Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Toyota Matrix



  • deg856deg856 Posts: 120
    1. Take off: a little worse than expected. It felt sluggish, and the engine note was louder and sounded more strained than expected. I thoguht it would be more refined from a Toyota.

    2. Once it got rolling: Went up to about 75 mph ( just over 3000 rpm in top gear) and it sounded and felt fine.

    3. Handling and ride: Not too soft, about expected.

    4. Gauges and dash - Beautiful gauges, and overall it looks up-scale. Numbers and LCD display in the gauges are now a cool white color - I like it better than the orange before. The speedometer now maxes out at 120 mph, which is easier to read than the useless 140 mph max marking before.

    5. Seats and passenger space - high seating position feels good, and plenty of passenger space front and back for four six-footers. I really like the hard-wearing looking seat fabric.

    I've been cross shopping between Matrix and CR-V. I'm heavily leaning toward the Matrix because of its better looking interior and better ride and handling.

    San Jose, CA
  • Just returned from the Canadian Intl Autoshow and they had a 2005 "Prototype" Matrix XR on display with a few changes compared to the 03-04. The grill is slightly different, the honeycomb look is broken up by a solid line in the middle (don't like it), the fog/driving lights are now closer to the edges of the newly designed front bumper (similar to the Vibes) as opposed to the current design where they are closer to the middle. The taillights have a clear look to them as opposed to the current red look. Inside cloth looks like it has changed slightly, but the car was locked and I could not touch it. The radio was different with the buttons more flush to the radio face, and it had 'Toyota' stamped on the top, unlike the GM sourced radio that did not have a name on it. Very subtle changes overall, and they are available in Canada this spring according to the posted sign.
  • tommyg12tommyg12 Posts: 158
    You will not be disappointed. Actually, and maybe others will agree, after about 1,200 miles my Matrix seems smoother in ways. The engine feels like it revs better and I swear the car drives and rides better than when it had .8 miles on it. Good luck in your search.
  • I'm shopping around for a Matrix, used edmunds, know exactly what I want, and received a few quotes from dealers. I have a loan approved but didn't consider buying the extended warranty.

    Bottomline is do I need it?
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    I didn't feel I needed it, but then I don't usually keep cars for very long so...

    Anyway, the only car I've every used an extended warranty for was a 97 Sable. That warranty paid for itself a couple of times over before I finally dumped the car for an import.
  • tommyg12tommyg12 Posts: 158
    The only time I have ever bought them has been WHEN the car is almost out of warranty (and I'm planning to keep it). I don' see the reason to buy an extended warranty until the original warranty is almost up (unless you really need the cost of the warranty rolled in with the payment). You can shop around and haggle the prices of warranties. I would recommend sticking with a factory Toyota warranty. Also, when buying a warranty several miles/years later, the dealer selling you the warranty will inspect the car and probably require inspection of your maintenance records.
  • deg856deg856 Posts: 120
    Just got my silver XR yesterday. This car is not handsome, but it’s very distinctive and very interesting to look at. Overall it looks like the characters in Jimmy Neutron – a very big head on a very small body. The unusual shape makes it hard to judge its size by association. By itself it looks like a small car about the size of a Gulf. Park it next to an Accord or even a Sienna for comparison, you suddenly realize it’s actually pretty big. Move it away from other cars and it looks small again.

    The “Optitron” gauges look beautiful. I love the way the needles glow red for about a second before the dials are lit. The controls and ride are so buttery smooth and quiet, like a Sienna (this really surprised me for what’s basically an economy car), except much nimbler. The 6-disc changer stereo looks much better than the base unit. While the base unit (single disc stereo) has a muddy orange display with big numbers that look out of focus (and cheap), the display on the 6-disc changer is red, smaller, and sharply defined to have a precision instrument look.

    By the way, I picked the Matrix over Mazda 3 hatchback (more sporty, but not enough utility) and Honda CR-V (too un-sporty, bigger than I need). I also thought about getting a Murano (very nice) real hard at the last moment, but that’s a different story.

    San Jose, CA
  • hello all, I have been shopping the Matrix and Mazda 3 hatch. Each one has it's pros and cons. I am trying to gather input from anyone that may have also compared the two. I am undecided and hope that someone can give me some info on their comparison and buying decision.......thanks.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    I've taken a good look at both of these. IMO the Matrix is ahead on cargo room, rear seat comfort, ride comfort, and price (pretty loaded for about $17.5K + T&L). The Mazda3 has better handling, more power, and is better looking (IMO). Both should be reliable. So if you need to haul a lot of people/gear, the Matrix might be the one. If you like sportier performance/handling, the Mazda should come out on top.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    the newer design: more power and a lot more road noise.

    The Matrix is a lot more space for the dollar.

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

  • bamacarbamacar Posts: 749
    I have driven both cars and agree with most of what has been said about sporty performance versus space, but not with a few things. The ride seemed about the same to me in both not soft in either. Road noise and engine noise seemed to be about the same also maybe even noisier in the Matrix. The shifter and clutch action is much slicker in the 3. Utility and MPG go Matrix; everything else go with the 3.
  • deg856deg856 Posts: 120
    I won’t dispute that Mazda 3 hatch is better looking than the Matrix in the normal sense to most people, but then again, it’s just another pretty car among many pretty cars. What draws me to the Matrix is that it looks different. It’s not handsome, but it’s unique, distinctive, daring and interesting, even a little weird, all in an anti-establishment sort of way. Now I look at “normal” looking cars and think: “Boring!”

    San Jose, CA
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    a little, but I have only driven the Mazda3 hatch (and I used to own a Matrix). If you are looking at a Matrix XR or base, then the ride will be more damped than in the Mazda, and will also be quieter. The Mazda uses high performance low profile tires on the hatch, which make a LOT of noise. It is not high-pitched, but rather a constant deep rumble that competes well with the stereo for the loudness award.

    The Mazda is a lot more buttoned down than the Matrix too. It is a smaller tighter package with sport in mind. The only really sporty Matrix is the XRS 6-speed, with better tires and tighter suspension, and even that model will damp rough pavement and expansion joints better than the Mazda (but it is noisy from the tires also, and costs about $3K more than the Mazda).

    The only Matrix you would be looking at which is at the price point of the Mazda3 hatch is the XR, and that model has more body roll than the Mazda and the tires give relatively early in tight cornering. In other words, it is much more a "utility" than a "sport". But boy does it win the race for interior space and versatility. And the back seat is no contest either - you cram yourself into the back of the Mazda, and sit down and stretch out in the back of the Matrix. Better headroom in the Matrix too.

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

  • thelthel Posts: 767
    My view is a bit skewed b/c I have the XRS, but...The Matrix is bigger but most of the size is height which equates to 2 bad things: more body roll and a more upright (less comfortable to me) seating position.

    The stock tires may be better than on the XR, but they are still pretty bad, not much traction wet or dry.

    The only thing I know about the 3 for sure (haven't driven one), is that they are waay better looking, but less utility. I was initially drawn to the hard plastic, flat floor of the Matrix, but after a few trips to Lowes and hauling home some cut-up sheets of MDF, they slid all over the place and tore some large, unsilghtly gouges in the plastic...I'm not seeing the advantage over carpet back there. I guess if you hauled wet, slimy dogs or something it might be OK, but my back hatch area looks terrible...
  • I am curious as to how the daytime lights operate and any owner's thoughts on having them...thanks.
  • deg856deg856 Posts: 120
    More upright is right. It seems even more upright than in a Sienna. My problem right now is with finding a good driving position. If I (6’ w/ 32” inseam.) sit far back enough to get my right foot/leg comfortable on the gas pedal, the steering wheel feels too far away. I’m playing with seatback angel and seat height to see if I can make it better. It’s pretty different from the spread out driving position in a typical car/truck. A telescopic steering wheel (standard in the 3 – amazing at this price point) would be great.

    Agreed that the hard plastic cargo floor won’t stand up to abuse cosmetically, but it’s like a truck bed – it will get dinged up if you use it hard. I still prefer it over carpeting. If you don’t want it scratched, it’s a simple matter of putting down a mat and tie down the cargo (using the many tie-down hooks and straps) to prevent it from sliding around.

    San Jose, CA
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Posts: 470
    "(and I used to own a Matrix)"
    When did you get rid of your Matrix? What are you driving now? And what prompted the switch?

    Running lights and headlights go on automatically in the Matrix. There is a round twilight sensor on the dashboard on the driver's side near the side pillar. There were some problems in early Matrixes with the sensor being overly sensitive and headlights going on and off frequently on sunny days when the pillar cast a shadow over the sensor. Our 4WD Matrix was delivered in late August 2002 and was one of the last VINs affected by a service bulletin on the problem. I had our sensor replaced (despite the fact that the service people said it wouldn't take care of the problem I was describing) and have had no trouble with the sensor since. Still, I would prefer deciding myself when to turn on the headlights. Running lights are on whenever the car is started, which I think is a good safety feature.
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    I am also 6'1" with a 32" inseam and experience the exact same problem with seating position. One thing that helped me was to remove the huge foot rest. That frees up quite a bit of room for your left foot. It's not great, but it's better. Telescoping wheel would be a god-send for this car...
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    yes, I turn on my own headlights now, and gawd what a relief!

    I traded the Matrix on an RSX, which I really love. Way back in the infancy days of the Matrix, I made the enormous mistake of buying an automatic because Matrix was in such short supply, and no-one ever had a stick. It was the first auto I ever owned, and will be the last. That auto sucks whatever fun this car could be right out of it.

    I still love the looks of the Matrix, and the way it could fit me and several friends with ease, but I never warmed to the easily marred plastic interior, especially the huge dash, and I had one of the early ones that just rattled incessantly. Every time I would have them fix a batch of rattles, there would be a new batch within a week or two. I traded it with three rattles that had started within a month prior: the right rear speaker cover, the A-pillar on the driver's side, and the moonroof.

    The only cars I seriously considered besides the RSX I bought were the Mazda3 hatch (a couple of extensive test drives) and the Civic SI (ditto). In the end, the RSX felt like the nicest package for about the same price, at the cost of any back seat utility.

    I would say if your emphasis is sport, Mazda is the winner vs Matrix XR (the XRS is a tie, but it is also more expensive). If your emphasis is utility, the winner is Matrix, no question. If style is the most important, I would say it is a toss-up, as is likely reliability.

    And don't get me started on depreciation - that Matrix lost like 40% of its value in 18 months, but from everything I am reading, that is the new nature of the used car market these last couple of years, and maybe permanently from now on.

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

  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Posts: 470
    Good luck with RSX. I hope you still will check the Matrix discussion now and then. You always were a good source of information, and just about all of it accurate as far as I could tell :)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    thanks! I will be checking in here for a while yet. Of all the cars I ever bought new, the Matrix is probably my favorite in terms of styling. I am very curious to see what they will do for the minor update this year, and for the revamp for '07.

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

  • mtbcincymtbcincy Posts: 2
    should be here in the next week. A base model Matrix (white) manual with power pkg. Don't really care for the color, but I really like the dealership and it was the only manual they had on it's way. Got it for 15,400. $100 over invoice, whatever that means. Anyway, I'd read the last 10 months or so of posts here, and now I feel more prepared than i ever wanted to be. I probably wouldn't have even noticed a noisy dash, or cheap faux metal rings before this. I have two questions for the forum. 1) Has anyone found a good way to cover the backs of the rear seats when they're down, but not have loose bits when they're up? 2) Can you disable the twilight sensor so it always thinks it is broad daylight? I'd rather not go through the drive-in theatre with my emergency brake partly engaged. I am formerly a motorcycle mechanic, and I've seen all types of safety switches get bypassed by locking in the open or closed circuit position(motorcycle kickstand switches never seemed to last more than a few years, then you have to get around them or replace them) Thanks in advance for any advice. John
  • mtbcincymtbcincy Posts: 2
    for the multiple posts. I thought my computer was locking up and not posting. I'll be more careful in the future
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    I thought you were just really excited or something. ;)
  • I test drove an 04 XRS a while back and felt that the driver seat didn't scoot back far enough. I'm 6-1 with long legs. I found a knob on the lower left side that dropped the seat down and back a little which made it more comfortable and probably doable for me.

    My question is, is this knob/adjustment available on the 03 model? How do some of you taller/long legged 03 Matrix owners feel about how you fit into your cars? Any insight would be helpful, thanks.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    is the driver's seat height adjustment, and it is available on all XR/XRS models, including in '03. I always liked the seat fairly high in mine.

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

  • thelthel Posts: 767
    I am alos about 6'1" and find the seating position just barely tolerable. I removed the huge left foot rest and back the seat up enough so that I can barely reach the steering wheel at 2 and 10 o'clock. Not great, but tolerable...
  • I'd just like to offer my opinion on the Matrix.
    I haven't bought a car for 16 years. I was driving a dated Buick but it was recently totaled. My husband (6'2") and I test drove several cars first. We tried the Mazda3 but were impacted with how cheap the interior appeared and how loud the engine was. The car was too small for us as well. Nice exterior styling though.
    We bought the Matrix XR 2WD/Auto. The Matrix XR is available in my area with an optional supercharged engine/suspension package, etc. all dealer installed for a cool $4100 extra. We drove one of these cars and the hp was remarkable. My auto trans can be computer tweeked (they call it a high-performance transmission!) to match the supercharged engine.
    This Matrix has the QP Value #2 Package/AB/EJ/CK - We love it and plan to keep it for years to come. What a fun little grocery cart and in Phantom Grey it gets some very admiring looks too! Push a button and release the O/D and get a little extra thrust for scootin' around town. We will definitely replace the tires once we pay down the car a bit. I live in the SW and darker window tinting is next on the list.
  • Why does the Matrix weigh 400 pounds more than the Corolla, especially since it is 7 inches shorter? What are you getting for that extra weight?

    Is the engine in the Matrix the same as the Corolla?

    Is their any reason why the Matrix should be noisier than the Corolla, as Consumer Reports says?

  • deg856deg856 Posts: 120
    Mid-level autos FWD are less than 200lb apart between the two cars, so don't know where you got the 400lb difference. You're getting a much bigger interior with the Matrix.

    Yes, except the XRS.

    Body style (sedan vs wagon), tire size and type, suspension tuning, etc.
Sign In or Register to comment.