2003 Toyota Matrix Wagon - Consumer Reviews

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Safe in a crash
By April on 11/23/09 14:59 PM (PST)

Vehicle

2003 Toyota Matrix Wagon XR AWD 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

Review

I've driven my Matrix for a few years now. I love the interior. It's very comfortable and the dash looks attractive. Recently I went on vacation with a friend of mine and she drove us in my car. There were some deer in the road which caused us to swerve and crash head on into a tree. This car saved our lives. It was totaled but we are alive and came out relatively well. A few broken bones and bruises later...But honestly for a smaller car it took the hit well. I would recommend it highly. I wish I still had it.
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Love it
By Katy on 11/17/09 09:59 AM (PST)

Vehicle

2003 Toyota Matrix Wagon XR Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

Review

We've owned the matrix for 5 years now and it has over 100,000 miles. Only routine maintenance. Bought for the interior flexibility since we have 2 dogs. We bought ours used but would have preferred the V6 for a little more pep. We have had a very good experience and plan to drive this car for another 100,000 miles.
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1 of 6 people found this review helpful
Loved it Until... The ENGINE FAILED!
By H M on 09/06/09 12:29 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Toyota Matrix Wagon XR AWD 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

Review

I bought the Matrix new and it was the first one I had seen. I have absolutely LOVED this car...UNTIL THE ENGINE FAILED!! I never had one single mechanical problem, did ALL scheduled maintenance, and it ran perfect up to 94K miles. Then within the space of two days, NO WARNING AT ALL - engine problem. Toyota informs me it has sludge in the engine, and from that day on the engine is awful. Car stalls, slugs along, you name it. Completely unreliable now. TOYOTA claims it is MY FAULT, and completely FAILS to acknowledge a longstanding design problem with the engine. Then tells me I have to pay 8-11K to get A NEW ENGINE. Research Toyota Sludge people!!! Never again Toyota...Sorry.
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Transmission problem
By dvance on 08/27/09 05:33 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Toyota Matrix Wagon Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

Review

My 2003 5-speed only has just over 77,000 miles on it and the bearings in the transmission are going. I bought a Toyota specifically to have a long- lasting, good car. I called Toyota customer service and got the same story about not taking it to a dealership for routine maintenance so they couldn't help me if the car hadn't been properly maintained.
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1 of 1 people found this review helpful
So far so good
By highlama on 07/26/09 12:19 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Toyota Matrix Wagon Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

Review

I bought this Matrix about two months ago with 175,000 miles on it for my daily 400 mile courier route and it's been great - so far. Since a 200 mile leg allows me to drive at only 55 mph, I net almost 33 mpg across the entire route - which is better than I expected. The car rides great, runs smooth, and shifts easily so it's been a pleasure to drive.
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Manual trans is a piece of junk
By mhlaur on 07/13/09 05:43 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Toyota Matrix Wagon Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

Review

My manual transmission fell apart at 5 mths past warranty in 2007 as have many others since. You'll find plenty of posts on this website under Matrix Transmission Problems. Do not under any circumstances buy a used 2003 or 2004 manual transmission Matrix or you will sadly pay the price at around 60-100,000 miles. The transmission has been proven to have a faulty bearing which of course Toyota will not admit and take responsibility for. I had Toyotas from 1990-2007 and will never own another one in the next 50y.
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All around impressive
By DocG on 02/05/09 02:09 AM (PST)

Vehicle

2003 Toyota Matrix Wagon XR Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

Review

I bought this car used with 55k miles on it 5 years ago, now with 107k. The only problems I ever had with it was the AC relay malfunctioning. With a quick jump on the internet reading about similar problems it was easily repaired with very little expense, the occasional wheel shaking and pulling corrected by an alignment. It gets great MPG, I average 29 city and 30-35 hwy. Decent power for a 1.8L. My wife of 4'11" has no difficulty driving or seeing out of. Lots of room, sporty look and feel with a classification code of a wagon(cheaper insurance). Very versatile, extremely reliable, good on long drives. A great all around vehicle. Perfect for first time drivers.
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2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Missed the target, Toyota.
By eric on 02/02/09 06:57 AM (PST)

Vehicle

2003 Toyota Matrix Wagon XR AWD 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

Review

The Matrix and its sister car, the Pontiac Vibe, are based on the Corolla platform. I'll just summarize by saying that this car, in all trims but the XRS, is tragically underpowered, particularly with the automatic, which is the only transmission available with AWD versions. It's very Japanese. Noise, firm seats, terrible steering wheel angle, and abusive ride are the most noticeable detractions from what could have been a nice car. On the positive side, it fits lots of stuff inside, and sees tolerable fuel numbers. Keep in mind, folks, reliability is a part of quality of life. Consider comfort and usability when considering your next vehicle. Or maybe I'm just getting old.
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Poor Toyota support. Very poor traction.
By Will Keith on 01/13/09 10:19 AM (PST)

Vehicle

2003 Toyota Matrix Wagon Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

Review

Our 2003 Matrix, only 58,454 km. Alternator dead. Car is past the 5 year warranty period. However, alternators - especially on Toyotas - should last longer than 58,454 km. Toyota Canada says replacing alternator not covered, even at this low mileage. Toyota suggested I pay a Toyota dealer to check the system officially, but admitted they likely won't help us out on this anyway. Replace with a rebuilt - not new - alternator is over $500. The fact that we have 5 Toyotas in our family didn't seem to matter: the person on the phone just kept reading from the policy manual.
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Toyota is not reliable anymore!!!
By Julie on 12/24/08 09:48 AM (PST)

Vehicle

2003 Toyota Matrix Wagon Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

Review

Fantastic for the first 3 years. Fits a bunch of stuff, comfy to drive long distance, stylish, and great fuel economy. After 3 years our driver's side window totally broke, not related to the recall. Fixable, but only with a new door. We are living without working window. Then at 95,000 miles our engine blew a rod and needs to be totally replaced. WHAT!?!? Warranty only went to 60,000 miles and despite the fact that we maintained the car properly Toyota refuses to take responsibility for the bad build - acting like it is normal for cars to die this young. We expected to drive this for 250,000 miles based on reputation. Well, Toyota is bunk in our book. Honda here we come.
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