The Toyota matrix is a compact wagon marketed towards the younger and hipper generation of buyers. Build quality and styling have always been some of the highlights of the vehicle, and many drivers have been more than satisfied with its extremely comfortable driving.
2003: First generation
The first generation Matrix was offered in three trims: the standard trim, XR, and XRS. The standard trim and the XR were powered by a 130-horsepower, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine and came with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. The XRS was powered with a 180-horsepower, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine and came only with a six-speed manual transmission.
The base trim was the bare-bones model that came with very little features and options. The XR model was the midpoint between affordability and luxury. Features included a leather-covered steering wheel and color-matched handles and mirrors. Optional features included alloy wheels, a sunroof, and a body kit. The XRS trim was the top-notch model of the Matrix. The XRS was equipped with four disc brakes and alloy wheels while safety features included anti-lock brakes and an electronic brakeforce distribution system.
The Matrix was generally considered to be a comfortable ride. Engine power was good enough for the vehicle though many drivers could feel it strain as it climbed up inclines. Handling was pretty good, and performance was adequate enough for professionals driving to and from their office or for individuals visiting their relatives in the next city. Safety features were somewhat lacking and so in 2005, optional features like airbags and stability control were offered.
2009: Current generation
The second Toyota Matrix comes in two trims. The standard L trim is powered by a 132-horsepower, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine and is equipped with either a standard five-speed manual or an optional four-speed automatic transmission. The S trim is powered by a 158-horsepower, 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine. It also comes with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission, though the all-wheel drive version of the car comes only with a four-speed automatic.
Much like its predecessor, the vehicle provides an above-average performance all around. The engine does a pretty good job of hauling the whole vehicle while maintaining its fuel efficiency. Handling and ride comfort still score pretty high, despite the rather laggard response of the steering wheel. The interior styling is fantastic and the quality is evident all around. The amount of space inside, especially at the back, allows a good amount of cargo or people to be loaded.