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Toyota Matrix



  • I just bought a 2006 Matrix with no factory rack. My Corolla wagon had a factory rack and I bought a Thule rack to attach to it. I want to carry a cartop aluminum boat and maybe lumber and ladders occasionally. Anyone have any comments on racks that would work? It would not be used frequently, so I prefer something cheaper than Thule or Yakima. Maybe a good quality removable rack?
  • I'm wondering about the reliability of the '03 Matrixses.

    I have an automatic XS, and the computer just went out. So of course I had to have it towed to the dealer and they told me the water pump was going out and there was a leak in the oil pan....

    Now, I don't know why the oil pan would leak, and this is the second water pump to go out...

    So I'm wondering, is this unusual? Has anyone had any problems with their '03 similar to this?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Well, a lot of the '02s are more than 6-1/2 years old now, so they could have a lot of miles. How many miles do you have on yours?

    And if you always go to the same place for service, you may want to get a second opinion just to be sure you are not getting cheated. 3 water pumps (including the original) in anything less than about 250,000 miles seems excessive. Some dealerships have the attitude that any time they crack the engine cover for anything they might as well replace the water pump "while they are in there". Needless to say, this is an attitude that costs you a lot of money unnecessarily.

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

  • Oh duh, It's not an '03 it's an '06. Our Corolla is the '03... sorry.

    Anyhow this machine has 48,500 miles on it. The computer went out many many miles from the home dealership so this in effect is a second opinion on the water pump (kind of). Both have been replaced under warranty. Also when I picked it up the mechanic had noted that there was "a noise" coming from the air intake valve. That also seems quite odd.
  • I have had an 07 XR and currently have an 09 S Matrix, I have 3 dogs: a border collie/chow mix (about 35 pounds) and 2 chihuahuas ( 7 and 10 pounds). With the back seats up, there is more than enough room for them to all hang out in the back very comfortably.

    When I was first looking at getting the Matrix, I compared it against other cars it's size: Golf, Mazda3, Fit, and XB.

    The Matrix, by far, had the most front leg room, rear leg room, and cargo space (with the seats up) AND it felt safer and sturdier to me than any of the other cars.

    Inside the Matrix is much roomier than you would expect.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Did you trade the '07 for the '09? Does anything, either good or bad, stand out to you as different between the two models?

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

  • I know this is an old thread, but my 2005 XRS gets 42mpg. Bear in mind that those are imperial gallons, at about 4.5 liters. Ok, they are highway miles, with a six speed and 32 psi. My average speed is about 118 kph; just over 60mph. I use all synthetic, and super, and avoid exxon, as I have boycotted them for years after I heard that they had the dirtiest gas of the major distributors. A US gallon is .83 of an imperial gallon; therefor my mileage with US gallons would be 34.86 miles to the gallon. I like a clean air intake filter as well as using the cruise control. The high revs took a while to get used to, but she likes it. I love this car. At a 100kph/60mph the revs sit at 2800.
  • Hi All,
    I am thinking of getting a 2004 Matrix XRS manual with 55k miles. It is a great deal and I am buying it from a reputable repair shop. They claim it is in great shape and has many more miles in it. For comparison, I am currently driving a 1996 Civic I bought new. 55K too many miles to be purchasing a Matrix with? Any persistant issues I should be aware of with this make/model/year?

    Thanks so much in advance....
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    The XRS is the trim that has the powertrain in it from the old Celica GT-S. Some owners have reported less-than-ideal clutch life from that model (clutches needing replacement in the 50-75K miles range, some even earlier).

    If you are buying the automatic, you should be aware that it is DOG slow with the 4-speed - the shift logic never lets the engine get far into the powerband (above 6200 rpm) before it shifts up.

    One or two owners with the Celica GT-S have reported premature oil burning, but with a model like this you are always going to have a few that raced their cars instead of breaking the engine in appropriately and so the rings didn't seat, resulting in excess oil consumption later in the car's life.

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

  • vennvenn Posts: 2
    In comparing the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix 2009 AWD's, I see they have almost the same dimensions except for the Maximum Cargo Capacity (under the "Specs" pages). According to the Toyota website: and it's 48.9 cu. ft., but according to Edmunds it's 62 cu. ft. (61.5 cu ft. per How can there be such a big gap between these numbers? What is the correct number? I think it must be the 48.9 since the 2 cars are basically twins and the Vibe has a capacity of 49.4 cu. ft. I just wanted to check if anybody knew. Thanks.
  • I noticed a few folks here have "upgraded" from the original Matrix to the redesigned 09 vehicle. I own an 08 and like most of the car -- except the harsh highway noise, and harsh ride on bumpy roads (which comes w/ the territory in a small car).
    I'm curious if anyone who's made this switch has noticed a dramatic improvement in terms of cabin noise. when I testdrove the 09 it seemed about the same to me.

    thanks in advance for any insights!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    The trick with cargo space is always in how you measure it, which is why two sources can vary so widely. I agree with you it is probably the lower number since the Vibe is basically its twin. The thing to do is go check the car out and bring some big stuff with you that is similar in size to the biggest loads you anticipate having to carry. Then, see if it fits.

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

  • scotty42scotty42 Posts: 2
    Hello I have never used this type of forum before so I hope I am doing this right. I have a toyota matrix 03 I had the brakes replaced about 2years ago. Last night both front brakes failed to both fully disingauge. Both brakes when I got home were glowing red hot, back brakes seemed fine. any thought to what this could be? :lemon:
  • A failed brake caliper can cause the brakes to not properly disengage but it sounds unusual for both to do this at the same time. I would start by removing the calipers and inspecting them along with checking the fluid level in the master cylinder. Also, look over all brake lines and check for leakage.
  • scotty42scotty42 Posts: 2
    Thanks for your advice nick, I will have the car up on blocks tomorrow night I will let you know what I find.
  • I am currently looking to buy a used Toyota Matrix, like a couple years old (06', 07').

    I am torn between getting 5-speed manual transmission or an Automatic Transmission. I have read about the 5-speed manual's having transmission problems on one of the forums. Is this just in the 03' & 04' models? Is getting a Matrix a good thing? I need advice!

    Thank you
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Having had both, I have to say you really need the manual to wring all the power out of the engine in the pre-'09s. The automatic is dog-slow.

    I believe the manual transmission problem only extended through the '03 and '04 model years.

    As far as is a Matrix a good thing, I can only say "good" will vary widely from person to person, right?

    For me it was the best balance available at the time (bought mine 1/07) of utility, price, fuel economy, and reliability. It's also fairly peppy and moderately fun to drive. Its pretty strong in the areas I just mentioned. Four adults can travel in full comfort in this car, the back seat is surprisingly large. The stuff you can fit in it is voluminous with the back seat down.

    Edit...I saw your larger post on the "pre-purchase research" board, and let me add that the Matrix is a great car for camping, for yourself or a couple, plenty of space to put your stuff in back.

    And no Toyota built today is the equal of your 1990 Camry, but I do think you will get 150K miles out of it without much trouble. Good luck! :-)

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

  • Thank you very much for the advice. I really appreciate it. I am going for a manual tranny.

    I'm having a hard time finding and Xr with manual tranny and a sunroof. The search continues.

    I am also accepting the fact that no car will be my Camry or my husband's 1995 Toyota Pickup that has 215,000 miles on it and still going strong (I've tried to kill this pickup and it won't die).

    Again, thank you for your advice!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    If you're in the Bay Area, my local dealer in Novato has one. It's an '05, which I know is slightly older than you are looking for, but it IS an XR with a stick and moonroof. It has 44K miles.

    They also have an '06 XRS (with the Celica GTS engine) with a 6-speed and 27K miles that I am halfway thinking of picking up. I always liked the much tighter handling of the XRS, but by the time I got around to buying (2007) they had dropped the XRS trim.

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

  • lapierbblapierbb Posts: 1
    I am just curious if anyone knows how much tires cost for the Matrix. We are getting out of a 2000 Grand Am where we only had one real choice for tires and they were way to expensive. We do not want to make that mistake again. I will appreciate any help that I can get on this subject. Thanks!!
  • doyondoyon Posts: 1
    venn: when I was shopping for my 2009 Matrix, I found that the XRS and perhaps the S models had front seats folded flat. The standard model's front seat did not. All the Matrixes regardless of model had a sticker (not the one listing features and price) touting the 60 cu. ft of storage. In short, if your front seat folds flat and you want to count that area, 60 cf otherwise 49 cf.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    It's funny, because my Matrix has that feature too, and in 2-1/2 years I have never once had occasion to use it. I wonder if I ever will.

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

  • val61sfval61sf Posts: 8
    When folks mention how slow (DOG slow) ...the automatic pre-2009 Matrix is, I'm curious... would someone going from an Echo notice any difference? I can't imagine that the Matrix would be slower but thought it worth asking... My Echo does get me around really good takes a bit to get up to speed but once I'm there, I do tend to fly down the road. I've been considering making the change for the past 3 years or so but the Echo keeps chugging along and I've been reluctant to take on a car note plus the extra funds needed for a car that won't get as good a gas milieage as my Echo. Style wise, i really prefer the Matrix to getting the Prius even with it's better gas mileage...
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Yes, you will notice a difference going from an Echo to an automatic 1.8L Matrix. I also own both cars. Both are engines with a lot of room on the tach to wind-up, to good effect if you do so, and the automatic in the Matrix won't allow you to wind it up before upshifting, even if you have it floored.

    And with the substantial amount of extra weight the Matrix has vs the Echo, passing on the highway is particularly bad. I don't really consider myself a speed demon, but I would never have a Matrix with the automatic and the 1.8 - it was the reason I sold the one I DID have back in 2002 and 2003. For me, the 5-speed is a must.

    Of course, you can now get the Matrix with the Camry 2.4, and with THAT engine it is probably a lot less important if you have a manual or an automatic.

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

  • glitch1glitch1 Posts: 26
    Locally, there is dealer certified '09 Matrix S that was previously company leased. It has a moonroof (can't remember if there is any other significant options on it). It only has just shy of 4000 miles on it, and was never in an accident or had any repair on it.

    It's going for $16K (and may be able to negotiate a bit). It also has an upgraded powertrain warranty (7 year total, 6 year remaining), and the standard 3-year bumper to bumper (with 2 years remaining). Also a 3-month comprehensive warranty from the day I buy it. I test drove it and it looks and feels good.

    It was company leased for a total of 9 months and was probably one of the first '09 vehicles to come out since it was purchased/leased mid-June of '08.

    I was planning to take my time on a car purchase, but this looks like a good enough deal that I feel I should spring for it! Anyone have any thoughts on whether this is a good deal? Thanks!
  • jeremydrjeremydr Posts: 1
    1500 pounds... does that apply to the 04' XR 4wd model?
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    I guess this depends on which model and tire size you have as well as how much you want to spend on tires. My '03 XR 2WD came with Continental tires which were completely worn out on the front in 16K miles. I made the mistake of buying the same tire as a replacement and got the same life again. No, I don't drive it like a race car; in fact, most of the miles are put on by my wife. The Continentals aren't cheap so I then bought a pair of Avon tires which did a little better; approx. 22K miles. I now have a pair of Hankook tires on it which appear to be wearing better than the others. And they were the cheapest so far. For this model, there are a number of choices so the price you pay is what you want to pay..

    But I'm still ticked off at all the rest of the owners out there getting 30-35 mpg. We bought this car to get that kind of mileage but the best we ever got was about 28 mpg on a 150 mile highway trip.. And yes, I took it back to the dealer when a year old and they claimed it was delivering 31 mpg... BS...!! Until a year ago I had a Mercedes E class V6 that was giving me better mileage...!!! I won't buy another one of these even though it's been reliable.. Not at today's gas prices..
  • laserbluelaserblue Posts: 313
    Can't decide between the 1.8L and the 2.4L engines.
    Is there a big difference in performance?
    Is the 26 h/p difference between both engines really matters?
    There's a big difference in the price between "base Matrix" and "Matrix XR".
    I was thinking of a "Base Matrix" with the "Touring Package" looks well equipped but only with that 1.8L engine.
  • I have a 2006 4wd with 1.8 engine. The biggest trouble is that it doesn't accelerate that well. It's not hp, but the torque that does that.

    So, you'll be able to accelerate 0-60 a second faster or something. A second is a lot in an emergency situation, but otherwise, you'll just have worse mileage...
  • q_ballq_ball Posts: 2
    I changed the converter on my 2003 matrix and I am still getting a code for low threshold. How can I solve this problem?

    Code is p0420
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