2004 Toyota Matrix XR Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
'Trixes are bomb-proof! I'm the kind of driver who doesn't go particularly fast, but doesn't brake for anything, either. This car has taken three years of continous punishment: every corner taken at the traction limit, hundreds of handbrake turns, about three months of serious gravel driving, 8in deep potholes every day, many track days, being half-sunk in waste water (this is Mexico City, you know)... all without a glitch. Minor rattles in the dash, the standard battery lacks capacity, and that's it. A very capable little car when pushed (can consistently beat Megane RSs in the hands of a good driver), even with an auto transmission. Overall, a great car.
-Seriously sturdy and reliable. -Great cargo capacity. -Factory Bridgestone Turanza ER30s are very, very grippy (treadwear 140!), help set some great track times.
-Ergonomic design is awful. If you adjust the seating position so you can correctly hold the wheel, you'll get sore shins in seconds. Needs wheel reach adjustment, and lumbar support. -Engine is just a bit underpowered. Tuning it for 10 extra HP would do wonders. -Folding mirrors!