Opinions on Toyota Matrix?

I’m researching compact station wagons in order to be ready to move swiftly if/when my 1997 Saturn wagon expires. So far the Toyota Matrix looks to be the best match for what I want:

Fuel economy
Cargo space
Reliability

Well, what I really want is another Saturn wagon, but dammit, they’re not making them any more, and I don’t want an SUV.

Any Matrix owners out there who’d like to share their opinions? Any proponents of other models who’d argue theirs is better?

I should point out that I can’t buy anything with an overall length beyond 180 inches because my garage is shallow. My previous wagon (a Ford Taurus) barely fit, with only an inch or two to spare at either end.

I’m a big fan of Toyotas in general and the Matrix in particular.
Got about 50G on ours.
Really nice little wagon.
Fantastic rear seat headroom (if that is important to you).
Essentially drives like a Corolla (which we replaced with it).

We were looking for something to replace an older minivan (and eventually decided just to keep it until it died), but was very interested in the Matrix.

Really a great little wagon, the folding seats are excellent, the overall design was well thought out, it is compact but so very roomy inside, and looks pretty cool outside.

It might not have kept me from getting it, but when I test drove it, was a bit disappointed in the way the engine seemed to labor (also noisy) at high speeds or heavy acceleration. However, I realized that was a tradeoff for the very good gas mileage.

We have one and we love it. Great car, TONS of room inside. I’m honestly surprised each time we have to load it up with stuff. I keep forgetting how much you can fit in there.

Comfortable, good fuel economy, and it’s a Toyota, so it’ll never die so long as you treat it right.

Highly recommended.

I have nothing to add to this thread except to say that I could never bring myself to buy a car named after a Keanu Reeves movie.

The Pontiac Vibe is essentially the exact same car, and you may be able to get it at a lower price. It’ll also probably have lower resale value but if you drive the car into the ground it won’t be a problem.

I have an '03 Vibe GT, purchased in '02, and I love my car. I have hauled a 1940’s era dresser in it with the hatch closed, 8 ft lumber with the hatch closed, moved other furniture, including a legal size file cabinet, hauled cats and Basset Hounds to the vet, you name it. It is very comfortable, and I think the roof rack makes it more attractive than the Matrix. I plan on driving it until it dies.

Ah. Thanks for that info. I’ve just prowled through some online stuff about the Vibe and it does sound as good as the Matrix. Not surprising given how closely they’re related. The drawbacks mentioned, such as a noisy engine and less than impressive acceleration, don’t bother me given my normal driving and how my 1997 Saturn runs. The plastic surface in the cargo area is a plus since one load I’d be hauling is hay bales. You do NOT want to be trying to clean hay wisps off upholstery, lemme tell ya.

Yes, I’d plan to drive any new wagon till it dies (or I hit the Lottery), which is what I’m doing with the Saturn, currently still going strong at 108,000+ miles. I’d be delighted to get another 50,000 miles out of the Saturn so long as there’s no major work it needs to get there, and my mechanic says it’s in good shape. But one has to be realistic about keeping an older car going – especially in Massachusetts, land of the maniacal drivers.

I don’t own one yet, but I am hoping to be able to get one soon. Everything I’ve read about them has been good, my sister also recently bought one and she loves it.

I may be buying a new Matrix this month. Edmunds has it as the lowest cost of ownership for the first 5 years, among compact wagons.

Here’s an experiment to try concerning the Matrix:

Go to www. Edmunds.com and price a Matrix with options you like. Find their True Market Value price, which supposedly you should shoot for in your are in real life.

Now go to Kelly Blue Book at www.kbb.com. Tell it you’re looking at a 2005 Matrix with all the same options, and 20,000 miles on it (or whatever miles you like).

I figure a new Toyota really might be good for 300k miles if treated well. Now, take the TMV price you got the first time and divide by 300,000 miles. You now have a /mile figure, probably about .057, meaning you have paid under 6 cents per usable mile of the car.

Now, take the KBB retail price on your car, and divde by the remaining number of miles on the car (280,000 in the above example). You get a dollars/mile number HIGHER than buying new!! The Matrix is effectively anti-depreciating.


Value within Class
FWD Standard, man. 10

This is what I’m looking for: the fwd manual. You know, apparently finding a cheaper car with pw, pl, red, cruise, abs is hard .

BTW, I sold my Saturn Wagon at 130K a few years back and it was still going fine. So you have a few years left in that car if you want them. Several friends have the Matrix or the Vibe and they really like them. I found it slightly small for my needs and went with the Subaru Outback, but the Matrix/Vibe 4WD was in the running.

That’s good to hear. A friend has one that’s up around 200,000 and still running well. Given mine is long since paid off, cheap to insure, cheap to keep, and has minimal excise tax, I’d rather not trade up till I have to. But I damn near got sideswiped off the road by a Masshole driver a few days ago and it reminded me that I could be in the market unexpectedly. Better to do the research before it’s urgently needed.

I bought a Matrix XR automatic at the end of last year. I’ve been very happy with it in most respects, although I get lower gas mileage than I did with my previous car (a 93 Saturn SL1). I’m guessing it’s because the Saturn was lighter (all those plastic body panels).

Not sure exactly how much space you need, but I test-drove a Matrix in 2003 and decided instead on a Mazda Protege5. I love this car – the muddy dog travels in the back (got a plastic insert for the hatchback) and my passengers are frequently impressed by the MPG. [It’s no longer made; I think the equivalent now is a Mazda 3).

The cargo space can stow more than you’d expect from the outside, but we still have a Subaru Legacy wagon for long stuff (XC skis, etc).