2004 Toyota Matrix XR AWD 1.8L 4 cylinder from North America


Just an all round 'avarage Joe' Car!


Brakes have been noisy ever since I changed the front pads at 85,000kms.

General Comments:

This Matrix has been great to me, I bought it off an older man who had just purchased an Avalon in 2007; he had put only 38,000kms on it and gave me a heck of a deal on it ($11,500) and it still had extended warranty left! (at the time it had 3 years or 60,000kms left, warranty runs out in about 3.5 months)

This car has been super reliable for me, no repair bill yet! It is an AWD Matrix and I find that the AWD system is good for most situations, except excessively deep snow (over 2ft); it just gets high centered and doesn't have a hope of getting out (no locking center diff, although I'm told it does from the dealership, I have yet to see 2 wheels spinning when I'm stuck :P)

The 1.8L 4 cyl is pretty much your average small Toyota 4 cyl; it starts in any weather, is crazy reliable, but has no power beyond 140km/h with OD off. If you have OD on, good luck trying to get to 120km/h, it is IMPORTANT you turn OD off when passing, otherwise you risk a head on collision.

Gas mileage is just alright; because the Matrix is a full time AWD, it only gets around 26-28MPG highway (that's imperial MPG by the way). It gets 1-2MPG better in the summer with less aggressive tread tires, go aggressive tread and you're going to see about 22-24MPG highway, Toyota should have put a bigger 4cyl in here (2.4L would have been perfect) or a small 6 cyl since it gets the gas mileage of one! Fill up is about average too, $40 on a bad day ($1/L for gas) and $30 on good days (95Cents/L on gas).

The inside of the Matrix is nice, the gauge cluster/dash is nice and gives you the feeling you're driving something much more sportier than a Matrix (The XR does add some sportiness appearance, but the engine quickly reminds you your in a little 4pot). I wish Toyota would have made the XRS/TRD edition in AWD, it looks much more nicer than just a regular XR and gives you the much more powerful and mod friendly 2ZZ-FE over the 1ZZ-FE (XR only adds side skirts, XRS adds that + front/rear lip and a spoiler, TRD adds that+TRD exhaust, wheels, and intake, and stabilizer bars XRS/TRD editions both have the 2ZZ-FE engine :D)

The storage capacity is very similar to a 1st gen Rav4. The only difference is the height limitation. Back seats are comfortable for almost anyone.

Only complaint I have with the interior (all my other comments are pet peeves rather than put downs/complaints on the car, I love my Matrix) is the cheap GM stereo Toyota went with (yes GM/Toyota both make these cars, old news GM=Vibe (will not be around much longer due to the fall of Pontiac) and Toyota=Matrix) it just sounds like it came straight out of a Cavalier. I'm planning to upgrade my system with something much more powerful once my warranty expires (less than 4 months left, but I'm 1000kms away from hitting the 'or' 100,000kms haha).

Overall, if you're looking for a good car, this is it. If you want something more sportier, the XRS/TRD Matrix is perfect, it's almost like driving a different car (and looks much better too!)

All in all, it's safe to say that this Matrix, is your run of the mill middle class 'average Joe' car. Everything about it is just average (seriously, this car is not meant to stand out :P)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th March, 2010

2004 Toyota Matrix Base 1.8 I4 from North America


Evidence of Toyota's failing standards


Manual tranny mainshaft bearing - tranny replacement required (170,000).

Eats clutches.

Water pump leak shorted alternator (240,000).

Eats wheel bearings.

Loud valve tick since 150,000.

Cheap plastic body panel clips break off & send fenders flying.

Eats exhaust systems.

Eats O2 sensors - very expensive in Canada.

Simply awful in bad weather - no matter what tires are on.

Eats brakes.

General Comments:

This car is not even close to the old Toyota standards. Our old Celica was retired with 600,000km on it, and could still have driven circles around this thing. The car is an underpowered lemon, useful only if you want to trade cars @ 60,000 miles (roughly 95,000 km). That's about when the repairs started.

Apparently the stock trannies on these all had defective mainshaft bearings, and even after a few attempts at lawsuits, Toyota still won't pay for any of this.

They also eat clutches, there's no flywheel guide bearing on these to save production costs, so no performance clutch parts can help this.

The car is heavy and sloppy, essentially a Corolla with an extra 450lb all the time.

It requires numerous repairs at high costs, mainly due to expense of parts (despite being manufactured less than 200km away).

The car is absolutely awful on even slightly damp/snowy roads, the large tires (even with 4 new snow + ice tires and frequent alignment checks) will make it feel like you're driving on a skating rink even down to 15km/h. The heavy weight with the small brakes means it goes through brakes twice as fast as any other car.

Next car will almost certainly be a Focus or Impreza, breaking a long history of Toyotas in this family.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 19th December, 2009

20th Dec 2009, 19:52

"This car is not even close to the old Toyota standards."

Toyota and other auto manufacturers have gone down hill in regards to build quality over the years. My folks have owned Toyota for years, but have never had a Matrix. I'm sticking with Ford's Panther cars :)

1st Jan 2010, 10:40

Original Author here;

I certainly agree that many manufacturers seem to be going down hill. Another problem I forgot to mention was the windshield. For some reason this car attracts far more rocks than any other wagon/van/truck I've had (quite a few). The result is a constantly chipped windshield. As well, something in the engineering of the windshield does not seem right. Slight temperature differentials between interior and outside seem to cause large cracks along the bottom edge, that quickly spread and open. Our matrix is on its fourth windshield now.