2003 Toyota Matrix XR AWD 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
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.
Gas mileage, tons of space in the back with the seats down. Zippy and fun.
ENGINES that are RELIABLE!! Toyota has a serious problem here, please people be informed before you buy!
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.
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.
I like all the little storage compartments, the great gas mileage, and the smooth ride.
I hear an occasional vibration noise or whistling wind. I was surprised that there was no cruise control or electric side mirrors (both standard equipment on my '98 Mazda Protege).
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.
2003 Toyota Matrix XR Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
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.
MPG, spacious interior, sporty looks, that cool little 120v outlet, auto lights and of course the reliability.