Toyota Matrix

Toyota needed a smart-looking compact car that was cheap for the young buyer yet still had some sort of cool appeal. The Matrix was introduced to fill this void in the Toyota line.

The first generation Matrix debuted in 2003 in two trim models. A second generation was released in 2009 and was still being produced in 2012.

More on the Toyota Matrix
About the Toyota Matrix

The Toyota Matrix is known for its small size and economy. It is definitely a starter vehicle for young buyers, offering reliability within a budget. The engine of the Matrix is fairly small but tends to have good acceleration. Unfortunately, the torque does not provide a lot of pulling power. You can feel the Matrix struggle on hills.

Inside the vehicle, the materials are fairly cheap but strong. The dash and the trim are mainly plastic, meaning it is easy to clean and care for. The Matrix offers above average trim quality in comparison to other cars within its class.

Toyota Matrix Features

The 2012 Toyota Matrix is available in two different trim levels: the base model L and the top level S.

The L trim model is available with a 1.8-liter, 16-valve with dual variable valve timing. The engine produces 132 horsepower at 6200 rpm. The L line comes with one of two transmission types: either a four-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission or a five-speed manual transmission.

The S trim line comes with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower. It is available with a five-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission. The S line is also available with all-wheel drive with the four-speed automatic transmission.

The Matrix gets fairly good fuel economy. The L line automatic gets 25/32 mpg city/highway and the manual gets 26/32 mpg city/highway. The S line 5-speed automatic gets 21/29 mpg city/highway, the manual gets 21/28 city/highway, and the all-wheel drive gets 20/26 mpg city/highway.

As economy cars go, the Matrix has all the exterior refineries you would expect. Multi-reflector halogen headlamps come standard. Surprisingly, integrated fog lamps are included standard on all S models and are available as a package option on the L trim line.

Color-keyed side rocker panels, handles, and outside mirrors are included as standard on all models. Front and rear color-keyed underbody spoilers are available as a package option on all the models.

The interior of the vehicle has standard air conditioning on all models. Entertainment includes a standard AM/FM CD player with four speakers on the L line and six speakers on the S. Sirius Satellite radio and iPod integration is available as a package option on the S models.

Regular fabric is included on the front and passenger seats on the L line. The fabric is upgraded to a cloth seat with sport trim. Both the S and the L line have a six-way adjustable driver’s seat and a four-way adjustable passenger seat. Keyless entry is now standard on the 2012 Matrix, a luxury accessory for an economy vehicle.

The base model L feels a bit pokey when driven due to the 1.8-liter engine. It accelerates fine but struggles during uphill rides. The high-grade 2.4-liter engine is worth the extra cost. Steering on the Matrix is somewhat tough and unrewarding. A bonus is the 60/40 seat that provides lots of extra storage space. The back seat is large and comfortable for the family as well. The control console inside the vehicle is laid out in a nearly perfect setup, something you wouldn’t expect from such a cheap vehicle. The L line starts at $18,845 while the S starts at $19,565.

Toyota Matrix Evolution

The first generation Toyota Matrix models were introduced in the 2003 model year. It was offered in three different trim lines including the base model, an XR trim line, and the XRS trim line. Both the base and the XR line came with a 1.8-liter engine that produced 130 horsepower. It was available in a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic version. The XRS has a 1.8-liter, 180-horsepower engine that tended to struggle a bit in acceleration. Manual versions of this vehicle tended to perform better than the automatic version due to greater control.

The second generation Matrix models were introduced in 2009. Stability control was introduced in the first year XRS models and was available as an option on lower trim lines. In 2010, stability control was standard on all models. A year later, the XRS sports model was dropped completely, and the S and L became the only two trim lines available.

Select a Toyota Matrix Year

2013 Toyota Matrix

Compact, Wagon

The 2013 Toyota Matrix is a compact vehicle that bridges the hatchback with the price-point of a sedan.

2012 Toyota Matrix

Compact, Wagon

With the last major update back in 2009, the 2012 Toyota Matrix enters the new model year virtually unchanged.

2011 Toyota Matrix

Compact, Wagon

The 2011 Toyota Matrix represents one of the first cars on the market to avoid a definitive category.

2010 Toyota Matrix

Compact, Wagon

Following the introduction of the new-generation Matrix for 2009, not much changed for 2010 Toyota Matrix. The biggest news was that all trim levels of the Matrix received stability control and traction control as standard equipment. Otherwise, the same engines and trim levels return: 132-horsepower, 1.8-liter four with a manual or automatic, or 158-horsepower, 2.4-liter four with a choice of three transmissions.

2009 Toyota Matrix

Compact, Wagon

2008 Toyota Matrix

Compact, Wagon

The 2008 Toyota Matrix is a compact wagon that’s ideal for young families and recent college graduates.

2007 Toyota Matrix

Compact, Wagon

The Toyota Matrix debuted in 2003 as a compact wagon.

2006 Toyota Matrix

Compact, Wagon

The 2006 Toyota Matrix is based off the Corolla platform and strives to offer the utmost in interior flexibility and functionality.

2005 Toyota Matrix

Compact, Wagon

The 2005 Toyota Matrix quickly earns a reputation as one of the best compact wagons on the market.

2004 Toyota Matrix

Compact, Wagon

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.

2003 Toyota Matrix

Compact, Wagon

The 2003 Toyota Matrix is a compact four-door hatchback in production from 2002 to the present, starting with the 2003 model year.