Bite me HARD, Toyota! I'm going to the FTC! LYING FUCKS!

I want to buy a new car.

Long story short, car of my dreams: Toyota Matrix. It’s everything I want. Exactly.

Now, 50% of the reason I’m buying a new car is because I want a ** safer ** car. I want to take advantage of all the great new safety features that have become cheaply available since my little Paseo was built.

Toyota advertises, everywhere, that side impact airbags cost a mere $250, and are “available” as an “option” on the base and the XR Matrix.

What they neglected to mention, is that this is evidently ** entirely theoretical ** .

What I’m learning in practice is that the only **MOTHERFUCKING COCKSUCKING BOOGER-PICKIN’ WAY ** that I can actually * exercise * this “option” is if I buy the top-of-the-line Matrix with a whole bunch of costly, stupid gewgaws that I not only do not wish to pay for, I actively do NOT WANT them on my car, including an extra 50hp and some stupid “underbelly” spoiler that makes the car drag the ground like one of those dung-beetle carclub 57 Chevys. All of which costs something in the neighborhood of an additional THREE FUCKING THOUSAND FUCKING DOLLARS.

But wait, there’s more… several dealers have told me: “Well, you * can * special order it, but it will take 8-10 weeks to be made. And it might not get made at all. Or in 10 weeks they may tell you to wait another 10 weeks. So I wouldn’t recommend it.”

So I call Toyota itself, and their customer assistance center tells me that Toyota builds ‘em like it feels like buildin’ 'em, and tough shit to me if I want $300 worth of safety features and don’t want to buy $2500 worth of alloy wheels and a sunroof to go with it, everybody else does. Of course, I could special order it, and they could think about it for a few months, wipe their asses with it and send it back stamped “…Nah”

Now, excuse me…but not only do I fucking RESENT the idea that in order to have more SAFETY I have to buy more BULLSHIT, but I can’t STAND being lied to. And telling me that side air bags are “available” for the base model as an “option” but ** not without spending $2500 ** strikes me as FALSE FUCKING ADVERTISING.

I’m calling the goddamn FTC tomorrow and bitching my head off.


If you really want to get back at them, buy from a different car company.


Well, Haj, I don’t think they’d notice. Not to mention the fact that I really do love that goddamn car. And this will be the first time in 25 years of owning cars that I would be buying a car that I really, really love. That I’m excited about, not just settling for.

They have a shitty system of advertising and option adding, but they have great cars.

Well, how do you know this car is all that and a bag of chips? It’s only been out for a month. That’s probably long enough for some good reviews, but hardly enough to gauge consumer reaction to it.

Well, if it was a Ford or a Kia, I wouldn’t be so hot to trot. But it’s a Toyota. Toyota is a great carmaker, I trust them. I trust them above all other carmakers, as a matter of fact. In the same general neighborhood are Nissan and Honda, but neither one of them makes the car that fits what I’m looking for. (Nissan has one coming out in the fall called The Murano that I’m drooling heavily for, but it’s probably going to go for between 25-30K, which is about 6-12k more than I’m willing to spend, more’s the pity.)

The Matrix meets my every specification, except as noted above. Oh, and the cargo area is plastic, which is really stupid design since stuff slides all over it like an ice rink…but they have rubberbacked mats and two will cover the whole area. Aside from that…poifekt!


Homer: Pfff. Seatbelts. They kill more people than they save!

Lisa: No, Dad! You’re thinking of airbags!


Not to dissuade from your mission of vengance but the Toyota website you linked to is pretty clear about the possibility of side impact air bags only being available in option packages on certain of the XR and XRS upper model tiers.

FWIW a lot of cars are manufactured and distributed this way with certain optional items only available (normally) in some kind of package format. From a marketing standpoint, given the Matrix’s relatively moderate price point and a projection of what pre-configured option packages will sell most effectively, I can’t say that they really made a marketing mistake restricting the side impact bags to the upper two model tiers in certain loaded packages. As a guess, given the size and type of the car one of the main cohorts buying this car will probably be young, single females, for the majority of whom, looks and budget are going to be the overriding purchase determinants, not advanced safety features and so they stuck those options into a few higher end packages.

You’re too intelligent a consumer for your own good.

I suggest contacting the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Reports as well.

Been there, done that.

Went through the same thing when we were smitten with the Toyota Highlander. Ended up buying a used Acura 2.5TL.

I wish you well. Happy hunting.

Or better yet buy a copy of Consumer Reports.*

It is not unusual for cars in their first model-year to have lower reliability. (Admittedly, in Toyota’s case, that would probably give the car average reliability).

Example: The 1995 Toyota Tacoma v6 and the 1993 Toyota Tercel both had average reliability.

Still, I agree that (IMHO) Toyota is a pretty good manufacturer (as is Honda).

*So-so wisecrack: meguesses you have done that.

Hey, it’s my long-lost clansman Cyberhwk. Sorry if I mess up your electronics, dude.

Is basically the same car I believe- made in the same plant and everything. Maybe you should get online to see if you can get one the way you like from Pontiac. A big plus would be the non-screwing you are going to take on Pontiac service versus Toyota service costs (man they are really expensive).

Stoid, FYI both models are basically just small station wagons with extra plastic bodycladding- that’s it. Subaru and Mazda make very similar products as well. Also, IMHO most Toyota’s are grossly overpriced- Honda’s are much better values AND just as, if not more reliable (and hold their value just as well). The Civic is the best small car out there- check out the new sport model they just released- it’s spiffy.

Now from a value stand point, watch the various incentives out there- they can swing you are really killer deal on a nice car. Check out the new Nissan Altima’s-- hubba hubba!


I just came in here to suggest the Pontiac Vibe, and saw that elf6c has beaten me to it. The Vibe and Matrix are both based on the Toyata Corolla/Chevy Prizm platform. The Prizm has been discontinued.

They’re not built at the same plant, Matrix is built in Cambridge, Ontario (along with Toyota Solara), and Vibe is built in Fremont, California (along with Toyota Corolla).

The Pontiac web site indicates that side-impact airbags are available on all Vibes, but I didn’t spend too much time looking for details.

Of course, the Vibe is much uglier, but that’s my opinion.

Sport Utility Wagons. I hate them. I hate them all a whole lot, but I can’t figure out why. They’re just so… wrong.

I’d go with Pontiac. They’re good. Except that Grand Am. WTF is that all about?

Stoid, I don’t want to hear this! I may be in the market for a new car, and the Matrix is one of the few that are on my short list.

I was “building my own” Matrix just yesterday. I thought it was strange that airbags were not STANDARD on all models. Jeez, my 1996 Tercel has them. I thought airbags were a given nowadays.

This gives me something to think about.

But you’re right. The Matrix is sweet. And I would NEVER buy a Pontiac. EVER. Just on the principle alone that I wouldn’t buy from a company that makes a piece of shit like the Aztek. Ugh.

I’m feeling your pain.

** scout, ** it has basic front airbags, it’s the side-impact airbags that are extra.

And I tried, but just can’t get into the Vibe. * Pontiac?? * shudder

I am going to look at the Mazda Protege wagon.

It’s hard to find decently sized/priced/featured wagons these days. Everyone wants an SUV, which is why I love the Matrix.

Damn Damn damn DAMN!!

Oh. Gotcha. I guess I ought to read carefully.

I was at the body shop yesterday getting an estimate on the damage to my car. The lot was a shared one with the Mazda dealer next door.

The Protege wagon is nice looking one. I was eyeballing a red one. Pretty reasonable price, too, much the same as the Matrix.

And I’d love to be able to find used wagons, but since so many have JUST come out, you’ve got very few options, as you’ve found, I’m sure.

Toyota salesperson: “To turn the air conditioning on, you just need to push this button.”
Stoid: (pushes button)
Toyota salesperson: “Now you need to push it again.”
Stoid: “But I just pushed it!”
Toyota salesperson: “You have to push it twice. It’s a glitch in the Matrix.”



The Matrix and the Vibe are essentially the exact same car. Same frame, drive train, and build quality. They are both built at NUMMI although some Matrii may very well be built in Ontario. And the Vibe actually comes out better in most of the head-to-head reviews I’ve seen.

Don’t worry about the nameplate, buy the car you like. Frankly, I think the Vibe looks better. I like the Matrix too, but you’ll definately get a better deal on the Pontiac.

I bought a new Matrix last month. It’s an XRS, so had a lot of add-ons and safety features I might not have gotten if I had had it custom built. (Though I do find the moon roof pretty nice). Also, I figure that if I do sell it someday, then I’ll recoup some of the cost of the options in the resale price–not really an issue to me now though. Apparently supply is less than demand for the Matrix right now, so it’s not suprising that a lot of the cars are loaded with a bunch of profit maximizing gadgets-they’ll all sell quickly anyways. BTW, have you looked at the Suzuki Aerio hatchback?