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Toyota Matrix vs. Mazda Protege5

matrix2003matrix2003 Posts: 12
edited March 2014 in Mazda
I am in the market for either the Toyota Matrix XR w/ Sport & Sport Plus Packages, or the Mazda Pro5. I am willing to wait a few months in hopes that demand for the Matrix will settle down and I will be able to deal a little on Toyota's newest product. Even so, in comparing invoice on both cars, it seems that the Pro5 offers more bang for the buck. If anyone has any insight or advice PLEEEEEASE let me know, as I am truly torn between the two cars! Thanks!! :)


  • Read through the Matrix and P5 forums, you will find some insights on the pro's and con's of both.

    I was really torn between these two as well, but finally settled on the P5. Comparably equipped, I found the Matrix to be about $500 more. I chose the P5 for a few reasons, all IMO:

    -better styling
    -sportier suspension and steering
    -rear disc brakes (only available on Matrix XRS)
    -special financing, and more room to negotiate as Matrix is a new model

    I also hear it is difficult to find Toyota's with certain option combinations, Mazda doesn't have this problem.

    The Matrix also has a lot going for it, and would also be a good choice. It has a 5 yr/60K powertrain warranty, probably better resale value, and a roomier and more flexible interior.

    For me, the P5's better driving characteristics and styling outweighed the Matrix's extra room. It all depends what your priorities are. My suggestion would be to drive both before making a decision.
  • Six speed manual transmission; 17" wheels. The vehicle is great, so far. EPA rating is significantly higher than stated in brochure. Negative: Asks for premium unleaded. Positive: Supremely comfortable, great design, Toyota reliability and trade-in value. Pete
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    To matrix2003- Welcome to the Hatchbacks Board, and good luck with your decision. In addition to the feedback here, you should try comparing these two vehicles into Edmunds' side-by-side vehicle comparison tool.

    To everyone- Please note: in the Helpful Links on the left side of the page, you'll find direct links to side-by-side vehicle comparison and some other related Town Hall discussions (i.e. Protege5, Matrix). Keep your eyes open for other new items to be posted in that area. Hope this is helpful. Happy motoring!

    Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards
  • hurler4hurler4 Posts: 104
    I've tested the P5 and the Matrix XR, and they definitely have different feels to them. The P5 feels more European, while the Matrix feels like, well, a slightly sportier Corolla. Here are the advantages to both, in my opinion:

    -sporty handling
    -good torque
    -great looks
    -standard roof rack
    -foldaway mirrors

    -more room
    -better gas mileage
    -feels safer and more solidly built
    -Toyota quality
    -more options (navigation system, 115-volt outlet, etc.)

    If I was sure the P5 was going to be as safe and reliable as the Matrix, I'd get one in a heartbeat. But the Matrix just "feels" more substantial. So it's a tradeoff of character vs. quality, in my opinion.
  • When you talk of safe and reliable, I'm surprised that a car that is more or less brand new would be held in higher regard than one that has existed as a top performer (in the regular Pro. sedan form) for many years. That was my biggest thing when getting the P5 - the regular Protege was held in such high regard with such a high owner satisfaction that I felt totally comfortable buying. The Matrix, although it is made by Toyota, is so new that I would be a bit hesitant. Not just of the reliablility and safety, but until more reviews and user stories are shared I'm not so sure about the other important factors - i.e. power, fun-to-drive, value, handling, etc. With the P5 I knew I was getting a solid car that had all the best points of the top of the line Pro ES, in an awesome hatchback form with all the options as standard.

    Now if they weren't selling so fast I might have been able to get a better deal (i.e. more off the MSRP) but I guess when the dealer can't keep them on the lot at the full MSRP, what are you going to do?
  • mnkyboymnkyboy Posts: 108
    Why are people saying that the Matrix comes with a Navigation system? Its a $1,750 option!! For that price, you can get a better navigation system in a P5. What good is the navigation system when I hear the Matrix isnt that fun to drive, I own a P5 and a Corolla, and the Corolla is just plain boring...ZZZZ..
  • ashutoshsmashutoshsm Posts: 1,007
    I still don't understand why people value navigation systems in cars. Just get a dash-mountable handheld navigation/GPS unit ($200 to 1000 for really good ones), that charges off the cigarette lighter output. Granted, it may not be the most ergonomic position to use it, but you can pull it out to use in your other car/s, or for a camping trip, or a hike!

    And its cheaper (and usually better) than the $1750 you pay for it as an option!

    And you shouldn't be using toys while you drive anyway ;-) We don't use cellphones while we drive, do we?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    If you think Toyotas are bulletproof, here's a real eye-opener story from today:


  • hurler4hurler4 Posts: 104
    I always used my cellphone when I was driving my Ford Thunderbird (the boys at AAA knew me on a first-name basis). :-)

    I guess the main point I was trying to get across was that the Matrix felt more solid and safe than the P5. The doors were heavier, the materials inside felt more substantial, and it just had a more solid feel on the road. But yes, it does drive like a Corolla. Maybe I'll test out the 180-hp Matrix XRS, but I heard that it has absolutely no torque at the low end. Has anyone heard anything about this?
  • Yeah - if you look at the specs of the 180HP engine, you'll see that most of the fun comes when you rev the engine really high. On the low end you get almost nothing - especially when you factor in the added cost. Is the Matrix a car that you'd be likely to drive at 7000RPM?

    I'd like a few more HP in the my P5 engine, but not at 8000RPM, and not with little or no increase in low-end torque. And especially not for thousands more...
  • The Vibe (basically a Matrix) and MP5 were only about 50 feet apart at the Baltimore Auto Show a few days ago. I'm an MP5 owner, so I'm a little biased, but I did notice the Vibe/Matrix was a LOT taller than the MP5... in fact, the Vibe seemed more vannish than hatchbackish!

    IMHO, price and style are the biggest differences between the two (I have not test driven the Vibe/Matrix), and the MP5 beats the Matrix hands down...
  • One thing the Matrix definitely has over the MP5 is the television commercials... at least I don't have to listen to that "zoom zoom" song every time I drive my MP5!
  • is very subjective, I know. However, yesterday I was on the interstate behind and right to a P5. I was like "What is that?" It looked like a station wagon at first glance. I would have thought it would have been more distinctive. The Matrix definitely has a sportier, less station wagon look to it.
  • mnkyboymnkyboy Posts: 108
    you like the mini-van look. The P5 looks is a hatchback, therefore it is not a station wagon. If you want to see a station wagon, go to the video store and get a copy of Nationl Lampoons Vacation. Thats a station wagon! LOL. As for the Matrix, Its neither a hatchback nor a station wagon. Thats why you would have to put it in a category as a mini-van.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 26,315
    I had a chance to drive a Matrix today (XR, auto). It was very comfortable, good seats and a nice, upright driving position. Great visibility out front, poor out the rear (sides and straight back). Fantastic cargo room/flexibility. The engine seemed very economy car-ish, although it ws probably a result of the Automatic (I drive a V6/5 speed maxima, so I'm not used to the sounds of a 4 cyl/AT combo).

    biggest gripe (IMHO) was the guages. Very hard to read. Actually, they sit so low I really had to look away from the road just to find them, and then they were hard to read (in the daytime), because of the lack of contrast and the needles on the speedo and tach were very low (not where you expect them to be).

    I think Toyota (or was it Pontiac) gave up too much functionality to get the "flash" of the dashboard design. Could be a safety feature too if people have to take their eyes off the road.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • stragerstrager Posts: 308
    I feel that Toyota is trying too hard to be cool by adding mandatory skirts and underbody spoilers to most Matrix models. Personally, I like the cleaner look of the Matrix without these add-ons. Anyone else feel the same way? To me, the skirts/spoilers look better on the Protege 5.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Agree with you there. I haven't driven a Matrix yet, but I can only imagine what it would be like. I used to have an integra VTEC which isn't that far off from the Matrix 180 hp engine. The VTEC engine was sluggish at low RPMs in the much lighter integra. It must be a DOG in the Matrix around town. When I first read about the Matrix, I asked myself "why in the heck would Toyota put such a small, low torque engine in a vehicle designed to carry lots of people and stuff?" Really, I imagine driving the 180 hp version around town would get really tiring.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 26,315
    The salesman checked the production sheets to see if any 5 speeds were coming in. From what he said, it looks like everything is coming out with the sport pack plus (side skirts) and 17" wheels at first, so no moonroofs for a while.

    Toyota really needs to work on how the package out the cars. Lots of options in theory that you will probably never find on a real car.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • shriqueshrique Posts: 338
    Toyota has always made me nuts when I try to package out a vehicle on their site. To get power windows on one of their pickups you have to buy this other thing which requires another option that makes you dance before you can buy the car. jeez. Go out to the corporate site and start trying to make a fairly stripped car with just a couple of luxury options. IT's almost funny.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    if money is no problem - i would definitely get the matrix xrs. 6 speed with 180hp vvti-L is definitely sweet! :) the only thing the protege 5 driver will see is your tail lights. ba-bye! :)
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    sure...until turn one or the next hill.
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    I wouldn't get too cocky about the speed of the Matrix until more magazines test production cars if I was you. :--)

    My Pro5 is no 0-60 machine, but it will hang with just about anything in the twisties!

  • shriqueshrique Posts: 338
    Boy you set your sites low. A couple of cars I would consider if money was no object. (chuckle)

    2002 BMW M3
    2002 BMW M 2dr HB
    2002 Ferrari 456M GTA 2dr Coupe
    1978 Toyota FJ45 Landcruiser (Original 6cyl in mint cond.)
    1978 Nissan 280Z (mint of course)
    1969 Lincoln Continental Convert w/ suicides and the option UHF TV built in the dash

    That's assuming the money to keep them thing running and to keep the paintjobs concourse quality. (chuckle)
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    Glad to know there are some fine 4wd connoisseurs on here. Unfortunately, I finally had to sell my '71 fj40 last be it.
  • rblelandrbleland Posts: 312
    Exactly my current dilemma. I am downsizing from a 2000 4Runner (don't need the expense/size). What I need is: quality, reliability, decent resale, fun-to-drive, price under $25K Cdn., and space to carry 120# dog without him licking my neck. Where I live (B.C.), the P5 and the Matrix XR (both 5 Spd.)are priced almost exactly the same. Both cars give me most of what I want so it comes down to subjective things like: the Matrix is a bit bigger behind the rear seats for the dog, the Matrix rear window flips up, they both look good but I tend to prefer the rear view of the Matrix over the P5, more headroom in Matrix, storage area is more versatile in the Matrix (seats go flat, tie-downs, etc), I believe the Matrix may be a bit quicker 0-60 and a little better on gas. Lastly, the Matrix smells better!!!
    I am serious on that - I had a '94 Protege and it had the same smell and I didn't like it then either. Either car will be the dark blue; but I suspect I will take the Matrix XR when it gets here in 2 weeks. They are both great cars for the dollars and both the Toyota and Mazda shops here are great to work with.
  • Sounds like Matrix is the way to go!
  • Let me start off by saying that despite my SN and the fact that I have been grappling with the issue of Matrix XR vs. Pro5 for awhile, IMHO the Pro5 wins hands down!! Rbleland, not to take away any of the points you brought up regarding the matrix, but when you really compare dollar-for-dollar, head-to-head, here are just some of the things that come STANDARD on the Pro5 that are all OPTIONS (or else NOT available) on the Matrix XR.....
    1) 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
    2) 16" Alloy Wheels
    3) All-Weather Guard/Rear Heater Ducts
    4) Cruise Control
    5) Fog Lights
    6) Spoiler
    7) Roof Rack
    8) Foldaway Mirrors
    9) Standard 3yr/50K warranty (vs. 3yr/36K on XR)
    10) Included 3yr/50K Emergency Roadside Assistance
    11) (and IMO a decent rear cargo cover)
    Now, maybe these options aren't very important to you...but how 'bout an extra 10 lb-ft torque and a sportier suspension on the Pro5?? Plus w/ Mazda, you can even add options INDIVIDUALLY!!! instead of buying into all of Toyota's crazy-[non-permissible content removed] packages! Sure the Matrix'll give you the 115V power outlet, but comparably equipped I think the XR might actually be running you considerably more than the Pro5......
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    The 115V outlet is a gimmic. Go to Radio Shack or any hardware store and buy yourself a 115 or 300 watt DC to AC inverter. Plug the inverter into your lighter plug then plug your stuff into that. Easy as pie. Inverters have been around forever. No big deal except for the marketing gimmickery. Perhaps if you smoke you want your cigarette lighter free as well as a 115V plug but that is the only reason why I could see it being a big plus for you (and heck, you probably have a regular lighter in your pocket if you smoke).
  • stragerstrager Posts: 308
    IMHO. One can "choose" this option and that, but it's all a meaningless exercise. They are whatever Toyota decides to add on the car that particular month. Take it or leave it.

    One more thing: the Matrix was supposed to be an "affordable" car for the younger buyer. It's not, and has become overpriced with all the "options" included on every model.
  • rblelandrbleland Posts: 312
    Thanks for your post in reply to mine @#26. First, remember I did say they are both great cars for the money. Second, it is subjective and certain items may be more/less important to different people. My critera was heavy on space (for dog) and versatility. I think the reliability, quality, driving fun and resale of both is very good and I doubt you disagree with that. I would point out that sometimes items that are standard on Canadian models differ slightly from what standard on U.S. models. For example, you state that a roof rack is standard on the P5, in Canada that's not true, the roof rack is available as an accessory (extra cost) item. Also, let me clarify that the Matrix XR here has 16" alloy wheels w 205/55R16 tires, rear heat ducts and cruise control all standard. Granted, the P5 has 10 lb/ft torque more (and that does concern me) and you get 4 wheel disc brakes. The foldaway mirrors I would trade for an outside temp. guage (in the XR) any day. It would interesting to read a good quality side x side driving comparison of the 2 to rate handling, acceleration, etc (come on, Car&Driver). The handling claim may be debatable; but, again, different people have different criteria. I dispute your contention that the P5 wins "hands down". Again, the U.S. pricing may be different, but in Canada the MSRP's are very, very close. I will have to check on the warranty issue and re-post if I differ from your claim above. I respect your opinion (which is really what all these comments are any way), but I don't think there is as much difference as your #28 post indicates. Do you own a P5 now, or just looking? Thanks.
This discussion has been closed.