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Matrix vs Impreza

jrissjriss Posts: 3
edited April 2014 in Subaru
I'm going to buy a new car this month. I want a small wagon that's good in the snow (live in Boston). I've narrowed it down to the subaru Impreza 2.5i and the Toyota Matrix. Any thoughts/suggestions/ recommendations? I'm graduating from med school and have lots of loans and will need a reliable car that will hopefully last a long time. Thanks.


  • jrissjriss Posts: 3
    An addendum: I'm considering the Matrix AWD and Impreza wagon 2.5i. Thoughts on the 2 are appreciated. Thanks!
  • jrissjriss Posts: 3
    I'm thinking about buying a Toyota Matrix AWD. I will probably want to put a gear rack on it at some point (likely ski rack, maybe kayak rack or something else). Should I have roof rails installed when I buy it? Or can I deal with that later? Thanks.
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    If you want to save money the cheaper car to buy is the Matrix. The Matrix AWD gas mileage is 26/31 compared to the Impreza 2.5i. If safety is a factor, Matrix has more available airbags and has better crash test ratings. Chances are insurance would be lower. Luggage space Matrix has 21.8 cu. ft. while Impreza has 18. Impreza has 173 horse power while Matrix has 118 both at 6000 rpms. Impreza also has 4 disc brakes while Matrix has front disc and rear drum. -Economy vs. power- Hope this helps! :)
  • tazerelitazereli Posts: 241
    i've looked at a couple of things and heres what I found.

    5 speed or 4sp. auto
    55 additional Hp
    23/30 with 5 speed or 22/28 with auto
    MSRP of $18920
    IIHS rating of good in offset frontal crash
    4-5 stars on NHTSA side and frontal crash and rollover

    4 sp auto only (deal breaker for me)
    lowest HP motor on potentially heaviset chassis
    MSRP of either 17995 or 19135 based on model
    26/31 milage as noted in another post
    IIHS rating of good in frontal offset and good if equipped with side airbags, poor without
    NHTSA ratings of 4-5 stars for frontal and side testing and rollover.

    Id say either is good depending on what youre looking for. Personally I'd go for an outback sport that has better standard equipment that the 2.5i. For me I'll sacrifice a teensy bit of fuel economy for performance every time. Especially with these two.

  • iracibleiracible Posts: 4
    Drive 'em. In particular, drive an Impreza Outback Sport.

    IMHO: The Impreza Outback Sport drives and handles like a true sports sedan... it is one of the best handling vehicles I've ever driven, including my BMW.

    I haven't driven a Prius, but I'd think it plays in a different league.
  • What about the Subaru 2.5i Wagon vs the Matrix...or is that what is being compared already?
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    relationship. People that have them love them. Subaru has a proven track record in the snow. That being said the Matrix would get the non from owners surveys as being more dependable. It has already been said you would get better fuel mileage with the Matrix and it has more room. In my own experience you have a better chance of getting a deal on a Matrix as well. But we only have one Subaru dealer in our area and they know we have to come there so they don't deal worth a darn.

    From a personal note, look under the hood and see how you would change the plugs on the Subaru. If you don't work on them yourself think about how long it would take for someone to change them for you. Remember they charge by the hour. There may be a trick to it but it looked pretty tight in the engine bay to me and the salesman didn't have a clue or at least wasn't telling me.
  • damish003damish003 Posts: 303
    I was debating this same question a few years ago, and went with the Subaru Outback Sport. Main reason? The Matrix was a fine car as a FWD, but the engine just couldn't seem to handle the extra weight of the AWD system in that version. I live in NW Pennsylvania, so a snow-worthy vehicle is important here. I can imagine the same in Boston for you. I liked the Subaru so much that I got another one for my wife last year.

    Drive an AWD version of the Matrix after driving the Subaru. Take them up a steep hill. That's my suggestion.

  • jtomjtom Posts: 26
    had a '94 impreza (does that count) for many years. I have a 03 matrix XRS. I loved the impreza,but thought i'd upgrade after 8 years of use.I want my impreza back. The handling is very good on the XRS, the stick shifter sux imo and the seats are not comfortable. There is a hair more room in the XRS than the old L wagon, but no ground clearance. It's a wash, test drive both, would never get an automatic in the impreza though. Looking to trade the matrix for a newer model outback sport though.
  • Go with the Impreza!! It's a fun drive!!!!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Well sure, but you have a WRX, a car which costs $7K more than the Matrix XR and uses 50% more gas. Not exactly apples to apples.

    I think that eons ago when this thread started, someone was thinking of getting a 2.5i or a Matrix. Then both have pros and cons. Impreza is still faster even in base form, but also uses 25% more gas because of the AWD.

    I would say Matrix has the nicer interior although neither one is at the top of its class, and of course the Matrix wins hands down for interior space as well as rear seating comfort for adults.

    Impreza has been through about four different styles in six years (including bug-eyed, squinty, just plain weird, etc), and for the most part I have preferred the Matrix's styling, although the new model that is coming late this year will finally give the Impreza looks to cheer about, even if they are slightly "Japanonymous".

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

  • I Actually Just Traded My 2006 AWD Toyota Matrix In Last Month For A 2008 Impreza Outback Sport. I Really Like The Subaru Alot More Power. Gas Mileage Hurts A Little Bit But Its Nice
  • I just spent a month going through the same choice for a small wagon to replace a 1999 Passat Wagon (did get 283,000 miles out of that one!). I had to get a monthly payment under 250 and that nixed my first choice of a Legacy Outback (now just Outback Wagon).

    I live in western Massachusetts and will not buy a car with automatic transmission (that's just a personal preference). I took a mileage cut from the Passat which had a 1.8 Turbo and got 31 on the highway (90% of my driving) but I no longer need to use Premium fuel with a normally aspirated engine. I seriously considered the Mazda3 as well as the Mini Cooper Clubman and the Matrix. The Cooper was awesome to drive -- handles like a racecar -- but I need better back seat access for adults. The Mazda dealer pissed me off by being too pushy and the street racers at the tire store ranked on it for being a Ford in disguise. I really liked the idea of getting AWD for the winter and in this price range there is no question that Subaru is the way to go with AWD - the system on the Matrix is an add-on (and not too popular from what I've seen). The smaller Matrix engine that gets the higher mileage is woefully underpowered -- I could tell as soon as I test drove on the highway. If I wanted the better power (larger engine) and AWD, the Subaru was the clear choice. My local Subaru dealer was also able to make a deal the Toyota people couldn't match. I chose the Impreza Outback Sport because for the extra $1500 you get a huge amount of value (I hated the fuzzy base seats and wanted the leather steering wheel with controls and the heated seats and the rear disc brakes and the VSC and the roof rails). I also think the 2009 Matrix (which is what they have on the lots now) is uglier. People at work have not stopped commenting on the new Impreza -- everyone likes the looks. My only dissapointment was discovering that the roof rack rails cannot be adjusted fore and aft which means my existing Thule roof box doesn't fit them. The car handles really well -- it holds tight through twisty corners. The low end power is impressive -- I am surprised how slow I can go in 4th gear and still be able to get good acceleration.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    both the Impreza and the Matrix have been updated to a new model, my opinions on Matrix v Impreza have also changed: the Impreza is the leader between the two. But unless you want a stick shift they are very close in spec now, where they didn't used to be (the Matrix used to have way less power, higher mileage, notably more space inside, there also used to be a stripped AWD model available which there isn't any more).

    I think it's a lot harder to find Toyotas with the VSC than it is to find Imprezas at dealers with VDC.

    Of course if like me you will only accept a stick shift, there's only one choice between the two! ;-)

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

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    How funny - it was a year ago I wrote that, and I have now (as of Saturday) traded my Matrix for an Impreza, specifically an Outback Sport. The new car is so much the better driver, there's no comparison with my Matrix, which was an '07. I did not test drive the new Matrix back to back though, so it may be that the new Matrix AWD is much more competitive. Basically, I would not settle for an automatic, so there was no point in checking out the Toyota.

    My new car has almost as much room inside as my old car, and way more power. It's going to be fun.

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

  • mantechmantech Posts: 28
    Farewell to your XR07, hello Japanoid made Subaru. More fun to drive than your old car but it eats more MPG. Who cares, as long you're happy with the power of this horizontally opposed engine.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Absolutely! I'm figuring extra gas costs at less than $20/month for now, and that's manageable. TOTALLY worth it given the difference in driving experience.

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

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    are hard on ALL the cars they test, but they are particularly hard on the Matrix AWD, in this comparison between it and the Impreza 2.5i: -25i-5-door/

    Some especially juicy quotes for those that like to laugh:

    The Matrix's clean, unpretentious interior styling emphasizes function. A pervasive sense of cheapness and fragility prevents its cabin from achieving rugged or utilitarian props. The Toyota's black cockpit is brightened only by acres of the hard, shiny silver plastic that ToMoCo owners have come to know and abhor.

    The AWD Matrix comes in one drivetrain flavor: a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine with a four-speed automatic transmission. Pop it in "D," arrange a sour expression on your face, mash the gas and the 158hp mill will hustle the portly (3360 lbs) Matrix about with joyless adequacy.

    The drivetrain's misère de vivre is a blessing in disguise; you weren't going to have fun driving the Matrix anyway. Unmanned aerial drones offer more steering feedback than the Toyota's over-boosted helm. The Matrix' pillow-soft suspension upholds this commitment to sensory deprivation. Body roll and understeer quickly define the limits of cornering ability (or lack thereof).

    And yet as harsh as these words are, they won't surprise anyone who has driven any Toyota but the Celica since the year 2000.

    Some of the criticisms of the Impreza are well-placed too, while others seem to me to be a bit over the top. But then again, I just bought one! :-)
    While I wouldn't call the Impreza the perfect car or anything, you only have to drive some of the other cars in its price range to be very thankful for the aspects of the Subaru that make it much more a driver's car than most of the competition.

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

  • I have had an '09 Matrix S FWD Auto for almost a year now. Went through a winter with it. Completely worthless in the snow. The "traction control" is just another word for putting the brakes on all the wheels so you come to a dead stop in 7" of snow and get stuck. I have to turn it off most of the time to avoid getting stuck (it frequently snows 6"-12" just while I'm at work before I have to commute home for the day). I used to have (#)_(#) WRX and would buy it back in a second for more than I traded it in for. No comparison, Impreza > Matrix in every way. If you are at all concerned about gas mileage, the Matrix shouldn't even be on your radar: the Fit scores #1 in nearly 100% of comparisons and gets outstanding mpg vs. the Matrix. Bottom line, I was shopping the Fit and made the very stupid decision of buying a Matrix instead because it was roomier. It's supposed to snow here even tonight (in June) so I don't know if I can even wait for Subaru to release new model info for 2010 because at the rate they're going it will be dumping 12" a day before I can find out about the new 2010 Impreza line...
  • I chose my '08 Impreza Outback Sport over the Matrix and Mazda3 last year in March and my first winter with car the car confirmed it was the right choice. I put on a set of dedicated snow tires and the performance in the snow was outstanding - I did not get stuck once and while the handling didn't quite match the summer tires, it was better than any other car I've driven in the snow. Real all-wheel drive matters.
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