2008 Toyota Matrix XR 1.8 from North America
A good alternative to an SUV or mini van
Check engine light fault resulted in replacement of the catalytic converter... $1300 for the part, but thankfully covered by warranty. Apparently common for this year... so check the records if buying.
Other than that, this car performs just like my last Toyota; simply turn it on and go.
This is a Corolla in Swiss Army form. The seats are higher, and it is very roomy with multiple ways to configure the interior.
Generally very comfortable with great cargo hauling capabilities. Back seat is easy access and comfy for two adults. I have hauled a large six drawer dresser with the seats down. Tailgate window opens for long items to stick out with the gate latched. Very handy, and my large German Shepherd thinks it is his home away from home.
Fuel economy is about 3-4 MPG below my previous Corolla LE, but still gives a very good 32-34 MPG (easy miles with a mix of country and suburban).
As with other Toyota cars I have owned, this one is rattle and squeak free, and performs as new (I wonder if some of the reviewers that complain of rattles, peeling paint, cracking windshields, etc., might be buying previous collision or salvage cars?).
I do like the Corolla dash design better than the Matrix... The Corolla has large gauges with easier on the eyes green illumination, while the Matrix is a garish red/orange color with tiny gas/temp gauges trimmed in distracting bright chrome, with impossible to read radio and info LCD displays, a design favoring appearance over function. Overall my only gripe considering the total performance.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 26th April, 2013