function steering wheel, standard in-dash AM/FM CD player that is MP3 and Satellite radio compatible and a full complement of airbags. The split/fold 60/40 rear seats give way to up to 60.9 cubic feet of cargo space.
Standard safety equipment includes 4-wheel antilock disc brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake-Assist technology. "S" and "XRS" models can also be equipped with four-wheel independent suspension including Vehicle Stability and Traction Control.
Base MSRP for the 2010 Toyota Matrix is $16,550. A fully loaded XRS model will top out at around $25,000. The Matrix is backed by 5-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The reliable and fuel-efficient mechanicals of the venerable Corolla and the versatility of a wagon make the Matrix a frontrunner among sporty compact hatchbacks.