Toyota Matrix vs. Mazda Protege5



  • maryboo19maryboo19 Member Posts: 21
    I really hope someone does a comparo of this segment. I emailed Edmunds and Car & Driver today urging them to do it. Maybe if they get enough requests they'll do it.

    Regarding the list above, I agree that the ZX5, Pro 5, and Matrix will be close. I don't know the order, but the Focus seems to get awesome reviews, so I'd pick that first. I think most car rags lean more towards sport, so the P5 would be second and the Matrix third. Again, this is just my guess.

    Anyway, until someone actually does a test, we can just keep arguing it here!
  • rblelandrbleland Member Posts: 312
    I agree w riopelle that the P.T. Cruiser should not be part of this comparison. I drove my sister-in-law's PT this past summer; and I did not think sport,nor fun-to-drive and the price is definitly higher than the others on the list.
  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    The 180hp Matrix may have more power on paper, but how fast will it *actually* be? I suspect that the high-RPM power+high curb weight+low torque=less than stellar speed.

    The Pro5 suffers from a slow-ish 0-60 time of 9.2 sec. (Car & Driver) due to it's need to shift into 3rd to get there. The car is geared low and is incredibly zippy around town. Most cars are built to hit 60 in 2nd. There was a great article in Sport Compact Car recently about how car manufacturers are "cheating" their buyers by gearing their cars for optimum magazine 0-60 times instead of optimum gearing for real-world driving. 0-60 is a silly thing to pay attention to. I don't get to do that too often... do you? My most frequent hard accelerations are 0-35 and 35-65. I'd just as soon have my car be geared for those conditions.... and the Protege5 is. :-D
  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    The P5 and the Matrix/Vibe are really not quite in the same class. I know they are aimed squarely at the same crowd but one seems to be aimed and people that want an SUV but don't want to pay for one and the P5 seems aimed at someone that likes sporty sedans and coups and wants more room.

    Personally I fall in love with my silver P5 every time I see it. It's pretty, fun to drive and I can carry stuff.

    Of course now they'll come out with a more powerful version that I could have gotten had I waited. (sigh)
  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    "Of course now they'll come out with a more powerful version that I could have gotten had I waited. (sigh) "

    Don't sweat it, think the same thing often! :-D

    It looks like a limited edition, Turbo-charged Protege Sedan will be coming this fall, but it will be after the redesign before the wagon/hatch body style get's more power.
  • riopelleriopelle Member Posts: 132
    Just curious Sporin, is that something you've seen online? Got a link? Thanks much.
  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066


    Turbocharged Mazda MP3 at NYIAS...


    New York Times

    February 17, 2002

    "But those willing to wait will soon get another chance to buy this car, or one much like it, in a Mazda showroom. Impressed by customers' enthusiasm — and by reviewers' disappointment in the lack of power — Mazda has decided to produce a new version that it will unveil this spring, perhaps at the New York auto show next month. The car will get a new name and, praise the engineers, a turbocharger to give the engine enough juice to match the suspension.

    No word yet on how much more the MP3's successor will cost than the $18,500 Mazda charged for the 2002 model. But in light of the traffic jam among under-$20,000 performance cars — think of the Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V, Honda Civic Si, Ford SVT Focus, Dodge Neon R/T, Toyota Matrix XRS and Pontiac Vibe GT — a big price increase probably isn't in the tea leaves."


  • riopelleriopelle Member Posts: 132
    for the link.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Member Posts: 591
    Actually, stoplights are becoming more and more common on country highways around here that used to be free of them. The posted limit on these roads is 50mph but people do more like 60-70mph. At every stoplight, it is 0-50 or more like 0-60 so in fact that acceleration range occurs more often than it used to. These stoplights don't have to be races but people are impatient after doing 70-0 a moment ago.

    Most freeway ramps aren't like that, instead you'll do the usual 25 or 35mph on the ramp and then 25-65 or 35-65 to merge (sometimes 35-85 if it is a left fastlane merge). Unless someone breaks down before they make it onto the freeway, 0-60 is rare there.

    If you want real performance you don't try to mate an engine and tranny for a particular speed, you space the gears for the engine's power band and you programme the automatic to use them when floored. Stickers will figure it out for themselves but if the power band of the engine isn't matched by the tranny you'll come up low or you'll miss part of it.
  • rblelandrbleland Member Posts: 312
    .....and I was going to post something like also but shrique has said it very well above. Although many of us of comparing the P5 and XR head-to-head, they are slightly different conceptually. Since I value space and versatility yet still fun; I lean to the XR. I can easily see why someone younger looking for "sport" with carrying space would go for the P5. Toyota says the Matrix is "crossover vehicle" and that is not what I call the P5. P5 is more a sport sedan with extra space. Once your priorities are clear, the decision is easier (in theory). So, why haven't I made a final choice yet???
  • riopelleriopelle Member Posts: 132
    Regarding the space issue, I suspect you're spliting hairs here, the two cars are so similar in terms of cubic feet. The Matrix does have a much nicer cargo area - if you plan on using that daily then the Matrix is your choice. But how often do you use all your cargo hold? The Pro5 is no slouch for space so it's not much of a compromise, plus the Pro5 handles much better and it has more usable torque, so it's driving benefits will definitely be experienced daily.

    Personally I am not sure how well the Matrix's styling will hold up over time, you might end up feeling how some Beetle drivers feel nowadays (like they're wearing Michael Jackson's "thriller" jacket!). I think the sides of the Matrix are quite nice, but the nose ugly. If exclusivity is an issue, you'll see a lot more Matrix's and Vibes in 6 mos. And is either dealer much closer, for when you have to bring it in?

    Really, they're both excellent vehicles. Toyota's massive marketing budget may skew impressions, but the Matrix is no more of a crossover or radical notion that the Pro5.

    Good luck.
  • rblelandrbleland Member Posts: 312
    ....probably, riopelle, I am splitting hairs - dog hairs, that is. My 120# Rottie/Sheppard x (no, he's not overweight)seems to fit better in the back of the Matrix. He does fit in both OK. I am using the cargo daily on account of the dog. I know on paper, the cargo areas are not much different but the headroom is an issue also. Exclusivitity is not an issue, and both dealers are 10 mins. away and both good. I suspect this entire topic of 62 posts is about "splitting hairs" but, it is fun and informative at the same time. I plan to re-drive both cars between now and next Monday so will update then. Thanks.
  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    The cargo space in the Matrix is a lot *taller.*
  • matrix2003matrix2003 Member Posts: 12
    Shrique & Sporin: Re: #55 & #56: Just to clarify, is there also a restyled or more powerful *Pro5* in the works, or just the sedan?? Any info on upcoming Pro5s would be most appreciated! Thanks! :)
  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    The only thing that is DEFINATE is another "MP3" sedan but with a turbo-charged engine from the Japanese market Protege lineup.

    This car will be limited numbers (like the MP3 was) and will be called either the "Mazdaspeed 3" or the "Protege MPS."

    There is NO information about a Protege5 version of this car.
  • jiggerz201jiggerz201 Member Posts: 14
    For the past week all I have been thinking about is the comparison of the Protege 5 vs. Matrix and it has been driving me mad. I will be so relieved when I finally make a decision. Fortunately I am not in a big rush seeing that the Mazda rep at the Toronto Autoshow told me interest rates should be coming down in March. Here is a synopsis of my comparison, which is the same as much of what everyone else has said but with my bias. The items aren't listed in any particular order.

    - pros-better driving dynamics, better seats and interior, been on the market for more time, clean design, $500-1000 cheaper, better financing.
    -cons-narrow tires and angled taillights gives car wimpy looks from behind (subjective), a lot of comments on these boards about door rattling, engine noise, and poor gas mileage, Mazda is a company is a bit unknown to me and they have had problems in the past.

    -pros-better cargo area, higher, Toyota brand quality, better stature or presence, better standard features (adjustable intermittent wipers, better door lock system, air filter), better resale value (negates better financing), stronger possibility it will suit my lifestyle longer.
    -cons-first year car, no track record, no bargaining power, exterior design is a little busy, seat aren't as comfortable, Pontiac radio and who knows what else.

    That is all I can think of at this point. Feel free to fill in any blanks and give any insights. It is quite a pickle. It might come down to flipping a coin. :-)
  • rblelandrbleland Member Posts: 312 this topic and you will see others have same dilemma as you do. There are lots of younger, die-hard P5 fans out there and they do have a good car to base their opinions on. The Matrix is new and thus, unproven by "owner experiences" I am also trying to decide between these two by the end of this month. I am leaning to the Matrix XR for the reasons in my post above. If, however, you are a young person who is looking for the sportier handler and torquier engine, maybe take the P5. Don't worry about Mazda, it's a good company and Ford is providing some backing as well. They are both excellent choices IMO. Are you sure about the Matrix radio being Pontiac?? I do not think so - Matrix built by Toyota in Cambridge, ON. The Vibe is just a re-badged Matrix basically (for more money so dealer can play with your head). As to interest rates coming down in March, I would not bet on that. Even if they did, unlikely to apply to hot sellers like P5 or Matrix. Good luck.
  • bluong1bluong1 Member Posts: 1,927
    I don't know how long you are lurking on Edmunds, but certainly not longer than me on P5 board since I was there since the beginning. I'm P5 owner and just have few comments about your previous post.

    - door rattling: you are right, for some reason a lot of P5s subjected to minor rattle from passenger door, all thought my P5 (7 months old, 12k miles) doesn't have this defect.
    - engine noise. It doesn't seem to me there is a lot of comments about it. People occasionally feel that the engine doesn't run smoothly when it's cold outside for about few minutes after it starts. That's because the engine materials are iron/aluminum combo, and it needs the right temperature for them to fit perfectly (different expansion coefficients).
    - poor gas mileage: true, there are few isolated cases, but it seems dealer can fix it quickly (defected of oxygen sensor here, some wire get lose there). Otherwise the rest of us get pretty decent mileage.
    - P5 is a close cousin of the Protege sedans, and we all (P5/Protege's owners) can attest you that the reliability of these cars are among the best on the market.

  • jiggerz201jiggerz201 Member Posts: 14
    rbeland, thanks for your reassurance on Mazda being a good company. Unfortunately you made my decision a bit harder. :-) In terms of age, I am about to turn 31, so I am right in between wanting something sporty and seeing the need for utility coming on the horizon. After writing and rereading my own post I am ever so slightly veering to the Matrix. My final decision might come down to trying to strike a deal with the dealership. If I can get them for the same on the road price, I'll probably go with the Matrix. I'll let the better financing of the P5 counterbalance the probable better resale value of the Toyota. About the interest rates coming down, two of the Mazda reps told me to wait until March 1st because Mazda is likely to become more aggressive with financing rates. The Toyota rep said that there is a possibility that rates could change, but like you I wouldn't bet on the change to apply to the Matrix.
    I am not positive that the radio in the Matrix is a Pontiac radio but I have been in a couple of other GM cars with the exact same style of buttons. The Corolla, which the Matrix is based on has a different style of buttons on its' radio. On the Corolla they have a more polished look. I figured, based on the similiarity in appearance of the Matrix radio to other Pontiac radios and its' dissiimiliarity to other Toyota radios, that Toyota may have used the Pontiac radio in the Matrix. They may have done this to cut costs or as a concession to GM. If it is the case, what other GM parts have they used in the Matrix? Just conjecture not fact.

    bluong1, I have only been lurking here for about a week but have read most of the past two months of posts. My comments about the door rattling, engine noise on cold start, and poor gas mileage were taken from other peoples comments on the boards. I obviously have no ownership experience with either car. You are right the Proteges have a great reliability record. Here in Canada there is a book series called "the Lemon Aid guide" that reviews used and new cars. It is the Bible for used car buyers in Canada. Proteges are one of the few cars in their class that receive a "recommended" rating (their highest rating). My Dad would never buy a car that wasn't recommended by the Lemon Aid guide. Thanks for sticking up for the Protege 5. Part of the difficulty I've had in deciding which one to buy has been that I haven't been able to get to which one I "REALLY WANT". As rbeland said, they are both great choices and I think I would be happy with either one. Based on my omission of the facts that you pointed out I am starting to think I might have a bit of a bias in favour of the Toyota. Whew, that was a lot of typing.

    One more question, does anyone think the seats and interior of the Matrix are better than that of the Protege 5 or is it a consensus that the P5's seats and interior are better?
  • rblelandrbleland Member Posts: 312
    ...some owners get a little "touchy" if you speak against their particular choice. The free world is a wonderful place where we are all entitled to our opinions. Arguing car "bests" is kind of like arguing about politics or religion - you may step on someone's toes. I too have read all the posts on P5 rattles, etc. and it does concern me. I did own a '94 Proto SE for 5 1/2 years and it was a good,reliable car. The radio was crappy though (so it may not matter who makes the Matrix radio as I think a lot of buyers are not that happy with the current P5 radio either). The one other thing that does bug me about the P5 is a "smell" in the car (kind of cheap, plastic smell). Not a big thing, maybe, but my '94 had the same smell. As you are in Canada, you should be able to buy the P5 and the Matrix XR for close to the same money (depends on your Toy. dealer and how piggy he is feeling about the new Matrix). Check Toyota Canada's website at for MSRP prices. Tell your Toy. dealer that you checked that site and have access to dealer invoice also (see an earlier post). Shucks, it's all good fun and if this helps each of us to make a decision - that's great. I repeat - they are both super cars for the money!!!!
  • the_big_hthe_big_h Member Posts: 1,583
    I assume you haven't gotten a chance to test drive both cars yet. What you've done so far is simply rounding down to the cars that you will test drive.

    Don't make yourself make a decision until you test drive both, preferably back-to-back, one right after the other.

    When you test drive, ignore all distractions (aka salesperson) and just feel how the car responds to your inputs, and which one feels most 'at home' to you. You'll kick yourself later if you let something like interior space to be the ultimate deciding factor on your purchase. IMO the most important thing when testdriving a car is how the car 'connects' with the driver.
  • matrix2003matrix2003 Member Posts: 12
    After reading Jiggerz recent posts I couldn't help but pipe up.....

    Back in post #49, I posed the question looking for any objective specifications which put the XR over the P5. Reading through the last 20some postings, I can count the Matrix advantages on 1 hand WITH FINGERS TO SPARE!!!

    The only real (objective) advantage brought up in favor of the Matrix is space. Granted, the Matrix DOES have some height over the P5 (perhaps this is why some have called it a mini-minivan). But in looking at the numbers here is what I found...

    The cargo volume (with seats up) in the matrix is 21.8 cu ft vs. 20.0 in the P5. So then you ask, what about with the seats down? There is no data available BUT the total passenger volume in the XR is 96.2 cu ft vs. 93.0 in the P5. So as you can see, there is NOT a huge difference!!! (If you are hauling a dog or other objects of height, then you might care) But for everyone else, the difference is only a few cubic feet (hardly the semi-trailer's worth of space some have made it seem)!!!

    last but not least, IMO the seats/interior of the P5 are certainly superior to the matrix. the P5 seats are firm and supportive, and with the tight suspension, really provide for a great drive. the dash, etc is also more classy and ergonomic than the matrix. (there was a post earlier about someone having to bend over to see the spedometer, tachometer??!?!?!)
  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    Drive both, then decide.
  • southpaw1southpaw1 Member Posts: 34
    I'm surprised to hear people say they think the Mazda has a better interior and better seats. I thought just the opposite. The Mazda had too much cheap looking plastic on the dash.

    With all the rattles and such people are getting on the P5 I'm a bit concerned. Plus I had the accelerator all the way to the floor while trying to enter the interstate on my test drive. The P5 has nice power until you get in the 40 mph stage. Then it drops. The P5 is a nice car but I think the Matrix is better quality.
  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    Have you driven the Matrix? I personally have not and after hearing all this conversation about the two cars I really have to drive one. I own a P5 and I love the car but initially I was waffling. I know that the P5 has more low end torque but isn't particularly fast (which seems to be the culprit of the transmission). The XR Matrix has lower torque ratings but similar horsepower.

    As far as space goes I think the Matrix has more USABLE space. That's mainly if you plan on hauling anything. The floors are flatter and don't have carpet and the haul space is a bit taller. (this is all seats down). Also the Matrix is supposed to have a couple of neat things that you should be able to get later like a pull out bike rack (front tires off) that you can hold two bikes vertically on a pull out tray. This was on a show car but supposedly....(you know the drill)

    I still think that these cars are aimed at different mindsets. For me the sporty feel and incredible suspension was the kicker. For others the flat hauling space and fold flat front passenger seat may be the kicker towards the Matrix.

    All said and done I don't think that reliability or resale should be a problem on either car.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Member Posts: 4,421
    Maybe this will help your decision a little.

    My wife and I (she's 35, I'm 37 next week) just purchased, about three weeks ago, a Protege5 to replace her 1995 Cavalier. (I drive a 2000 Protege ES, and I've had two other Proteges before this one. So this is our fourth Protege.)

    We have a 9-month-old son. The Protege5's back seat is wonderful for his car seat. Everything fits very nicely without the front passenger seat having to be moved up to accommodate the child seat. The new LATCH system and tether anchor point behind the rear seat made baby seat installation a snap.

    Our $220, top-of-the-line stroller (they actually call it a "baby travel system," LOL) folds up and fits neatly in the cargo area with room to spare for a couple bags of groceries.

    I don't know what this concern over engine noise is all about -- my wife's car is quiet as hell -- much quieter than my 2000 ES was before I purchased my new tires (Dunlops, like on my wife's P5) to replace the noisy Bridgestone Potenzas that came on my car. I think her car rides very smoothly. I'm very jealous!

    The current 2.0-liter engine in the P5 is a bored-out version of the 1.8-liter that has been in the Protege lineup since 1999 -- and this engine is a derivative of the original 1.8 that powered Proteges all the way back to 1990. It's a very proven engine. I've got 33,000 miles on my 2000 ES now, and it hasn't been to the shop for anything except a CD player that I jammed and a trunk clip that I broke while shoving too big a box into my trunk one summer afternoon. My 1992 LX (top of the line Protege back then) went 83,000 miles and NEVER WENT TO THE SHOP FOR ANYTHING EXCEPT SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE. And I drove it for Pizza Hut its entire life, putting those 83,000 miles on it in only 26 months!!!

    But one of the real reasons I'm sold on these cars is this: My first Protege, a 1992 LX, went too long on a set of bald tires. I hydroplaned one August afternoon and hit the back of a stopped Volvo station wagon (aka "brick wall") going 45 mph. Totaled the car. I walked out of it. There's a pic of my totaled car, showing how well it's designed to protect you, under "Meade's Proteges" at this address:

    Keep in mind they didn't have air bags back then. This car and its apparently wimpy little, motorized passive restraint belt saved my life.

    We purchased our P5 with functionality as well as style in mind, and so far it has not let us down. With Sean and his stroller in the car, we can still go to Costco and do our week's shopping and not feel squeezed in. The seats on both of our cars are very comfortable to me -- and that's saying something. I'm 6-1 and approaching 280 pounds. And to think that I can put those seats where I like them, and then get around in the back seat and have leg room -- the space in these things beats my Dad's Buick, if you'll believe that.

    Good luck with your choice -- sure, I'm biased after four of these cars -- but I'm no dummy, and I wouldn't have just purchased my fourth Protege if prior experience hadn't convinced me that these are great little cars.

    Meade in Virginia

  • bluong1bluong1 Member Posts: 1,927
    Please let us know what kind of transmission of the P5 you test drove. There is a noticeable in performance between automatic and manual cars. The P5 will be equipped soon (April?) with an optional sportier automatic transmission.

  • southpaw1southpaw1 Member Posts: 34
    My comments on preferring the Matrix are after driving both that and the P5, all models manual. In addition I have driven the XR and the XRX. The P5 is peppy but I thought the XRS had good power and of course more power at the upper levels. I drive a very peppy MR2 now and don't want to be disappointed with a sluggish replacement.

    But...bottom line my dogs will probably prefer the bigger back seat of the Matrix. After all, isn't that what is important?
  • the_big_hthe_big_h Member Posts: 1,583
    I would figure someone that's driving a MR2 right now would put more emphasis on driving performance than cargo space when looking for a new car....

    Sounds like a Matrix XRS is on your horizon southpaw, planning to buy anytime soon?
  • rblelandrbleland Member Posts: 312
    ..for the above post. It will interesting to see this discussion topic is like in 8 or 10 months time when there are lot of Matrix owners out there. Right now, only the P5 has owners to make comments.
  • southpaw1southpaw1 Member Posts: 34
    Actually I'm only teasing when I say cargo space is more important than handling. I love a nice handling car. Hopefully the Matrix XRS won't let me down. I'd love to but I can't get another MR2 cause I need more space for my dogs.

    I have a deposit down while my dealer searches for a red XRS for me.
  • jiggerz201jiggerz201 Member Posts: 14
    Mazda Protege 5.

    Yes it was a very hard decision and the P5 come from behind to win. I figured a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. The Mazda is a known quantity which reduces a lot of the risk. Plus I enjoy driving it much more. It has much superior drving dynamics and I much prefer the cockpit. I am going to cross my fingers on the noises issue and hope for the best. Thanks to everyone for their comments and especially to matrix and mdaffron for their reassurances on cargo space and practicality with kids. Last but not least I have way more bargaining power with the dealers. For a Blue, 5spd, air conditioning, security system, cargo mat, and undercoating treatment I am offering them CDN$24000 on the road, all taxes in. That is about $1500 below msrp. So far the closest deal I have from a dealer is $24300. I am going to hold on for $24000 for another week. After that I'll be happy with $24300. Any advice?

    I got the CDN invoice price for both cars from if anyone wants them.
    Protege 5-$18477
    Matrix- $19233, I don't think this will do anyone any good for another couple of months though. The dealers won't negotiate at all.
  • nymerianymeria Member Posts: 11
    I've test driven a Protege5 automatic and a Matrix XR automatic. As far as handling and response went, the Protege5 wins hands down. As far as the space usage and design, the Matrix wins (though not by as large a margin as the Protege does on performance).

    It's all a matter of individual priorities. After test driving lots of cars, I've concluded that I need a fun drive. The Protege5 gives that plus lots of practical usability, so it's on my short list for purchase. Especially with the prospect of a Triptonic transmission on the horizon.

    Other cars on my short list: the Subaru WRX (AMAZING ride! but probably overkill for my commute) and the Acura TL (wonderful car - but a bit too large for my taste, and of course it's almost $10,000 more).

    I really think it comes down to the test drive. You have to analyze the features either before or after and figure out what the best balance is for you, but I've found a surprising number of cars that looked great on paper (or in the showroom) and were not a good ride. Others - the Protege5 included - were not nearly as impressive in the showroom, but get on the road, and it's a different story.
  • bluong1bluong1 Member Posts: 1,927
    you wrote:

    [ I really think it comes down to the test drive. You have to analyze the features either before or after and figure out what the best balance is for you, but I've found a surprising number of cars that looked great on paper (or in the showroom) and were not a good ride. Others - the Protege5 included - were not nearly as impressive in the showroom, but get on the road, and it's a different story.]

    Write on! I'm better shut myself up before someone tells that there is too many comments by P5's owners on this discussion topic.

  • rblelandrbleland Member Posts: 312
    ....but I think I have added a third choice to the P5vsMatrix dilemma - the Subaru Impreza 2.5 TS. Drove one today - strong, solid, lovely gear-box, good space in rear for Drake(dog) and pretty well-equiped. Missing cruise but has most everything else that P5/MatrixXR have. Plus, all-wheel drive and 165 HP/166 lb/ft torque. The AWD would be handy here 4 months of the yr. Yes, it is about 300#s heavier; but HP per LB is better. The styling is on the bland side. The MSRP is $1,000(Cdn)higher. But I liked it!! Am I crazy or does this make sense in light of all the above posts??
  • toyotatedtoyotated Member Posts: 11
    I've been trying to decide between the P5 and the Matrix for awhile. I've test driven both and here are my two cents:

    P5 pros - Great looks, fun to drive, decent amount of storage space, decent on gas (I'm assuming) and non-hatchback models are known for their reliability

    Matrix pros - Tons of storage space, slightly better on gas (I'm assuming), better interior, excellent sounding stereo, Toyota resale value/reliability

    P5 cons - Could use more power, slightly smaller storage and maybe it's not as good on gas as the Matrix

    Matrix cons - Could use a lot more power (the model I test drove was WEAK!), okay looking, but on the strange/ugly side, dealers want too much for the car, first year model

    All my car expert friends have told me NEVER to buy a first year model. Not even a Toyota. So I'm not sure what I'll do. I like both of the cars. My needs are good gas mileage, lots of storage space and decent looks (in that order). The Matrix seems to have the edge, but part of me doesn't want to be caught dead in it. Who knows? Maybe I'll just keep driving my 1992 Geo Metro around until it calls it quits. It only has 168,000 miles on it and is still going strong. Praise and glory be to God!
  • jiggerz201jiggerz201 Member Posts: 14
    I think a Subaru would be a great choice. They are supposed to be great cars. Some people don't like the styling but I don't mind it. I like the gritty macho rally heritage. I'd love to buy one. My impression though was that they were much more expensive.
  • jvkalrajvkalra Member Posts: 98
    I've read rumors that Honda is planning on bringing in the Civic 5 door within the next several months. We'll find out at the NY Auto Show. If that's true, it would be a compelling alternative because it will be offered with optional AWD, and has a ton of room. Plus it's a Honda. :-)
  • badtoybadtoy Member Posts: 343
    are terrific, which is why this topic demonstrates the difficulty of choosing between the two.

    Although these comments aren't new, my observations are:

    Protege5: Great looks, great handling and a much more conventional profile (good or bad depending on taste).

    On the downside, Mazdas are not renowned for reliability.

    Matrix: Great looks, decent handling and an unconventional profile (ditto above), with Toyota quality and reliability. The "first year syndrome" does not apply in this case, since the powertrain has been around for years, and Toyota's assembly quality is legendary. Resale value is assured simply on the basis of the nameplate.

    Beyond that, it is purely an emotional decision. How lucky for us that we have these two wonderful cars to choose from!!
  • TupTup Member Posts: 200
    Ok, there seems to be a Pro pro5 feeling on this forum. I am one person who drove both the Pro 5 and the Matrix and went with the Matrix. We have one 2 1/2 yr old and so we sold my wife's Mazda MX3 precidia which was a terrific vehicle. Unfortunately the dealer is 45 minutes away and has a terrible service manager! We hated getting the car serviced!

    I thought the Pro 5 looked ok and drove fine but this is a second car for us (also have a Subaru Forester S) and the Pro 5 with A/C is $21,800 or so Canadian. We wanted keyless entry and A/C along with good gas mileage for the second car. My wife has a bit of a commute and the Forester does great in the winter but mileage is poor.

    So when the Matrix came out with a Base with a "B" option package that includes power locks, keyless entry, alloy wheels. and also came standard with a CD player, rear wiper, outside temp guage....We were very happy...all for only $19,800(we actually got $600 off MSRP so 19,200) Plus it has more rear leg room than the Forester. It is also a nice height for driving...almost as high as the Forester. The looks are a little odd but getting the base car in black (no skirting) and tinting the back windows creates a great look!

    Both interiors were nice but I like the silver touches. Also, the Matrix did feel tighter and more solid. Remember it's built at a plant that has Lexus standards(rx300). One thing I didn't like on the base Matrix was the lower center console...the XR has a higher one....but then I found someone the net who works at the Ont. plant and he sent us the XR console! (advantage...Canada plant) He also told me that quality control was incredible. Plus the dealer service dept known by everyone as the best around our area...and it's only 5 minutes away. Also, the Matrix is a 2003 model that helps in retained value...and Mazda's aren't respected as well for resale here as Toyota.

    So lots of things factor into muying decisions....for us the Matrix was the best choice. As for people talking about 4 wheel disk brakes....we have had both and I find that with all the salt here in the winter that upkeep costs are much higher on rear disks.

    So drive both and consider all the factors. I think they are both fine vehicles.
  • the_big_hthe_big_h Member Posts: 1,583
    you must be the first Matrix owner posting here, please continue to provide ownership experience to others considering these cars, as our many Protege5 owners have done so already. The reason it seems like this is a pro Pro5 forum is because there's more P5 owners to provide experience right now, should even out as more people become Matrix owners... then the flame war will begin!!! j/k
  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    "... On the downside, Mazdas are not renowned for reliability." -- toyotated

    Untrue. The Protege lineup has been on EVERY consumer magazine's Best Buy list for the last 8-10 years. Some of the American (Ford) built Maxdas have been less then stellar, but the Japanese Protege's have been excellent.
  • sunbyrnesunbyrne Member Posts: 210
    Tup: Pricing and options are clearly different in Canada than they are in the U.S. You said:

    "So when the Matrix came out with a Base with a "B" option package that includes power locks, keyless entry, alloy wheels. and also came standard with a CD player, rear wiper, outside temp guage...."

    All of those except the temp gauge are *standard* on the Pro5 in the U.S., and here in the U.S., the Matrix is more expensive.

    Southpaw: Don't be too concerned about what you've heard about rattles--only the few that have them will speak up. I have about 9,000 miles on my Pro5 and haven't heard a single rattle of any kind.

    But southpaw is almost certainly right on the space--if I had a big dog that I intended to have in the back, that'd be a pretty strong argument to go for the Matrix.
  • toyotatedtoyotated Member Posts: 11
    I did not say Mazda's are not renowned for reliability. Someone else did.
  • TupTup Member Posts: 200
    The most reliable vehicle we ever owned was our 93 Mazda MX3. However, resale values of Toyota's and Honda's are always higher than Mazda' least in my area.
  • kaiwillkaiwill Member Posts: 2
    Tup -- we're waiting for our base Matrix, but we only test drove the XR with the sports package. Could you clarify a little more about the center console? How did you change the console? I thought the interiors were supposed to be very much the same in all the versions...we also opted out of the sports package getting the the car does look good without the spoilers and skirts?
  • bluong1bluong1 Member Posts: 1,927
    "On the downside, Mazdas are not renowned for reliability." - badtoy

    Woah.... that's new to me. Could you please tell us where you get this idea from? Every single critic I came accross so far raves about the quality of Protege/Protege5.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Member Posts: 4,421
    "Though Toyota says Matrix has the styling of a sports car, it acts like an economy model in terms of soft ride, a tendency to exaggerate irregular road surfaces and to lean in corners and turns, when the soft, cushy cloth seats could use larger side bolsters to better keep your body in place."

    Most of the review is positive, but I believe the above graf echoes what people are saying here: Matrix wins for cargo space, Protege5 wins for handling and sportiness.

  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    Sorry toyotated, that was "badtoy" who said that.

    re: rattles... a few people have complained about a buzzing in the pass. door which might be a loose speaker harness or something. I had it, but it went away on it's own. Other then that, the car is silent.
  • twistinmelontwistinmelon Member Posts: 90
    from Jim Mateja of the Chicago Tribune (reprinted at as cited by Meade above) is this bit:

    "Toyota expects to produce 75,000 Matrixes annually. They'll be gobbled up. Expect high demand, short supply and dealers demanding full sticker if not a premium."

    Great. If that isn't giving the dealers a license to steal I don't know what is. Now every dealership can put a photocopy of this review at each salesperson's desk and point to it as an excuse for demanding full sticker plus.

    Of course, my position is that you judge the vehicle's value apart from the vehicle's price. I will gladly pay the full sticker for the Matrix if I decide it's the best car for my family at that price level. We paid sticker for our Odyssey and consider it a bargain.

    The problem is that when they're trying to sell the Matrix at sticker plus they will be butting up against some unanticipated competition with many potential buyers. In my case, a full sticker Matrix is making me seriously consider another Accord as an alternative at the same price level.

This discussion has been closed.