The most elegant looking, economical spacious like a van and the best value for money. Compare the looks with a 40K Lexus RX 330 and compare the storage space after folding seats with an Odyssey. (I own that one too!) My biggest pleasant surprise after 5 yrs of use and fully paid auto loan I have an asset with book value of 11K !!
Good young looks, fuel economy.
They should introduce a 6 cylinder engines in this model and navigation with rear camera monitor.
2004 Toyota Matrix Wagon Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
My 2004 Matrix is only the second car I've owned in 20 years (my 1994 Audi finally died). I was reluctant to "trade down" to a Toyota, but I now have no regrets. This roomy, versatile vehicle is the same size as my little Audi (I measured!), and has a smaller turning radius, too. I have a 5-speed manual transmission that is smooth and fun to use. Driver visibility is fine all around, CD/radio sound system is quite good unless you're traveling at more than 50 MPH, when road noise competes. Cargo/passenger/folding seat options are terrific. Driver seat is very comfortable, even on 4-hour highway trips (can't say the same for the Audi!)I'm averaging 30 mpg on regular fuel.
Body styling, driver visibility, great fuel economy, comfortable seat, peppy little engine/transmission, excellent brakes, versatile interior configuration options for passengers/cargo, outlets to plug in electronic toys, roomy glove box and other little hiding places to stash stuff.
Road noise at higher speeds begs sound insulation in the side doors, which seem flimsy. Starting on wet road surface with manual/clutch transmission is sometimes a wheel- spinning, failure-to-grip-the-road experience.
Electric windows rattle, grind and pop. Dealer could not address problem. Eventually a window fell out. Engine surges while stopped at light or in traffic. Dealer could not address problem. The door handles have a "metallic" finish that peels away. Occupants have cut their fingers on the edge of metal/plastic that was coming away. Eventually got worse to where you could see the white plastic handle underneath so I peeled away the remaining sharp edges and caution occupants. Dealer offered to repair at my expense. Contacted the Toyota Customer Service Experience Center and was referred back to a dealer.
Economy and space.
Sadly, Toyota quality and service is not what it once was. There is room for improvement.
Bought Matrix new. Have 21,000 mi on car today. Mostly city driving with occasional road trip. Beginning to see minor degradation on interior moving parts - the "cheap" is revealing itself. Out-of-control acceleration happened to me 2 times. The accelerator just slams to the floorboard and won't let up. The first time in 70+ mph traffic - the second time 45+ traffic. Terrified me. Panic! Had to yank emergency handle and turn car off. It is a real experience and the dealer can't explain. I think it's a defective chip in the master brain of some cars.
Great 6 CD player. Fun to drive for a grocery cart.
Windshield reflects dash. Weak A/C for size of interior. Loud road noise. Needs stock spoiler on rear for stability on highway/high wind. Lacks body integrity - cheap plastic parts.
I got the car in late 2003 brand new. If you keep up with oil changes and tire rotations you'll be able to drive it forever. It's got well over 100,000 miles on it and I've never had a problem with it unless you refer to a headlight bulb and battery I had to change almost 5 years later, other than that, no complaints.
Moonroof has never leaked. Sound system is great, even better with the 12 I added. I didnt have to buy a new radio head with the after market add on the system jams great even with stock speakers for mids and highs. Gas mileage is awesome.
The 1.8 makes get up speed lag just a little but once it gets up there its got great boost. Even with the noise reduction pakage I got it still has some bad road noise. The seats are not at all something you want to sit in for a long period of time. The ride in itself is on the rough side.