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.

2004 Toyota Matrix XR from North America


Not that great


Paint is very sensitive, scratches easily.

Don't use it much, so I have gone through 2 batteries. The car is sitting in the driveway now with a dead battery.

Base model, car had no fog lights when bought.

Weird warning lights at start up, not sure if that is normal.

Lots of hesitation when starting up the car.

General Comments:

I am thinking of selling it, because it seems to be overall too sensitive for someone in a city, and who doesn't use the car to commute to work each day.

Very roomy.

Visibility is so-so. Sedans or small SUVs have better visibility.

Paint comes off very easily; unusual for a Toyota in general.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th August, 2007

2004 Toyota Matrix XRS 1.8 from North America


Sweet Ride


Nothing major. I notices that the air conditioning was not blowing as cold as I thought it should be. Also when I used the AC it always left large amounts of water on the passenger side floor. Brought it to the Toyota dealership and the guy came right outside and plugged in a cord under the glove box/passenger side-fixed the problem.

General Comments:

I have a 2004 Matrix XRS. I love it!!! Peppy, sporty, and reliable. Only issues would be the cost of the tires- performance tires can be pricey. I would love to get a roof rack to put on it…but the Toyota dealerships seem to not be able to locate a roof rack for the matrix??? One said that there is no roof rack made by Toyota for the Matrix and another is looking into it. Can anyone shed some light on this??

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th September, 2006

9th Oct 2006, 14:06

The roof rack for a Matrix is a $300 accessory. I have one on mine.

9th Oct 2006, 14:06

The roof rack for a Matrix is a $300 accessory. I have one on mine.