Toyota Matrix vs. Mazda Protege5



  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    On the P5 that is the one thing you have to order in a package deal. Everything else is pretty good. I know in the past I've messed around trying to get a reasonably price Toyota with SOME options that I wanted and it's not possible/economical. They make you step up to the higher trim level to get some options. (things like sunroof and ABS that kind of thing) I'm not sure about the Matrix I experienced it mostly with their pickups.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    has standard A/C and CD player, which I think is pretty good for $15K, but then of course, find me one that has no added may be impossible!

    OTOH, the XR (middle) trim level has standard pdl, pw, pm as well, and keyless entry as well, and at around $16.5K I think that is a pretty good deal. Most XR's however have the sport kits with rocker sill extensions, foglamps, and extended air dams front and rear. I paid $19K for mine, which had those packages plus moonroof and alarm, all of which I wanted. At that price, I still think it is a pretty good deal for what you get.

    The simple fact is, Matrix is bigger inside than Pro5...which one you prefer seems to depend largely on whether you value that extra space or prefer a small sporty hatch. I test-drove both, and there is no way I would take four people from L.A. to San Francisco in the Pro5, for instance. For me, the space was a priority. Plus, I like the looks a little better, and where I live, Mazda dealer support is a joke, so I didn't want to get stuck with that.

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

  • thelthel Member Posts: 767
    Seems like all the Matrices around here have the large air dams that just don't appeal to me. For some reason, the body kits on the P5 just seem to fit and be in scale giving the P5 a truly sporty yet refined look. The Matrix looks to "aftermarket" for me, kinda like the Lancer that are out now. But to each their own.
  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    I personally like the look of the Vibe better than the Matrix. I don't know it just seems like the designers were trying just a hair too hard to make it look "Techno". The P5 is a little more subdued but seems to flow a little better. I don't know, looks are such a subjective thing

    I think the seats in the back of the P5 are plenty big. I've had large people that were surprised at how roomy it was. The headroom in a Matrix however is much better. I looked at the stats and it was about 2 inches taller. The leg room in back is about .9 inches better. That's no suprise though the car is about one inch longer. (GRIN) Of course the one measure that really matters is the hip room and it's not listed for the back seats for the P5. (Doh!)
  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338

    Front Headroom 39.3 in/40.6 in.
    Rear Headroom 37.4 in/39.8 in.
    Front Shoulder Room 53.9 in/53.2 in.
    Rear Shoulder Room 53.4 in/52.6 in.
    Front Hip Room NA/51.7 in.
    Rear Hip Room NA/47.8 in.
    Front Leg Room 42.2 in/41.8 in.
    Rear Leg Room 35.4 in/36.3 in.

    **Maximum Luggage Capacity 19.8 cu.ft/21.8 cu.ft. Maximum Seating 5/5
  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    i just looked at the stats for the Subaru Legacy Wagon (the next car I was going to buy my wife) and Both the Matrix and the P5 beat it in rear legroom!

    It only has 34.3in of legroom. Of course it also has 34cu.ft of lugage space.
  • maltbmaltb Member Posts: 3,572
    Mazda dealer support is a joke, so I didn't want to get stuck with that.

    I agree, they are down there with Toyota.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Member Posts: 1,696
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    in a 20-mile vicinity of my house:

    Toyota - 5

    Mazda - 1

    Went to buy oil filters at my Mazda dealership for a short time I owned an RX-7 - they did not stock them, and had to be ordered. Same for every single thing I ever needed for that car.

    Took that same car there for routine service, they managed to screw up a tune-up/tire rotation.

    This may just be a phenomenon related to the individual dealers in my area, but on the flip side I will say that for a short time I had a 1969 Toyota Corona I was working on, and whenever I needed parts for it, they could be special ordered in a day. And when I needed oil filters and the like, they had them!

    Until Mazda puts more of a focus on the quality of their dealerships - that is sales, parts, AND service - their cars are going to have to be the most rip-snortin'est, far and away the best cars around for me to buy one.

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

  • maltbmaltb Member Posts: 3,572
    within 20 miles of me -

    Mazda 8
    Toyota 20

    I don't know what the story was with your RX but here in So Calif, their parts warehouses are walking distance from each other and they both offer one day part orders.

    According to surveys I've read, all the non-luxury Japanese brand dealers do a poor job of customer service; Toyota is no exception.
  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    It couldn't have had anything to do with the fact that you had a Rotary engine at all. (GRIN)

    It's funny initially when I bought my P5 I didn't have any Mazda dealerships really close. Since then 2 have popped up within 6 miles or so. I've had good luck with service with the dealership I bought my car from but they went out of their way to sc**w you on price.

    The only Toyota dealership I ever went to I vowed I would never go back. The salesman were such dorks that I gave up on them entirely. Years later I still won't go back.
  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    My nearest Mazda dealer is about an hour and a half away. But I have a great, local independent who does my services when I can't do them myself.

    With a year and 24k miles on my P5, I haven't ned a SINGLE repair or adjustment.

    {looks for some wood . . .}
  • the_big_hthe_big_h Member Posts: 1,583
    um.... no comment...
  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    hahahaha! Get your mind out of the gutter TBH! :-D
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Member Posts: 932
    I like the more modern jewel tail lights of the Matrix compared to the older type of the Vibe.
  • drive10drive10 Member Posts: 6

    You can now get a supercharger for the vibe and I assume toyota will be offering soon also. The low end low rpm torque will be welcome.

  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    After finally driving a base Vibe I found I didn't like it at all. The seats are so squishy I feel like i'm going to fall off my perch every time I round a corner. I was looking at it to replace my wifes car. I own a Protege5 and we are almost ready to buy another one except for one small detail. You can't tow ANYTHING with a Protege5. At least with the Vibe/Matrix you can tow up to a 1000lbs. We don't want to tow a boat just a small utility trailer every once and a while. However my wife didn't like it and neither did I. Too bad though. It's got plenty of good features
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    I don't know if I'd want to do that.
  • bluong1bluong1 Member Posts: 1,927
    I don't tow anything at all so I do not pay attention much on this feature, but does someone know what prevent the P5 to tow?
  • maltbmaltb Member Posts: 3,572
    The P5 owners manual says not to tow anything, so if you do, you could have warranty problems.

    Raymond (meinrad on here) has a Hidden Hitch on his P5 that he uses for a bike rack. I think he said the place that installed it said it could be used for towing, but I don't know what the limit is. Maybe he'll pop-up in here with his comments.
  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    I'm not sure I'd want to be towing much of anything with a compact FWD car.

    Have you considered the new Forester? It's towing capacity is 2400 lb (with 5-sp manual) or 2000 lb (with 4-sp automatic) with a maximum tongue weight of 200 lb.

    The handling is very good (though not P5-good) the flat-4 is a nice match to the manual tranny and AWD. Plenty of cargo room too.

    Keep the options down and you should be able to get into one for around $20k. Worth a look.
  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    The manual has an entire page devoted to one sentence. Here's a quote (from memory). "Don't ever tow anything with your Protege5" The rest of the page is blank. (GRIN)

    The trailer I want to get is justa light weight utility trailer. You know, trips to home depot for a couple of sheets of plywood that kind of thing. I sure as heck wouldn't try to tow more than a couple of hundred pounds with a vibe. But at least it has the option.
  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    The problem with the forester is that it's kinda tight on the drivers space. Also right now it's a new car and it's running for a premium price. I found out that my lease isn't up for another 8 monthes so I don't have to replace her car just yet. Maybe by then I'll be able to look at a Forester. They are a bit more expensive as well with the features that I want.
  • maltbmaltb Member Posts: 3,572
    I was going to get a P5 and put a hitch on it so I could tow my dirt bike (with trailer - 500#). However, I changed my mind and opted to order a Mazda6. Hopefully, somebody will have a hitch out for that soon.
  • bluong1bluong1 Member Posts: 1,927
    There is an accessory for towing with the Protege Sedan:

    But I couldn't find anything for the P5. May be there is no strong secure place to put it on?


  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    It's really not recomended to tow anything with any protege. AT least as far as I've read.

    Maybe the manufacturer doesn't want to deal with towing when it comes to warranty work. I mean towing isn't exactly easy on the tranny especially if it wasn't designed for it.
  • cdnp5cdnp5 Member Posts: 163
    When I was in Colorado (Vail area) I saw a P5 with two bikes on top plus pulling a small Uhaul trailer behind it driving through the mountains. He didn't look like he was slowing any though. I'm sure the P5 could pull a small utility trailer but I would tell my dealer that the hitch is for my bikes though.

  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    Exactly. Maybe I'll do it after my warranty runs out. (GRIN) Of course I've seen a Cadillac Deville towing a HUGE boat. Didn't seem to be bothered by it at all.
  • mikusmikus Member Posts: 109
    This weekend I drove Protege5 and Matrix XR/XRS, all the three, of course, with manual gearbox. If you interested about my Matrix impression, you can check it here: Matrix vs. Protege5 Here I will repost some notes and elaborate on others.

    The steering wheel feedback on Protege5 feels almost like computer joystick... err, "joy wheel". You can turn it 1/8 of an inch from neutral position and you feel immediate feedback.

    The Protege seating was OK. I mean, after you managed to get inside, the position is fine. But because of the lower height the seats are positioned very low, so to get in and out is a separate task.

    Protege dashboard looks classic and nice. Some may say that it is outdated, but I say that it feels like at home. I prefer the classic approach of pilot's cabine than Matrix's funky style. At least Toyota did not put instrumentation on the Matrix in the middle like on Echo.

    Protege has much better shifter and brakes feels better too. When driving Matrix I always had a feeling that I would not be able to stop the car. Maybe the numbers are good, but the feeling is not.

    It is harder for passengers to get on the rear seat in Protege. And there is no much space for their feet under front seats, because front seats are very close to the floor.

    Protege has the same hard plastic on the dashboard which makes me wonder why even outdated Cavalier has soft plastic and Protege/Matrix/ZX5 do not?

    The steering wheel on Protege does not seem to be that small, like it feels on Matrix. After driving Protege I did not remember any peculiarities about the wheel, the shifter or the pedals, which is, probably, the best compliment to the car.

    The worst thing inside is the rear seat, in particular, the way it folds. To prepare the trunk for a TV set or a bike one needs to pull seat cushions, fold them, take off headrests, and finally fold the seatback. Now one needs to find where to store the headrests and the old-fashioned two-piece trunk cover. Also, the seatbelt for the middle passenger in the rear is strapped to C pillar and looks odd. While folded, seats provide for great luggage space, but front seat does not fold like on Matrix. By the way, euro-Focus now got the availability of folding front passenger seat, like Matrix.

    Outside Protege5 gets the gen-Y treatment with front and rear underbody spoilers and side plastic skirt. While this plastic stuff could be ripped off from Matrix' bumpers, it is the solid piece on Protege5. One have to replace the bumpers as a whole to get clean 323F euro-look. Side markers also contribute in ruining Protege apperance. Ugly piece of amber plastic popping out of the bumper surface. To improve an apperance bigger wheels with smaller ET would do the job.

    Looks like carmakers do not like to paint cars: both Protege5 and Matrix has door frames covered with black glue-on thin plastic. Take a closer look on your car. For Matrix black frames are not available on base version.

    Protege drives very nice and enthusiastically waves its rear if getting of the accelerator in sharp turn.

    But with all rigidity Mazda claim about, Protege gets pretty bad crash test scores. Matrix should be much better: it is a newer car and is build on bulletproof Corolla platform.

    Protege 2-liter engine is both more potent than base Matrix motor, and revs happily, almost like XRS powerplant.

    So... If not for rear seat quirky folding algorithm and poor crash test scores, Protege5 is way better and cheaper choice for a spirited driver. Matrix in its current form is just a hungry new kid on the block (27mpg on a highway for XRS -- the same as my 3-liter Camry). Its versatility is the main selling point.
  • boggseboggse Member Posts: 1,048
    The reason we are seeing a resurgence of hard plastic on dashes is that front air-bags make the need for soft dashes irrelevant. I personally don't really care what it is made of as long as it doesn't make noise. I had a very nice looking soft-touch dash in my 2000 Jetta. Unfortunately, it rattled and creaked like a 1960s body-on-frame classic. Give me not-too-ugly and quiet any day.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    welllll...that, and it is a lot cheaper for car manufacturers! Personally, I hate it, but as mikus said, it is turning up everywhere now, so there aren't a whole lot of choices. I like soft touch materials inside a car.

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

  • boggseboggse Member Posts: 1,048
  • chuyler1chuyler1 Member Posts: 2
    Just purchased a new MP5. And I am perfectly fine with not being able to tow. My previous car was a 1990 Grand Marquis.

    Last summer I hauled everything my girlfriend and I had stockpiled from our apartment at college to our houses. I had the front and back seat filled, the trunk loaded with light weight stuff like pillows and what not, and the midsized Uhaul on the back loaded to the top with heavy stuff like furniture, speakers, and who knows what else. I had so much stuff I felt guilty passing the weigh station!

    Anyway, even though the car burned oil and wouldn't stay in overdrive, my girlfriend in her 2000 Corolla couldn't keep up with me. I was cruising at 65-70 up and down the hills on the Mass Pike. And her car was empty! Moral of the story? If you want to tow, you don't buy a commuter car, because even the oldest of full size sedans can do the job better.
  • ashutoshsmashutoshsm Member Posts: 1,007
    ... but when you're ready to give up on the ability to tow and want something that's a little (lot!) more fun to drive, and still pretty functional and roomy inside, something in flavor Protege is your best bet :)
  • iwphilliwphill Member Posts: 48
    Towing capacity w/Matrix is 1500 lbs, not 1000.
  • tallstetsontallstetson Member Posts: 5
    ...but nobody else seemed to mention. I drove a Vibe before I bought the P5 (which I love dearly), and the location of the gearshift was INTENSELY uncomfortable. Not only was it a very long reach, but the throw distance between gears was VERY short, so it felt like I had to fully extend my arm to reach the lever, but then barely flick my wrist to change gears. I suppose I could get used to that over time, but it was incredibly uncomfortable. I'm 5'10" and a moderate build, has anyone else noticed this?
  • stillageekstillageek Member Posts: 114
    I have grown accustomed to having the shifter close by. I have a Matrix XRS and feel the shifter and the throw are great. Whenever I drive my spouses 5 speed Vue I feel like I am driving an old truck. The throw is long and the shifter feels like it's out of place (even though I know every other vehicle has it there save the Matrix/Vibe and Civic Type R).
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