The Toyota Matrix is a compact car that is available in one specific body style: 5-door hatchback. Instead of producing multiple body styles for one car, Toyota has created a car with a single body style that they can focus all of their attention on, rather than spread the same amount of attention to three or four styles. Because of this, Toyota can improve the Matrix at its core, and each upgrade will be spent on that style alone.
The Matrix began production in 2002 and is still currently being manufactured from the Toyota facility in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. For all intended purposes, the Matrix is a complete redesign of the Corolla hatchback; however, it is a sportier version. Because it is a 5-door hatchback, it offers plenty of space for a family while still offering the sleekness of a sporty compact car. It is built from the front-engine, front-wheel drive layout, which also includes an all-wheel drive version.
Although the Matrix has been in production since 2002, the first generation model years were from 2003 to 2008. Two optional 1.7 I4 engines are available for the first and second generation: a 1.7 liter 1ZZ-FEI4 that produces 130 horsepower and a 1.7 liter 2ZZ-GEI4 that produces 180 horsepower. Both 4-speed automatic and 5-speed manual transmissions are available for each generation; however, a 6-speed manual was only available during the first generation. From a design point of view, the two generations are nearly identical.
The interior of the Matrix is perhaps its most interesting asset, having rear seats with plastic backs that fold flat to offer 53 cubic feet of space. The front seats also fold flat, and an extra compartment is built into the back of the passenger seat. A digital clock was added to the radio in 2005, and the gauges on the instrument cluster are red while the numbers are white. The XRS trim level features color-matched mirrors and a leather-wrapped steering wheel as well as an optional sunroof, 16-inch alloy wheels, and body kit.
The 2003 Toyota Matrix was named a Consumer Guide Recommended Buy in 2003, while Edmunds called it a strong competitor in its first year out". It made the Consumer Guide Recommended Buy again in 2004, and it was named in the "2005 Top Ten Lowest Cost of Ownership List" by IntelliChoice. Motor Trend called the 2009 Matrix "an engaging package that works for young buyers of all ages".
... View more