I have owned my 2006 Matrix XR-all wheel drive for 2 months. Well designed, excellent quality, and economical on gas. Averaging around 24 mpg and car is not broken in. Had an old Plymouth minivan and can carry more in my Matrix.
I purchased a 2007 Matrix three days ago; after test driving the Ford Focus 5 door, and the Pontiac Vibe.
I chose the Matrix for overall quality and driving impression.
Traded in an 8 year old mini-van and already the fuel economy of the Matrix is making itself known; plus it has just as much zip as the van did... maybe more.
Fit and finish of the Matrix is, in my opinion, excellent.
So far, I am wondering why I didn't make this switch some time ago.
I can't fathom why anyone would pay 3 grand more for Matrix when the Vibe is the same car. It just makes no sense.
I own a 2006 Matrix 2wd. I had an accident due to hydroplaning. At 120km/h the car lost control, and with the wind I had no chance. All the quality comments about this vehicle are true: gas friendly, storage for camping, seating position for 4 adults, and fun to drive. Maybe in the driving comments, "be careful" should be added. Don't drive fast with wind and rain. Put some better tires (performance rain tread). Maybe get the AWD version. Light cars with SUV designs are dangerous at high speeds. Next time I will buy a heavier car, like a Subaru.
Just like with any other cars, you should not drive as fast as that speed when the road is wet or else prepare to slide...
Although the Vibe may be cheaper than the Matrix, I hear the resale value of the Matrix is better, just because the badge says "Toyota" and not "Pontiac."
I briefly considered the Vibe, but settled on the Matrix. I don't recall if the standard features list was identical between the Matrix and Vibe. Personally I like the high tech looking Matrix. If I had opted for the All Wheel Drive version, I would probably have gone for the more rugged looking (and more "Pontiac looking") Vibe with its round reverse lights in the bumper and the lower body cladding. Looks like a mini SUV.
I'd like to point out that in Canada an equivalent equipped vibe is the same price as a matrix. With incentives the vibe can be slightly cheaper. The vibe has an advantage in that it has a converter to plug stuff in in the dash... this is only available in the matrix xrs.
One other comment worth noting... the matrix looks better in my opinion. the 5 spoke rims on the matrix xr are nicer than the aluminum rims on the vibe... personal preference of course... also the vibe does not have as much plastic which makes for cleaner lines... again personal preference... of course the vibes plastic is nice as it prevents dents, but its ugly. The matrix is built in Canada by a non union shop and the vibe is built in the u.s. by a union shop.
Resale on the matrix in Canada is around $2,000 higher than the vibe.
I love this car...practical...unbelievable gas mileage...36 MPG to the US gallon consistently. My car has almost 110,000 kms or 66,000 miles on it. It takes a pounding and keeps on running. Laugh all you want, it may not be a mean tough sport utility, but it can do almost everything that the average SUV owner uses their SUV for and it uses half the gas.
If you look at the pricing online you will see that the sticker prices for the Matrix are lower than that of the Vibe. The base model for the Matrix is cheaper than the Vibe, and you get color keyed bumpers as apposed to Pontiac's cheap plastic bumpers. The matrix is a better over all value than the vibe. It's cheaper while being worth more. Not to mention the resale value is way higher than that of the vibe, only because it carries the name Toyota.
If you found the Matrix to be more expensive than the Vibe, you were thought of as a sucker and so the salesman figured you'd buy into it.
Personally I didn't like the XR model of the Matrix. Fact is that it's not a racer, and the body kit only adds more wind resistance, thus making it even slower, if even by a small amount.
The vibe looks nice except Pontiac's grille ruined it for me. But that's just me.
The Vibe is more expensive than the Matrix. I just bought a 2007 Matrix XR (automatic), and could not find a Vibe similarly equipped for within $1000 of the price. Go to autotrader.com and do a price comparison search if you don't believe me.
The Vibe is mostly all Toyota, with the exception of a few parts which matter, such as the suspension. I was told by the dealer that there have been some problems with the Vibe's front end. Besides, in ten years GM might not be around to honor that warranty!
I own a 2005 Matrix. It is by far the best economy car I have ever owned.
The Canadian team who designed this car thought long and hard about what was needed for a typical family of 4, and they pegged it with the Matrix.
Here are the quality levels of the cars I've owned starting from the best (the MATRIX) which I'll rate an 8.5/10
I have ALSO owned 4 Pontiac Fireflies ('91, '95, '98. '99), all made in Ingersoll, Ontario, (8/10) an '82 Ford Escort, made in Windsor (6/10), and a '97 Ford Contour, made in Kansas City (2/10) and my first car, a '72 Toyota Corolla rust bucket (rating would be in the NIL category.
There is a comment above that says the Matrix has a higher resale value because of the Toyota name. This is NOT the case. The Matrix is built at the car plant with the HIGHEST overall customer satisfaction rating in North America (Cambridge, Ontario). The Vibe meanwhile, is built in California, at a plant with very low customer satisfaction ratings. Canadian made vehicles are generally better built than their American counterparts, but in this case there is NO comparison. The Matrix IS a much better car.
A man I work with has the 2006 Vibe, and lots of problems. Brakes, shifter, engine to name just a few. It's been in the shop... A LOT!
Except for replacing the windscreen due to a rock hit, we have done nothing except oil and filter changes to this car. It runs and starts easily at -30 to +30.
Although it is NOT as power-full as the Contour, it is roomier, better looking, and much cheaper on gas.. about 35 mpg. The flip down seats make it easy to transport skiis and equipment with ease, and still have room for 2 teen agers!
It also pulls my utility trailer nicely, although I think pulling something larger would be difficult with the base 4 cylinder engine!
To the person commenting on the rear-view mirror hitting the visor: We had the same issue. Spoke with Toyota dealership and the technician couldn't understand it until he started moving the mirror around and it can actually pivot around. Try moving it sideways and you'll find the positioning works better.