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All-New 2009 Toyota Matrix



  • ecotrklvrecotrklvr Posts: 519
    Just drove a 1.8 Auto today. I had driven one before, but just around the block. Today was on the local Toll Road, up to 82 mph. (to test the OC to San Diego Run speeds I often need to take for work). Also for an occasional banzai run to SFO.


    - Steering light, with nice feel. As others have reported, not much feedback, but overall a nice handler.
    - Solid feel over swells and bumps.
    - Smooth. Engine very quiet at idle - no steering wheel shake or interior vibration. Impressive.
    - Got up to 80 mph easily. I was flat road, though. I didn't floor it, but let the revs build at 3/4 throttle. Again, smooth. I set the cruise at 80, and the mild hill we climbed didn't faze the cruise - it downshifted when it needed to. Seemed less thrashy at this throttle setting than the 2.4 Matrix I drove, and the 2.4 Highlander I own.
    - Roomy and comfortable driver's cockpit. Seat has height adjust and good legroom. The tele-adjustable steering wheel makes it more comfortable to drive than my Highlander.
    - Bottle holders in the door pockets. Look useful. Middle tray/cupholder also simple but useful looking.
    - Pretty cheesy cargo cover. Kinda like a collapseable sun cover for your windshield, with 4 clips to hold to the sides (2 pairs on each side) and a 5th clips to a post of the middle headrest. Effective at hiding stuff, but: Cheap. Not very sturdy looking. But, probably cheap to replace when it tears/breaks.
    - Roof is low enough for easy loading of bikes with the optional screw-down rack. I do wonder if the rack is going to be noise-free without the bikes, or whether I'll need to keep putting it on and taking it off. Anyone have any experience with earlier Matrices?

    I'm hoping to drive a 5-speed version soon. If it's a slick shifter, and the clutch is right, I'll get the manual - here in California, we all have to be hands-free on our phones by July anyway. Might as well enjoy the drive. No room for mid-life 2nd sports car around here...

    Other things on the radar - 2009 Subaru Forester, and 2009 Mazda 3 Hatch. First is less than 30 days away, and the other....?
  • cryspycryspy Posts: 5
    Thanks for the detail review.
    I guess the Vibe 1.8L Auto will be about the same as the matrix.
    It really sounds good!!
    Soon i will forget the Versa HB CVT 2008 which was my first choice till now.

    Do you remember what was the rpm at 80 mph?
  • ecotrklvrecotrklvr Posts: 519
    Nuts! Forgot to note the revs. It wasn't thrashy, in any case. I'm foggily recalling 3200 RPM, but not at all sure.

    I usually drive 75 mph on the freeway, except when in a huge rush or EVERYONE is passing me. I-5 South to San Diego is like that in spots. With two of us aboard, this would be easy. Add 2 more bodies, and some hills - well, we'll see.
  • cryspycryspy Posts: 5
    Sounds good!
  • griswaldgriswald Posts: 33
    Its great your mechanic can devise a way to overcome the lack of sufficient camber adjustment, maybe there's a new technique to do that. I recall there being some limited camber adjustment on our Corolla but our local Toyota dealer couldn't sufficiently adjust the camber to bring it back to Toyota's specs. - which is the main reason we sold it. So the question remains,- can anyone verify if the new Matrix/Vibes have proper camber adjustment? If not, I hope future owners don't encounter the number of winter potholes we get around here in SW Ontario.
  • alexisdalexisd Posts: 2
    I bought an 09 Matrix in February and I've noticed a few small problems. I'm wondering if any other owner has noticed the same? This is my first Toyota so I'm not sure what it normal. It's the XR Base, automatic with the 5 speed selector.

    I live in Niagara Falls Canada, and it gets pretty cold here. I noticed that my windshield wipers tend to freeze to the windows when it's really cold and snowing, and the ice really chunks up and sticks the the wiper blades. It's never happened with my other cars, so I don't know what it is.

    Also, lately I've noticed it takes a little longer for the engine to turn over when I'm starting the car. It seems to start fine in cold weather, but takes longer as the day warms up. I find it a little weird, but maybe I'm just not turning the key all the way. I'm always afraid that I will set off the panic alarm since the remote is in the key, unlike my other cars.

    Is it possible for the music volume to increase as the speed does, and lower itself when the car slows down. I am positive this is happening in my car, but then again, it may just be a coincidence that the radio reception goes out in places, but I thought I'd ask.

    Lastly, I find within the first 2 minutes of driving time, when I'm stopped at a street light or stop sign, it feels like the car is chugging. Not a lot, but enough to notice a little bit of a shake. After a few minutes, it stops doing it, so I'm not sure what this could be. Is it normal for Matrix's and other Toy's? I've tried warming up the car for 5 minutes when it's colder out, but it makes no difference.

    Overall I love the car, but I've always been a fan of the Matrix. If anyone has any insight, I'd appreciate it greatly!
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,030
    I was excited when I heard the Matrix would be all new for '09. We currently own a minivan, but with our kids growing up and moving out, our need for a minivan may be fading so we may be looking to downsize a bit without totally giving up the utility of a minivan.

    The '09 Matrix is a more attractive looking vehicle than it's predessessor, but Toyota may have missed the mark in several key areas. While I haven't driven a Matrix yet, most people who have say the 1.8 liter vesion is a bit underpowered, and the 2.4 liter version is not very good in terms of fuel economy. A vehicle of this size and weight should do much better on gas. In fact, from what I've seen so far, considering price, fuel economy, and everything else in general, I'd be hard pressed to choose a Matrix over a Mazda 3 wagon. The 3 is much better looking, from the reviews I've read it drives and handles better, has more interior space, and is a bit less expensive. Fuel economy for the 2.3 liter version is about the same too. The only real advantage the Matrix has over the 3 that I can see is its rear seats fold completely flat, whereas the 3's rear seats fold down to a slight angle.

    I really don't know what's going on with designers these days. They have to be aware of a given vehicle's shortcomings when they're putting through their paces before they go into production, and yet they produce them with the shortcomings anyway. Either they just don't care, or there's only so much improvements they can make with a given model.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Yes, the radio can rise in volume as your speed increases, then quiet down again when you stop. I believe it is adjustable as one of the settings like bass and treble.

    The engine runs at high rpms for the first couple of minutes after a cold start, and that is probably the chugging you are feeling. If the engine is actually rising and falling in revs (look at the tachometer to check) then you might want to have the dealer check it out.

    As for long cranking/slow starting when the car is warmer, that was a trait of the old model with the 1.8, and since you have essentially the same 1.8 I would not be surprised that this trait has continued into the '09s.

    bottgers: I agree, for an "all new" model, it is a fairly mild update. The only substantial change is the availability of the 2.4L powertrain. And some of the little changes are negative ones, like losing the opening glass in the back hatch.

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

  • loudog2loudog2 Posts: 83
    We just picked up an 2009 matrix S AWD today. It drives a whole lot better than our old 2004 XR AWD. I like the new look of the body and wheels. The extra 50hp is noticable. It's got a little zip to it now. The ride seems quieter. Headlights are better. The only draw back is that I hit my knee on the passenger side. I'm 6'3" and my knee hits where the shifter area sticks out by my left leg on the passenger side.. Other than that, I like it.
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,030
    Didn't your '04 have a 1.8 liter engine? If so, I believe it was rated at 130 HP. Your '09 has the 2.4 which is rated at 158 HP. That's a difference of 28 not 50 HP. Still noticeable though. I stopped at a Toyota dealership yesterday and looked at some the new '09's and I think they're way overpriced. Both the S and XR models were priced at 23 and 24K. I'm sorry, but these are 15k-18k vehicles even in the top trim levels. There's no way I'd pay over 20K for one of these cars. Toyota is pricing themselves right out of the market.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    Scions seem like a much better value at their prices, but the xB only gets a 4-speed automatic, has uncomfortable flip down armrests in front and many people don't like the styling
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Remember, the old Matrix AWD had a downrated engine due to the complexity of the exhaust curving around the AWD hardware. So it was rated at 123 hp. Technically, the new model has 35 hp more. ;-)

    And the new one still has a 4-speed auto even though all the FWD models with the 2.4 get a 5-speed auto, That kinda sucks. Was it cost or 5-speed incompatibility with the AWD that led Toyota to do this? I am thinking incompatibility with the AWD, as the same is true in the RAV4. With the current push for fuel economy in all models, Toyota ought to figure out real quick how to stick the 5-speed auto in these AWD models.

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

  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,030
    I was wondering the same thing about the trannies.
  • loudog2loudog2 Posts: 83
    sorry buddy! typo. I was thinking the horsepower(158) and got 50 stuck in my head. I meant 30hp or to be exact 28.
  • loudog2loudog2 Posts: 83
    I can't believe the rav4 fully loaded is as 4k less than a fully loaded highlander. I think prices in general are going up. My 2004 4runner woould be 2k higher today with the same options. Our 2004 matrix xr awd was stickered at $22,100, this one we got was stickered at $24.334. It's almost the same car. But now side airbags, vcs and traction control is included.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Hey, you know what else? That 123 hp rating I mentioned for the old Matrix AWD was before the SAE revisions. Back then the Camry engine was rated at 165 hp, only dropping to 158 after the change in computation procedure.

    So technically the new Matrix AWD has 42 more hp than the old model! I think it's also put on like 200 pounds, so part of the power increase will get lost to weight gain.

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

  • diva2008diva2008 Posts: 10
    I am about to receive my 09 Corolla Matrix and my ? is this. Do you recommend that I have Toyota put in the Remote Engine Start or can I go to an outside vendor and have it done? I had a Toyota Tercel for 16 years, so I am truly new to the game of new car purchases with all the bells and whistles.

    I purchased the Sundance Metallic with FE,AA,CL,SR,VS,EJ,SP, Please advise.
  • I had the dealership do it before taking delivery. If it is installed at the time of purchase then it is covered under the warranty for 3 years.

    If you take it to another vendor, they'll do it but if its installed incorrectly it could damage your engine. I'm sure it doesn't happen often but I had techs refuse to do it on my previous car.

    I've made my matrix (base model 09) for a month and I really enjoy it. The remote start is nice in the winter as well as the heated side mirrors.. I live in Michigan.. the car warms up quickly (well to me).
  • diva2008diva2008 Posts: 10
    Thank you for the immediate response. My intuition was to have the dealership install it for that exact reason - warranty coverage. I live in New York so to have the car somewhat warm in the winter and cooled off in the summer is great.

    Did you put in the dealership alarm system as well?
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    It will probably will be better to have a Toyota dealer do it, but there is no reason you can't shop the price around several dealers. You don't have to get it at the dealer you bought from. The dealer you purchased the car from may have the highest prices even compared to other Toyota dealers.
    I have had wildly different quotes from different dealers for everything from a 30,000 mile service to installing accessories.
  • I just got the standard alarm that came with it, not the added on vehicle intrusion program. The steering wheel automatically locks when you turn the car off. Nice feature.

    These cars aren't on the most stolen list and actually the vibe is listed as one of the least stolen ones.
  • diva2008diva2008 Posts: 10
    Thank you again for your imput. Point taken
  • I saw the 2009 Matrix on television (Motorweek). The new styling is nice but I still like the original design, too. I have a 2003 XR with automatic.

    I'm not liking what I'm reading about the 2009 Matrix, though. I'm not happy about the decreased fuel economy with the mid-range model due to the 2.4L engine. Apparently, the new model is heavier, too, which I consider a design failure.

    According to Toyota's own website, I can get a base 1.8L with the options that I really want (automatic, power locks, remote entry, power windows). I wonder how hard it will be to find this package in the real world, though. I'm assuming that the four-speed automatic has overdrive but I couldn't find any mention of it so far.

    Also, according to Toyota's site, the base 1.8L model does not have the fold-down front passenger seat! Why? I use this feature in my current Matrix all the time for carrying longer loads. I'm also disappointed that the tie-downs are no longer on rails. And no liftglass? The liftglass was a great way to access cargo without letting my dog out of the car at the same time or to carry extra-long items.

    I'm only seeing two improvements: telescoping steering wheel (nice) and doors that lock automatically after the car is in motion (does anyone really care about this feature?). I don't really consider the 2.4L engine an improvement since it's not optional for the mid-range S.

    I bought my 2003 Matrix for two reasons: cargo and fuel economy. It didn't hurt that I like the way it looks. The 2009 Matrix appears to be inferior where it counts even though it looks nice. I guess I'll be holding on to my 2003 for a bit longer. Hopefully, Toyota will make some changes in the new Matrix soon. If not, I may have to start looking elsewhere for my next car.
  • Most of the cars in inventory all included an auto transmission, power package, the all weather package and cruise control and the sport ones included the moonroof and upgraded radio. The dealership said that's how Toyota was sending them out. But since these models have only been on sale since February maybe they will start taking factory orders. I have never bought a Toyota before so I don't know if they are real reluctant to do factory orders (previous cars were Saturns) and it would take 2 months.

    I did only go to two different dealerships though, but they had there inventory listed online. Some of the base ones were being sold before they got to the dealership...
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    They Matrix and Vibe don't have much of an overdrive 4th gear. It revs pretty fast at freeway speeds even compared to the same powertrain in the new Corolla.
    It really needs a 5th gear if you plan to drive it at highway speeds very much.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Of course, the S and XRS automatic models have the 2.4L engine standard and therefore the 5-speed auto from the Camry.

    It is only the base models with the 1.8 and the models with AWD that have a 4-speed auto.

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

  • loudog2loudog2 Posts: 83
    Yes the MPG'S are down a little. Compared to our old 2004 XR AWD, I think the 2.4l S AWD is a lot better. Now we have abs standard, vsc, traction control. side airbags, 5 speed tran and a little more hp. So there are more than 2 improvements. If I'm not mistaken, the abs brakes was only availible with the xr awd in 2004. I might be wrong.
  • diva2008diva2008 Posts: 10
    I had to purchase my 09' Matrix S AWD in Massachusetts in order to get the options I wanted. I initially went to purchase the car in New Jersey, but was told that the options I wanted were NOT being offered in my region and that Toyota were NOT taking factory orders. I had never heard of anything like this before. When I went to build my Matrix on the internet I put my brother's zip code in and this is how I found out that Massachusetts offered what I want. I think that it is ridiculous that "regions" decide what I should have in my auto as the consumer.

    If you are in a rush to get a car I guess they believe that you will take what they have to offer. I wanted what I wanted and I have been waiting almost 8 weeks for my auto; but when I thought about it, I actually waited 8 months.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    "I think the 2.4l S AWD is a lot better. Now we have abs standard, vsc, traction control. side airbags, 5 speed tran and a little more hp"

    Just so you know, the only transmission available for the AWD Matrix is the 4-speed auto. No 5 speed, either manual or auto, is available.

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

  • loudog2loudog2 Posts: 83
    Your right. I stand corrected. No 5 spd tran. But everything else there is still a improvement. I forgot to mention the tire pressure monitoring system it has now.
This discussion has been closed.