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2013 Toyota Matrix Review
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 2013 Toyota Matrix is a compact vehicle that bridges the hatchback with the price-point of a sedan. Largely based on the Toyota Corolla, the Matrix is essentially traces its history back to 2003. The 2013 Toyota Matrix is a continuation of the second-generation chassis design to bear the name, which launched in 2008. With room for up to five people and ample cargo, the Matrix can be purchased in either of two trim levels: the base and the S trim. The Matrix designers clearly placed an emphasis on efficiency rather than performance, but that may be expected for a vehicle in this price range and with its intended audience. There are successes in the design of the 2013 Toyota Matrix, notably the fuel efficiency, high cargo space, and nice stereo for its class.
The Matrix lineup famously became the subject of a recall related to reported acceleration sticking leading the car to pose an accident hazard, leading to lagging sales. Low sales and the discontinuation of the Pontiac Vibe, with which the Matrix shares its chassis, have led industry insiders to project the end the road for the Toyota Matrix. The 2013 Toyota Matrix is ideal for drivers wanting a versatile gas-sipping crossover that defies the miniaturized-SUV styling of many in its class. The Matrix does offer an alternative for those who simply have to have something different, but ultimately finds it outclassed (and outsold) by competitors like Kia and Suzuki. In any case, the 2013 Toyota Matrix offers more inside the cabin than outside, and even less under the hood. The relatively spacious interior and nice stereo will attract some, but most comparison shoppers will walk on by the seemingly ill-fated Toyota Matrix.
New For 2013
For 2013, the Toyota Matrix receives only minor updates in-cabin, including:
- Upgraded sound systems in the base and the S trim levels
The 2013 Toyota Matrix carries over all the visual traits of the prior year. Much like the designers neglect of performance in the mechanical design, the Matrix also appears more functional than stylish. The short vehicle seems tall with an arching room that is no doubt designed to allow maximum headroom inside. 16-inch wheels are standard on the 2013 Toyota Matrix and tires are all weather rated. An inside-mounted spare tire, full wheel covers, and cargo tie-downs are also included in all configurations of the Matrix.
Interior & Cargo
Inside the cabin, drivers of the 2013 Toyota Matrix will find nice amenities like JBL sound and optional satellite radio. Cloth seating is included, as are remote power door locks, power windows, and heated mirrors. Cruise control, tilt and telescoping steering, and steering wheel-mounted audio controls are all included in the 2013 Matrix. In car entertainment includes AM/FM/CD support, Sirius XM satellite radio support, auxiliary input, iPod input, and USB connectivity. Bluetooth is available for phone interface. The 2013 Toyota Matrix offers sport seats in the front, and three-person rear bench seating. The 60/40 split backseat can be folded down for added cargo stowing capacity. The front passenger seat can be folded down on the S trim level version only. Maximum interior cargo space tops out at just under 50-cubic feet with seats folded. This allows for ample room for cargo.
In response to safety recalls, the 2013 Toyota Matrix is outfitted with an electronic braking mitigation system designed to help stop the vehicle even under acceleration. Other safety considerations built into the design of the 2013 Toyota Matrix include four-wheel anti-lock brakes, front and rear head airbags, dual front side-mounted airbags, emergency braking assist, electronic brake force distribution, tire pressure monitoring, stability control, and traction control.
The 2013 Toyota Matrix carries over the 1.8-liter, four-cylinder outputting 132-horsepower in the L model. The 2013 Toyota Matrix S features a 169-horsepower, 2.5-liter engine. The engines are paired with either a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic transmission. The Matrix L is available exclusively with front-wheel drive, while the Matrix S offers all-wheel drive (AWD). The AWD of the Matrix S is not intended for off-road driving. It is made for driving on icy roads and other similarly demanding situations.
Fuel economy is perhaps the strength of the 2013 Toyota Matrix, which offers 26/32 mpg city/highway. These figures make the Matrix one of the most efficient contenders in its class. Unfortunately, competition from Kia in the form of the Soul and even the related Scion xB give shoppers strong choices over the Matrix. Costing more than either, the Toyota Matrix is quickly outclassed and outpaced by these contenders offering more space for the money. The best hope for Toyota is to over-haul the niche occupied by the Matrix in the 2014 model year, and come up with a new name to distance the design from the recalls still recent in consumer memory.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Toyota Matrix
- Kia Soul
- Suzuki SX4
- Scion xB