|Compact car; Built in Canada|
|Good condition price range: $4,800 – $10,500*|
2003 Toyota Matrix
2004 Toyota Matrix
2005 Toyota Matrix
Toyota Matrix interior
Though slightly tamer than Pontiac’s Vibe in character, the Matrix is an interesting alternative to conventional small wagons and compact SUVs. Utility, fine road manners, available AWD, and Toyota-grade reliability are quite appealing. Those traits must, however, be measured against the needlessly noisy engines and the XRS model’s harsher, high-strung nature.
Toyota targeted a younger audience with its new-for-2003 crossover wagon, based on the redesigned Corolla subcompact sedan. Matrix shared engines and transmissions with the Corolla and Toyota’s Celica sport coupe, but came with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Pontiac’s new Vibe shared the Matrix design and powertrains, but was built in California with different styling.
Matrix came in Standard, XR, and XRS trim levels, with a separate-opening window in a swing-up tailgate. Each used a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. All-wheel drive was optional on Standard and XR models, which had 130 horsepower with front-drive or 123 hp with AWD. Equipped with a 180-horsepower engine, the XRS was offered only with front-drive.
Standard and XR models came with a five-speed manual transmission, but the XRS used only a six-speed manual. A four-speed automatic transmission was optional with front-drive, and included with AWD. Those AWD versions retained the front-drive’s ride height, and were not intended for off-road use.
Antilock braking was standard on XRS and AWD models, and optional for other versions. The XRS also had rear disc brakes. Front side airbags were optional for all models. Curtain side airbags were not offered.
Included in XR and XRS models, and optional on the Standard, was a household-type power outlet. The XRS added aero body trim, and joined the front-drive XR in offering optional 17-inch wheels versus the Matrix’s standard 16s. A navigation system and an in-dash six-disc CD changer were available for all models. Rivals included the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Ford Focus wagon, Subaru Forester, and Volkswagen Jetta wagon.
Toyota’s compact wagon changed little for 2004. An in-dash CD changer was optional in the XR and XRS, and the available navigation system was exclusive to XRS. During 2004, output of the XRS engine dropped to 170 horsepower.
An antiskid system became optional on front-drive versions of the 2005 Matrix, if equipped with an automatic transmission. Head-protecting curtain side airbags were now offered in an option group that also included front torso side airbags. All models exhibited a new front bumper, grille, and clear-lens taillamps. Toyota no longer offered a navigation system in the Matrix.
2006 brought no changes for the Matrix.
Matrix lost its all-wheel-drive and sporty models for 2007. New for ’07 was an M-Theory option package with 4-wheel disc brakes and special trim.
The 2008 Toyota Matrix carried over pending a redesign due in calendar 2008 as a 2009 model.