Toyota Matrix Handling & Suspension Questions

jcnaderjcnader Member Posts: 3
edited May 2014 in Toyota
I'm new to the Toyota experience and hope to get some comments on a concern. Before discussing the only negative reaction I have (after 2500 mi.) I'll say that the mileage is good, 31-33 MPG with auto trans. and I like the functionality of the vehicle. My concern is handling at highway speeds, 65-70 MPH. The vehicle "floats" slightly from side to side requiring constant steering correction. It's almost like the toe adjustment is too neutral. I didn't expect this drivability problem because Toyota has very high quality marks and the XR I purchased has the optional P215/50R17 90H M&S Bridgestone Potenza tires on nice alloy rims. I assumed it would track great and have excellent feel at highway speeds with these low profile tires. Anyone else having a similar problem with their Matrix XR?


  • midnite2midnite2 Member Posts: 6
    I'm new to Toyota too. Only have 8,000 miles and bought '04XR new Jan'04. I have p205/55r16 and find it very disconcerting to have to pay so much attention to staying in the center of the lane on the freeways ("floats" covers it). I find the tires don't hold air for long either.
    My major complaint, however, is that I barely get 20 mpg in town, 24-26 mixed and hi 20's to 30 only on 3 frwy trips. I chart every fill-up.
    Toyota says that's OK and I'm stuck with it. "Factory techs" come to the dealership, hook it up to the computer, sip on their Starbuck's and wait for the computer printout that states "no problem here". I loved my '88 Accord hatchback and will hurry back to Honda ASAP. Quality & good Customer Service were promised but never delivered by Toyota. I think I got a lemon!
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Member Posts: 470
    Maybe all of the problems can be attributed to bad tires? Tires should not lose any significant amount of air. (Pressure will change with temperature, though.) Underinflated tires will cause lower fuel efficiency. Unevenly inflated tires can make it more difficult to drive in a straight line.
  • gasman1gasman1 Member Posts: 321
    You're right on the money! Tires are so important, but so often manufacturers place the cheapest tires on new vehicles. Tires should NOT lose tire pressure!

    Take your XR to the tire shop and ask them why the tires continue to lose pressure. I'm a firm believer in changing out the OEM tires ASAP.

    My XR 4WD has Michelin HydroEdge tires. I don't recommend this tire due to the noise. However, my Highlander has Goodyear Triple Tread tires. Easily, the best tire I've ever owned. I may have Triple Treads on the Matrix before winter.

    Either way - Check tire pressure at least once a month (more often in spring/fall as outside temps rise and fall). Tire pressure will fluctuate with outside air temps. It's 1-psi for each 10-degree change.
  • spinner31spinner31 Member Posts: 2
    I am new to Toyotas and to the Matrix. I recently purchased a 2005 Matrix with 27,000 miles. The handling on side roads seems rough. The car jars and seems to take in every bump. It's a pretty rough ride overall. The tires are new Goodyear Triple Treds. Is the bumpy handling a characteristic of the Matrix? Or the tires? Other suggestions? Thanks.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    What car are you coming out of? Sometimes observations on the quality of the ride are directly related to the last car you owned if you have recently traded. This car is no Buick, nor is it a large or heavy vehicle relatively speaking. Heavy vehicles often end up having a more settled ride (and worse handling and fuel economy) because of their weight. The Matrix is designed to be "sporty", a compromise between ride quality and cornering ability, which it strikes pretty well for my tastes, but everyone's tastes will vary.

    It's funny, I was just reading the posts above that occured ages ago. The guy saying his mpg was real low has driven only 8000 miles in 2-1/4 years. That's so little driving it's no wonder his mpg stinks.

    And tires do go down a bit in the normal course of things. Generally, you might lose 1 pound a month or a bit more just from driving around. That's part of the reason why it's a good idea to check them at least once a month. I think the manual recommends it at every fill-up, a rigorous schedule I am guilty of not following to the letter. :blush:

    As for not tracking straight on the highway, I have not had a problem, but also it is sometimes the case that a certain brand of tire will follow the grooves in the pavement more than others. That applies on concrete, not asphalt, of course.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • spinner31spinner31 Member Posts: 2
    I've had a 91 Honda Civic hatchback so I'm used to small cars.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    Oh, well as someone who has had several of the older Civic hatches and loved them all, I will say the Matrix is significantly more stiff-legged than those models in stock form.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • nagatahawknagatahawk Member Posts: 12
    I have an '05 XRS and it rides a little stiff, because of the low profile 17" yokohamas.
    but I like my cars stiff. the rear end feels a little light and starts to slide on hard turns.
  • jonlemke1jonlemke1 Member Posts: 2
    I am also a 2005 matrix owner with the same complaint. I should have test drove the car more. It is really bad when driving highways with significant road ruts. My opinion is that this condition is a combination of the wide low profile very hard tires, short stiff travel in the suspension, and steering components that were designed to promote tight handling. The wide low profile tires do not have any ability to flex side to side to absorb road anomalies like traditional higher profile tires. Lacking this they tend to ride along one side of the tire when the road is not pristine. This uneven pressure gets transmitted via the steering components, and is felt as a pull in the steering wheel. In road ruts this is really bad as the front and back tires can start an oscillation of riding up and down the ruts which puts the vehicle in an uncomfortable sideways condition requiring plenty of steering input. This whole problem began when someone in design thought the low profile wide tires looked cool. They do offer some high performance corning capability, larger break components, and possibly a bit better gas mileage, but that costs you in the ride. Not to mention they cost nearly twice as much as traditional tires. I also have a 22 year old Camry with conventional tires that rides much better on the same highways.
  • Sportsmama457Sportsmama457 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 Matrix that I bought used 3 years ago. This winter, when driving on unplowed or poorly plowed snowy roads, the back end of the car feels like it is weaving back and forth. This can be felt by everyone in the car, not just the driver. I keep expecting the car to do a 360. I just replaced the rear tires. Any ideas?
  • rfin16rfin16 Member Posts: 2
    Has anyone had experience in switching from the low profile to more conventional tires? Does this decrease the roughness or stiffness of the ride? We have just acquired a used 2004 and find that with the low profile tires it is much more sensitive to rough roads (common in our area) compared to our 1998 tercel with small conventional tires.

    Thanks for letting me know.
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