2003 Toyota Matrix XR 1.3 gasoline from North America


Good looking, dependable and a reliable bargain


Navigation stopped working after 3 years.

Battery very weak after 4.5 years.

Display lights on dash (speedo, gauges, etc.) are dark red on a black background - nearly impossible to read in daylight.

General Comments:

Great gas mileage; on one R/T trip from Huntington Beach to San Diego, it got 41.3 mpg. Normal is about 32. Use cruise control everywhere all the time, and keep freeway speed at about 55 mph.

However, 130 ponies are a bit on the weak side at times.

Lots of head and elbow room. Navigation (no longer available in Matrix) is wonderful - wouldn't be with out one in the future.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th March, 2007

2003 Toyota Matrix xr 1.8 from North America


Great fuel efficient economy car


I have not had any problems yet knock on wood. the car has been relatively flawless. It is still on the original drum brakes in the rear however they are in need of being replaced. I have been using synthetic oil since I purchased the car.

The car is light and hydroplains easily... I have the 16" aluminum rims with sport tires... goodyear GA's. I also have 15" rims with winter tires. If you are not careful in the rain when accelerating from a dead stop the front of the car will start hopping and spinning.

Biggest complaint: rattles in the dash... mainly on the front right. there is also a rattle in the door on the front right where the speaker is... the previous owner had the dealer replace the speaker twice... it is not the speaker that is the problem... it is the plastic panel rattling on the speaker.

This car is nice as there is no timing belt to replace... also with iridium plugs first scheduled replacement is 160,000.

General Comments:

This is by far the most practical car on the market. Its not a luxury car by any means, but it handles everything well. Interior is not that quiet, but it's an economy car... its fine on smooth roads and the engine can barely be heard once cruising... i drive at over 135 km's per hour on a regular basis and the car is fine. Only one complaint.. i live in denver now.. when climbing hills you can rarely get away with dropping one gear from 5th to 4th. You usually have to drop to 3rd to climb the big hills and the car sings like a sewing machine... no problems with it yet however.

The car has great ground clearance and has provided me access to areas in colorado that very few cars would ever be able to access as they don't have the ground clearance.

At 36 MPG you can't beat the gas mileage.

I have slept in this car on a regular basis as I am too lazy to setup my tent... fold down the front seat and use a foam pad and its fantastic!

Storage is great... lots of small compartments all around the vehicle for storing tools. jumper cables.pump.tie downs etc.

I can put my entire mountain bike in this car and I don't even have to take off the wheels. I have had 3 mountain bikes in the car with 3 passengers before.

The true test of this car will be its overall reliability... i am not the nicest to it however I do make sure to do regular oil changes and filter changes.

A little extra power in the form of torque would be nice for the mountains, but as long as you are not scared to rev the car it will do just fine.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th October, 2006

16th Aug 2007, 03:53

Thought I would update my original post. I loved Toyota, but at 125K the manual transmission is trashed. Most unfortunate. This is the type of reliability that we have come to expect of North American manufacturers, not of Toyota! $3000 to repair??? I purchased a manual because I anticipated it would be cheaper to replace than a electronically controlled automatic... guess I was wrong!

Think this is unique? Not likely... please see link


15th Mar 2018, 22:21

Car companies don't want to build cars that last forever, that would put them out business. Think about it: 100,000 miles. That's a lot of miles to go relatively trouble free. At 50,000 I'm ready for a different car.