This week we’re looking at the 2009 Toyota Matrix 4-door small wagon. I’m a fan of Toyota but some of the product is not to my taste. This is one of those very capable cars that I just can’t warm up to or that I would run right out and buy one.
Provincial might explain my indifference to the car. I always got excited getting behind the wheel of brother John’s Ferrari’s or our ’55 Porsche Speedster or Lamborghini. But when we get into a utility commuter or truck it is because we have work to do. Exotic’s are for the fun of it. We shouldn’t really expect to be wowed by our daily drivers. Last week on the other hand I was very impressed with the VW Jetta small sportwagon and really feel I could own that car and enjoyed driving it every day. But if it weren’t in my budget at 25% more money than this Toyota Matrix I would change my tune a bit since you can’t fairly compare the two. I guess I would opt to budget more rather than settle.
The real test of what you buy however is that the Need must fall within your Budget.
Handling & Performance:
Excellent on the Crest Test but I got the distinct impression other drivers had a need to pass me. I could only conclude they thought this was a wimpy car unable to keep up. It was an odd feeling because I was keeping up with traffic. Size does make a difference I’ve been told and we all know that applies to cars as well. I guess what I mean is that if I were in a Corvette they would back off knowing the Vette could chew them up and spit them out. Remember Rodney Dangerfield who’d constantly remind us he got no respect.
At the end of the day the overall road-ability of this AWD little car is exceptional and it handled the mountain curves with relative ease. If I were interested in this size car I would look at the Yaris.
Not my thing but it isn’t ugly either.
Fit and Finish:
Competitive in the field below.
This is a good field of challengers albeit a large one and difficult to go through. I’ve tested them all and I break them down into Classic (HHR and PT Cruiser), Off road (Jeep) and Unusual (Sion and MINI). Everything else are Commuters.
Toyota Matrix $16-22,000, Pontiax Vibe $16-21,000, Chevrolet HHR $19-25,000, VW Jetta SportWagen $19-26,000, VW Rabbit $16-19,000, Nissan Versa $10-16,000, Mazda5 $18-23,000, Mazda3 $15-22,000, Jeep Patriot $18-24,000, Jeep Compass $18-25,000, Dodge Caliber $16-25,000, Chrysler PT Cruiser $18-25,000, Honda Fit $15-19,000, MINI Clubman $20-31,000, Subaru Impreza $17-35,000, Suzuki SX4 Crossover $16-19,000, Kia Rio 5 $13-14,000, Kia Rondo $17-22,000, Kia Soul $13-17,000, Hyundai Elantra Touring $18-19,000, Sion xB $16-17,000.
Decent fuel economy, good commuter, handles well.
2.4 liter 4 cylinder 158 hp engine, 4-speed auto transmission, all wheel drive, torque control electric power steering, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes with brake force distribution and brake assist, front and side air bags and front and rear side curtain airbags, child rear door locks with anchor system, engine immobilizer, tire pressure monitoring, halogen lights, power mirrors, intermittent front and rear wipers, roof rack, air conditioner, audio with CD, WMA/MP3 player, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, front passenger fold flat and rear 60/40 split rear seat, 115 volt AC outlet, power windows and locks and keyless entry.
$2.95/ Gal avg. June 14, ‘09
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20 City and 26 Highway MPG
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