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Toyota Matrix vs. Mazda Protege5



  • Hi rbleland! Sorry if I came across too strong/bitter in #28 :) Actually, I was the one who started this discussion just a few days ago because of the fact that I had so much trouble with making this decision :) I don't yet own a P5; I'm just basing opinion off what I've researched and experienced in driving both cars. Again, I want to emphasize that this is my opinion only. I am a 25 y/o student who is looking for something practical yet fun and stylish. I cannot emphasize how much I was waiting for the Matrix XR to come out...thus my SN of Matrix2003. All along, the XR was advertised to be the "affordable" car geared towards younger buyers. However, when the car is "popularly" equipped, the price jumps out of the range of most younger buyers. Part of me is really pissed off honestly, and I feel like Toyota is not providing exactly what was advertised for so long. For me, around US $15,500 (negotiated price+rebates), I can get a nice Pro5 w/ auto, moonroof, and alarm. So what incentive is there to pay around US $19,000 (MSRP) for a car with fewer options as listed in #28????

    Living in Canada, it seems like you might have a tougher time making this decision if you have things like cruise control and wheels included, AND the price is more comparable. [Makes me want to come visit you up in Canada, eh? he he :) ] It is amazing that 1 company can make cars so very different for 2 countries!!?!?!?
  • This was a tough decision for me as well. I drove both and was impressed by both for different reasons. I'm 26 and I was looking for something more practical then a sedan, yet something that was sporty and that I would actually enjoy driving.

    IMO, the Matrix is more utility then sport, and the P5 is the opposite. The Matrix is roomier, has a more flexible interior, a better powertrain warranty, better fuel economy, and probably better resale as it is a Toyota.

    The P5 to me is defintely better looking, has slightly more power, has rear disc brakes, was about $700 cheaper, and had much sportier steering and suspension. Also, dealer's are coming off of MSRP now that it has been out for a while, and Mazda is offering special financing.

    I chose the P5 because it's important for me to get some driving satisfaction out of my vehicle. It looks better to me and it's room is plenty for my needs. However, if I really needed the extra space and put less value on the driving experience, I would not have hesitated to buy the Matrix.

    Good luck with your decision
  • rblelandrbleland Posts: 312
    This is getting interesting!! First, matrix2003, no apology is necessary, as I said we are all entitled to our opinions. That's part of what makes it great to live in the U.S. and Canada (but not France where they tell you how to judge). I confirm that the warranty on the Matrix in Canada is "basic complete car" - 36/60,000KM (36000 miles) w 60/100,000 (62,000mi)on power train. The P5 warranty is 36/80,000KM on basic and same as Matrix on power train. So, P5 basic warranty is better. I have one question - where is U.S. model P5 built as this site (Edmunds)says P5 built in St.Louis, Missouri. The Canadian P5 is built in Japan. Matrix2003, I understand your feelings about Toyota and their advert. to younger people. It sounds like the MSRP spread is much greater in the U.S. than here; plus your Matrix XR is not as well equiped as mine. Makes it easier for you to favor the P5. The MSRP in Canada on the P5 is $21,920; the XR is $21,980 - both in Canada dollars (worth only about 61cents U.S.) That includes freight, prep, tax on air conditioner (Jeez!), etc. Maryboo19, good post - you are correct in that the XR is probably more utility than sport (remember my 120# dog has to fit behind the rear seats!) There is more room back there in the XR, no question. Also, headroom greater. I still quibble over the best "appearance" but that is the most subjective call there is. For both of you, I think you are more "sports-oriented" than I and I need some "sport" with utility. Remember, I am down-sizing from a 2000 4Runner (not real sporting!). I am also of a different demographic than either of you. I am 57, and have had somewhere around 40 vehicles since age 16. The XR or P5 is also the second car for my wife and I. We also have a V6 Toyota Solara coupe which is a great car. I have about 2 weeks until I have to make the final choice but am still leaning to the XR. My P5 deal is still alive and I have not totally ruled it out. I did have a '94 Protege w 102 HP engine, it was a great car and I gave it to my son who still has it. Maybe the P5 feels a lot like my '94 and I want something new?? One other thing in favor of the P5 for me is a much better interest rate on the lease. But in the end, it will come down to that old subjective call - which one works/feels best for me. Cheers.
  • the_big_hthe_big_h Posts: 1,583
    The information on Edmunds is wrong.

    Check the VIN if you want to be sure, all Japan-made cars start with a 'J'.
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    I have a Pro5 and love it.

    Built in Japan of 95% Japanese parts. 100% Mazda designed and built. They've been building it for other markets for years in that factory so they have any bugs worked out. I wouldn't buy a first model year car, even a Toyota.

    Other that that, I agree that the Matrix offers more space, and the P5 offers more sport. So it's really up to you to get what works best for you.

    Personally, I took the sportier, lower priced alternative coupled with Mazda's 4.9% financing. Unbeatable combination for my needs... 10k happy miles.
  • riopelleriopelle Posts: 132
    Anyone considering the Ford ZX5 alongside the Matrix and Pro5? Another 130hp 2.0l, 170" long, modern 5-door for around $18K - the three are peas in a pod. One can get traction control and leather as options on the ZX5, the handling is supposedly sublime and a standard 6-disk changer is awesome. On the other hand, Ford quality can't touch the Japanese, which puts the Pro5 over the Matrix too. Car and Driver should do a 5-door shoot out, and bring the Elantra GT and Golf along to fill out the 4 and 5 slots...
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    There are small 5-door cars all over the place now. The differences in suspension and standard features and prices are fairly large. These little cars aren't fun to me unless I can really push them in corners so suspension is important. The P5 sounds like it has a sophisticated suspension with multilink & separate struts and coils at all points plus front strut tower braces. The ZX5's suspension sounds pretty good too, though not as sophisticated as that of the P5. I'm not as sure about the Aerio's mac struts in all 4 corners or the rear torsion beam in the Matrix/Vibe. That said, real world performance matters more than theoretical limits so I guess I'll have to test drive a few to see how they feel.

    I'm not shopping hard yet so I'd certainly welcome a new 5-door shootout from Edmunds or someone else. That way I can save myself a test run/hard sell or two.
  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    Add standard side air bags, a really functional and proper height center arm rest and dual stage console, excellent driver leg room, lumbar support, trip computer, heated side mirrors, leather upholstery, a 5/60, 10/100 warranty, rear intermittent wipers and variable intermittent front wipers, 4 passenger assist grips, and the availability of traction control in addition to ABS, and voila!....the Elantra GT...for a lot less money. 20,000 miles and loving it. Good Luck!
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    that badge on the back that is standard as well and says Hyundai.
  • He he....just when we thought the XR vs. P5 was a tough enough battle, now we've added others into the mix?!? I REALLY HOPE SOMEONE IS GETTING WORD TO CAR AND DRIVER ALREADY!!! A shootout would certainly be nice, but as riopelle eluded to, we are starting to compare apples and oranges when we throw american and korean cars into the japanese mix....

    rbleland....good luck with whatever you decide and be sure to keep up posted! :)
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    I was VERY dissapointed when I drove by my Toy dealer. Good heavens! Like toyota needs another ugly minivan.
  • Probably has the most room out of all of them, and the 2.4L engine makes good power and torque. Also, reliability is said to be quite good, and Chrysler is now offering a standard 7yr/100K powertrain warranty and a $1000 rebate.

    I looked at it, thought it looked/drove OK, but it wasn't really my cup of tea. Comparably equipped to the P5, it was about $40 more per month. The PT was third on my list after the P5 and Matrix XR.

    I'd like to see someone do a comparo with:
    Protege 5
    Matrix XR (or Vibe)
    PT Cruiser
    Elantra GT
    Focus ZX5
    Golf GLS 2.0
    Impreza Outback Sport wagon

    Whoever wins, I think it would cause a lot of controversy on these forums!!
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    Protege 5
    Matrix XR (or Vibe)
    PT Cruiser
    Elantra GT
    Focus ZX5
    Golf GLS 2.0
    Impreza TS Wagon

    That would be a really good comparo. Must have 5-doors, cap cost at $19k or so and see which one is the best! :-D
  • rblelandrbleland Posts: 312
    maryboo19 and Sporin - like your lists for future comparisons. I might suggest that the Subie Outback Sport might be too pricey (at least in Canada); might have to use the Impreza 2.5TS wagon. Here, the price of it is only slightly higher than the XR or P5.
    maltb - now that's what I call a very subjective comment!!! I guess that means you won't be lining up for a Matrix or did I miss something here?
  • riopelleriopelle Posts: 132
    Hi again all. Great list for comparison. I think the PT cruiser just isn't tuned enough for sport to warrant inclusion. It's a fine car (my brother-in-law has one), but it really is a highway cruiser, and the price goes through the roof with any options. Now who has a connection to Car and Driver?? :-) They should have been on this already, but based on their recent Budget Bandito and Hot Hatch comparisons, I predict the finish order and reasons:

    1. Pro5 - has the handling and refinement.
    2. ZX5 - a complete package, except no redline, and a stupid light that tells you when to shift.
    3. Matrix - Toyota reliability (and a power outlet! joke.)
    4. Elantra GT - the budget bargain, but still a Hyundai.
    5. 2.5TS - no cruise? no moonroof? c'mon.
    6. Golf (or Jetta wagon?)- VW handling is just awful nowadays.

  • stragerstrager Posts: 308
    and my list looks like:

    Civic 5 door
    Pro5 and ZX5 (tie)
    Matrix XR

    followed by the rest. I read a blurb in Motor Trend that the Civic 5 door will be here late this year or early next year. And it will be priced sensibly like all Hondas.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    Am I the only person who noticed the new Suzuki 5-door, the Aerio? Just wondering why it isn't on anyone else's list. It has 141hp/135lb-ft of torque, digital guages, fully loaded it seems quite price competitive, etc.
  • In all sincerity, how can anyone compare a Ford with the likes of Honda, Toyota, and Mazda?????? And just out of curiosity, since the majority seems to prefer P5 over the Matrix, does anyone have anything objective(other than 115V outlet *smirk*) that puts the XR over the Pro5???
  • sunbyrnesunbyrne Posts: 210
    Well, the Matrix has more interior space, right? That might be in its favor for some. And the Matrix is available with a 180hp engine, which the P5 is not, though one can debate the power here since the relevant Matrix engine doesn't produce much torque, and has to be revved pretty far to deliver what it does deliver. But it certainly has more high-end than the P5.
  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    but wish they would do something with the 2ZZ engine to give it more torque, and design the gearbox so provide more linear power, like in the old AE86s.
  • 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 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 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 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 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 Posts: 132
    Just curious Sporin, is that something you've seen online? Got a link? Thanks much.
  • SporinSporin 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."


  • hpulley4hpulley4 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 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???
This discussion has been closed.