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.
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.
I have now over 186,000 miles and the only major expense I had was brakes and tires and the rest was just periodic oil changes. I drive this car for work and pleasure. Let me tell you, aside from the so so fuel economy, this is a car that does everything and never lets me down.
It has a roomy interior. Fun to drive, so so fuel economy and the best of all this car never lets me down!
The only suggestion I have is to make the diesel version of the Matrix available!
I ordered my Toyota Matrix with a 5speed manual trans. I have always driven manual and wanted to continue. My car is 4 years old and I'm installing a new clutch! My last Toyota Corolla was 15 years old and no clutch. I also had to replace the tires at about 15K miles. I had a little Chevy S10 p/u with manual trans and it was great except I wanted more interior. It was 5 years and I didn't have to replace anything. What has happened to Toyotas? I'm so disappointed.
hauling room - plastic back
Spend the money to build the cars like Toyota used to do. I sure paid for a quality car.