2003 Toyota Matrix Base 1.8 130hp from North America
Reliable, but cheap car
Two window runners deformed - replaced under warranty.
Drive belts squeaking during winter - warranty.
Radio stopped working - warranty.
Handling - The handling score I'll give this car is average. Obviously, Toyota put little engineering effort to make this car sporty. The tail tends to roll a lot during cornering. The handling works, but by no means very enjoyable. On the plus side, the front-rear balance feels pretty good.
Seats quality are pretty low end. The rear seats get deformed from repeated laying flat and carrying stuffs in the trunk. The rear seatbelts latch fell through the gap in the seats and never see the light of day since.
Rear trunk is covered in plastic. No other cars have this "cheapness" as far as I know. All hatch backs have cloth covering. Plastic cleans easily, but no help if it scratches up quickly.
Sound proofing is also quite bad, noisy when driving on the freeway. The engine is well-admitted as more noisy than the rest.
I test drove the Corolla, and my opinion is Corolla is overall better made than Matrix.
Reliability is great.
Amongst all these complaints, I am satisfied because I paid 13.5k for base, 5spd, power. I will feel bad for those who paid upper of 15k for this car.
I may consider buying used Mazda3 next. If their reliability holds up.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 27th October, 2005
19th Aug 2006, 16:55
I test drove the Matrix and was not at all impressed. Very cheaply built, no power and grossly overpriced. There are a lot better values out there. The Chevy HHR is a much better vehicle at several grand less, as is the new Dodge Caliber.
11th Oct 2006, 10:36
Yes, but those are newer models still with an unproven record. Arguably, Dodge and Chevy have not shared the same reliability record as Toyota.
I've had my 2006 Matrix for six months now. It replaced my "money pit" 1999 Ford Escort. I wanted something brand new and not too expensive. It had to be high tech looking, somewhat sporty, reliable and good on gas. My silver Matrix FWD 5 speed base model with air conditiong and 16" aluminum wheels fits the bill just fine. Feels and looks much more upscale and comfortable than my mother's 2003 Corolla which cost only marginally less.
No car is perfect. My Matrix has a few small quirks, like the location of the shifter attached to the dash (in the way of my knee if I wish to stretch legs outwards), a drivers seat that creaks sometimes and small compartment door in the dash below the radio that doesn't quite open all the way, but nothing to make me wish I hadn't got this car.
11th Oct 2006, 17:31
To 16:55. You think that the Matrix is cheaply built and that an HHR is a better vehicle? WHAT!? When I see an HHR on the road, after I quit laughing, I get as far away from it as I can, because I know that the person behind the wheel does not have good judgement about too many things.