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Toyota Matrix



  • thelthel Posts: 767
    I guess it's been a while since we a had a gas mileage post-fest so here I go.

    I've been getting about 27 mpg on average driving it like I stole it and seeing redlines fairly frequently. The best I've gotten is the low 30's on all highway driving.
  • deg856deg856 Posts: 120
    Need some enlightment please - what's the point of having a little 1.8L 4-banger if getting high mpg is not the main reason?
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    In my case it has to do with the 8,000+ RPM redline, the 6-speed manual, and 173 hp in a sub-3,000 lb car that I can use to haul 10 left-over cases of bottled water from the Prom this last weekend. The fact that I get mid-upper 20's mpg is merely icing on the cake for me. I'd be OK if it was in the lower 20's (see WRX).
  • deg856deg856 Posts: 120
    My outside temperature thermometer was reading low (by about 10 degrees) right after a commercial car wash, but it seemed to be back to normal a day later. I figured the car wash (with high pressure air for drying) got the temperature sensor wet and messed up the reading, and it was fine after the water dried up. I'm guessing this temperature sensor is in front of the radiator. Does anyone know what it looks like and exactly where it is?
  • stillageekstillageek Posts: 114
    If you pop the hood and look straight down you can see the gauge. It sits directly infront of the radiator. I think its an odd place for it, but it works.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Yeah.... I don't care about mpg. Why ? Its all relative. With a gaz-guzzler, v8-powered Sequoia getting a measly 15mpg, and another v8-powered LS400, getting a measly 18mpg, whatever I get from a little 1.8L 4-banger engine is a blessing. That's why it ain't that important. By my last fill-up, with a lead-foot, the Trix is getting only about 24mpg. Adequate, not stellar, but I cannot complain, compared to the other two cars in the stable....See, where I'm coming from ?
  • deg856deg856 Posts: 120
    XR auto FWD. 1789 mi total. 354.6 mi on last tank. 11.300 gal fill up. -> 31.38 mpg. I think the slight drop from before is due to higher cruing speed; 60-65 mph before; 65-70 mph now.

    OAC: I see where you're coming from. I bought the Matrix because I wanted to break away from the sub to low 20 mpg that I've been getting forever from all the cars/truck/minivan for a change, so I drive to maximize my mpg within reason. It's like a game, and it's not so much paying less for gas but the satisfaction of having something that works so efficiently. I'm happy as long as I can keep it over 30 mpg.
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Posts: 470
    For the first 15,000 miles was 26.7 mpg. Around 30 mpg when strictly highway driving.
  • jetgrrljetgrrl Posts: 1
    I was shopping for an Outback when I realized no way in heck can I afford the $20k it's going to cost to get me into the new one. Tried an Outback sport and didn't like the ride. Tride a Mazda3 hatch and liked the ride but my mechanic has warned me off Mazdas. So now I'm looking at the Matrix. I'm interested in what people's experience has been iwh the Matrix in general and the AWD in particular, especially if you can compare to the Outback. Thanks.
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,562
    If you cannot afford a new Outback, chances are you cannot afford a used one. These are strong in the used market, esp. in Boston, and need plenty of maintenance -- nothing terrible, but when you add it all up, a new '04 with all the discounts is about as cheap over the long haul as it's going to get.
    Legacy? Save $2k, same car, it's worth a thought.

    If money is that tight, forget the AWD. Get a Matrix and an extra set of snow tires, make sure it has ABS, get the stick for a little added fun, and you've got yourself a $16k runabout that isn't likely to need $$ thrown at it any time soon. I own a Vibe, and it's fairly loud, there's a buzz from the dash, and otherwise it's a well-handling, fun-to-drive little runabout that gets near 30 mpg and will hold its value fairly well.

    If money is REALLY tight -- or if you want to keep it from getting that way -- get a $6 2001 Prizm.

    Follow the link in my profile to an exhausting analysis of the subject...

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I am like you - as long as I can keep the mpg over 30, I am happy. The Matrix base/XR excels in this regard. And if you get the XRS, there isn't a V-6 out there that can run with this car and also give its every day mileage.

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

  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Posts: 470
    I recently test-drove an Outback wagon before deciding on a Highlander, and I also rented an Outback wagon once for 3 weeks in Colorado, Wyoming,& Utah. We have had an '03 4WD Matrix now for close to 2 years that my wife usually drives, and if you do a search in this forum you'll find a lengthy report I provided on the experience I had on a 2,000 road trip in late December 2003. The 4WD systems are good in both vehicles, but in most ways I would give the nod to the Matrix:

    Advantages to Outback: bigger cargo area, a bit more pep even with the 4-cylinder engine, heated seats are standard at least on 2003's

    Common Outback complaints: head-gasket leaks (particularly with cylinder #4 in the 4-banger), overheating when engine under stress (as we experienced on I80 in Wyoming when trying to go the posted speed limit of 75 mph), oil consumption, less-than-stellar radio reception with in-glass antenna, position of steering wheel makes it difficult to get into driver's seat even with tilt wheel in upmost position

    Advantages to Matrix: easier to get into and out of, better gas mileage, more spacious rear seat, one-step procedure to fold down rear seat, standard radio with CD AND cassette, lots of storage cubbies, somewhat better reliability rating by Consumer Reports

    Common 4WD Matrix complaints: engine is not overly peppy, squeaks and rattles (particularly early 2003's), under-shifter storage door either won't stay closed or is hard to open, bad twilight sensor in early 2003's, available only with automatic transmission
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    Your mechanic warned you away from Mazda? Well, in the process, IMO, he has also warned you away from what many consider to be the best car in its class. With a standard 4 yr/50,000 mile warranty there isn't much to worry about. In general, Mazda's have a very good reputation for reliability (the Ford-heavy Mazda's such as the 626 and the early Tributes are an exception).
  • deg856deg856 Posts: 120
    I have the XR FWD auto but I'd like to share some of my thoughts.

    Engine is not overly peppy - the engine is pretty buzzy during acceleration, but once it gets up to speed it quiets down and cruises smoothly.

    Squeaks and rattles (particularly early 2003's) -None in my 2 month + old 2004.

    Under-shifter storage door either won't stay closed or is hard to open - I read about this before my purchase so when mine got stuck right after I got the car I went "uh, oh." But in my case it was just a matter of getting the hinges on the bottom lined up and seated correctly. Once I did that that storage compartment worked perfectly so I don't know if the problem that other had mentioned could be fixed this easily. It's a great place to store sunglasses by the way.

    Bad twilight sensor in early 2003's - I don't know what's considered "bad", but I do feel mine is set to dim the display too soon while the ambient light is still not that dark. There's this brief period of time after sunset but before dark when the display is dimmed automatically before I want it to. It'd be better if they just kept the display at full brightness until we switched on the head lights ourselves.

    Available only with automatic transmission - not necessarily bad unless you don't want auto.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    2003 XR auto, with 27,7xx miles.


    - some rattle from the front dashboard around the driver's side. I've a mind to take it to the dealer, but concerned that once they open that up who knows if they'll ever to put it back without any additional issues.

    - going uphill, the engine labors hard, can be quite noisy too.

    I have no problems with any of the storage holders in mine. Other the above, I have nothing else to gripe about. Enjoying mine with no worries....
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    I had problems with mine, namely, it would not stay shut. I went to the dealer where they replaced the hinge and now it works just fine.

    So far, I'm not hearing to much in the way of "issues" that would/should deter any would-be buyers. The only things I would caution would be to make sure that the lack of a telescoping wheel will not bother any long-legged, short armed drivers out there...
  • stevengordonstevengordon Posts: 130
    Is the driving position in the Matrix the same as the driving position in the Corolla?
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    Sorry, I can't help you there, I bought my wife a Civic before I even thought about driving the Matrix. Why not just go down to the local Toyota dealer and see for yourself?
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    Around here anyway. I wonder if that applies to the XRS. My local dealer has never even had one on their lot.
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Posts: 470
    I forgot all about the issue for tall drivers finding a comfortable position. That might be the main reason to look for something other than the Matrix.

    It's important to consider the peppiness of the 4WD separately from FWDs with the same engine. In my opinion the heavier 4WD performs adequately with the small engine, but many people have said they feel the 4WD is underpowered. The bigger engine isn't available in the 4WD.

    The twilight sensor shouldn't be an issue unless your're considering a used Matrix. The Matrix service bulletin covered vehicles manufactured before September or October 2003. The problem was that the sensor would continually turn the headlights on and off on sunny days because it was fooled by shadows. The new sensor works much better.
  • stevengordonstevengordon Posts: 130
    I test drove a Corolla a couple weekends ago. The drive amounted to about 3 or 4 miles. It was a pleasant experience, though I found the Civic to be as composed a ride compared with the Corolla.

    Unfortunately, I'd have to rent on for a full day and take a long drive. I put a 1000 miles in my Accord one day last summer. It was comfortable, road-worthy, and probably something I can't easily achieve in a Matrix-Corolla-Civic.
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    You can rest assured, there is NO comparison. The Accord is waaay more comfortable for a long drive than either my wife's Civic EX or my Matrix XRS. I travelled about 1000 miles in one day in an 02 Accord EX 4 cyl and had no issues with comfort. I can barely last 2 hours in the Civic without something (back, leg, etc) getting a bit sore or fatigued. I've been quite disappointed with the long-trip road worthiness of the Civic overall.
  • capitanocapitano Posts: 509
    I haven't had any problems with comfort in my wife's civic or my XRS. I haven't taken 1000 mile trips in one day in them though. I've gone 710 in the civic and around 600 in the XRS. The only car that was less than comfortable on a long drive for me was my old buick regal.
  • stevengordonstevengordon Posts: 130
    How did the Matrix compare to the Civic on those long drives?

    I found that 750 miles was very do-able, driving with a teenager who was hooked up to a Game Cube half the time. My 1000-mile day involved getting pulled over in Kansas, finding a new highbeam light in Kansas and Missouri, and eating fast-food drive-through in the car. It wasn't a bad day at all (except for unmentionable incidents in Kansas).
  • capitanocapitano Posts: 509
    I think on balance, I would have to give the civic an edge over the XRS. The seating position is a little lower, more "normal" and your legs are stretched out a little more.

    The XRS is a little more upright and has less leg room, but that might just be due to the clutch pedal making it seem so.

    Both cars are fine for me normally and just great with cruise control on.
  • deg856deg856 Posts: 120
    2004 XR auto FWD. 2170 mi total. 381.3 mi on last tank. 11.938 gal fill up. -> 31.94 mpg.

    $2.439/gallon for REGULAR unleaded from a Chevron station near San Francisco airport. Can you believe that price!?
  • capitanocapitano Posts: 509
    Wow. I've seen $2.23 for premium around here today. Highest so far that I've seen. Tanked up yesterday at $2.05.

    It's getting close to some european fuel prices.
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,562
    no it's not. Germany is above $5.50/gal. Be careful what you wish for. -m
  • subie022subie022 Posts: 1
    I just saw the Matrix 2005 is out. Anyone know of the differences (improvements) over the 04's?
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