I have been a big fan of this car since I bought it new seven years ago. I bought the 5-speed manual base line model. And for the first 100K, the only thing I had to replace were the usual things - tires, battery, brake pads, clutch (in that order). In fact, the clutch didn't start to go until I cleared 110K, and I do a lot of city driving.
In the last six months, the car has just started falling apart. First the clutch, then the parking brake (twice), the struts, the suspension system, the air conditioner is leaking... I've put more money into this car in the last three months than I did the whole rest of the time I've owned it.
Good gas mileage, higher seats than most cars of this class, decent backseat size, incredible cargo capacity, and just awfully dang cute.
I would have put in a better sound system (the factory one is cheap), set the clutch lower (a mechanic can do this for you) and what is up with the hubcap locks?
I lost a hubcap every time I hit a pot hole for the first year, at which point I chucked them all and replaced them with Camry ones.
Also, the ride was never exceptional, although I never considered it a major issue.
2005 Toyota Matrix XR Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
Toyota 5 speed matrix owner--- this car is a great care and i will miss her.This toyota is going on her second transmission at 160k, one trans came with the car the second one came from toyata parts dept new. Toyota says no know problems with 5/speed they must not look online,or why do they stock so many in the wharehouse if there is no problem. I can see clutch problems from many driving styles but the trans imploding and the clutch and p plate and throwout bearing are still fine. Toyota you are on your way to being GM---we do not know anything about your problem. The matrix is a great car buy the automatic-- Toyata will not stand behind the 5/speed Car will go 300k or 3 5/speeds why
Great car-- everything
Build a 5 speed that will not blow-up
Stand behind your product
I bought my 2005 Matrix new and have been pretty satisfied with it. It's comfortable (even for passengers), spacious, reliable, and quite peppy. This car is not 4-wheel drive but it easily climbs dirt roads in the mountains. Probably the only fault with it is it doesn't handle inclement weather well at all (I live in the mountains so this posed a serious problem with the snow). I eventually had to put some sandbags down on the passenger foot areas to provide additional weight. Since my usual passengers are 3 dogs, this hasn't encumbered them but, for older children or adults sitting in the back, this would most likely be quite uncomfortable.
2005 Toyota Matrix XR AWD 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
I have had my Matrix for 6 years in March 2011. I bought it specifically for the all-wheel drive needed for New England winters. The Matrix never gets stuck in the snow, though the standard tires are slippery and you have to drive slowly to keep from skidding in turns, and make sure not to stop too suddenly. It's possible getting standard all-season tires instead of the sportier ones will remedy that. I LOVE driving my Matrix on beaches, sand dunes, and any off-roading I can get. It's so much fun! It holds its own with any 4X4 truck for any typical rugged fun. I just got into an accident in snow on an unplowed road, at a sharp curve, doing down a steep hill. My Matrix kept me safe and sound!
All-wheel drive, adjustable seat height, fog lights, rear wiper. Car adjusts very comfortably to accommodate me at 5'0" tall and my husband at 6'1" tall.
There is no setting for using the vent on the windshield with CLOSED exhaust. Both vent settings are OPEN exhaust only. Which means if I want my windshield to stay free of fog, I have to breathe in truck and car fumes. This is a MAJOR drawback that will affect what I buy next time I'm in the market for a new car. Even the new Camry, which I have as a loaner car right now, only keeps the exhaust closed for a couple of minutes before automatically shutting it off. So I have to risk taking my eyes off the road every two minutes to press the button to close the exhaust again.