2006 Toyota Matrix Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Toyota Matrix Wagon

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Toyota Matrix Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.8 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 118 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/29 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Toyota Matrix

  • Versatile and affordable, the 2006 Toyota Matrix is one of the best compact wagons for hauling people and cargo in its price class.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Versatile cargo area, roomy rear seats, good gas mileage, generous standard equipment list, availability of all-wheel drive and stability control.

  • Cons

    Modest torque output, less fun to drive than its styling suggests.

  • What's New for 2006

    There are no major changes to this year's Toyota wagon, although new SAE testing procedures have resulted in lower horsepower ratings.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (8 total reviews)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Gr8 little matrix

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Matrix 4dr Wagon AWD (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

BUY IT ! We have owned ours since new. 38k now, avg 28 to 30mpg depends on city/hwy. Maint costs? Oil and regular sched. maint. is the only $$ we've spent. The Matrix is well built, dependable as a Toyota is supposed to be. Drives like a little sports car. Absolutely loves snow and adverse roads. Ease of getting into and out of the Matrix are among the #1 reasons we chose ours. Handy instrument arrangements and excellent visibility for lane changes. There are a number who say the little Matrix is terribly underpowered, well - we think not. How often do we need to exceed 75 mph ? Do we need to accelerate to fwy speeds quickly? Yup - and the Matrix gets that done with ease.

Great car

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Matrix 4dr Wagon AWD (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

This is my first Toyota, but it won't be my last. This is a fun little car that is nimble and fun to drive. The AWD is a must here in the mountains and this car gets great mileage also. There is good visibility from the driver's seat and good take-off from the little four. The a/c works well enough to keep everyone cool. We love this little wagon.

Happy matrix owner

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Matrix 4dr Wagon AWD (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

Bought to replace my wife's 1995 4-Runner 4X4 with many miles on it. Although we knew we were giving up power (from 6 cyl to 4 cyl), the Matrix has performed well for us. During wet roads or windy conditions, the AWD keeps the vehicle on the road. The windshield and windows provide excellent visibility. We have averaged about 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway (2500 miles on the car in the 1st month), which is at least 50% better than the 4-Runner gave us. Overall we like the Matrix because it provides us flexibility: we can haul 4 or 5 people with decent leg room, or haul loads where the front passenger seat folds down. For the price, we enjoy driving this car.

Needs some improvements!

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Matrix 4dr Wagon AWD (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

Handling in any slightly icy or wet weather is very poor. Gear shifts are poor with the tachometer spiking up and down as automatic shifts into gears. No room in tire hold for a real tire. I prefer not to use the donut. When I was removing a package from the passenger side, a handle flipped over the gear shift and the car jumped into reverse! (Ignition was still on but had been in park.) Fueel economy is nowhere near the sticker. Best I have gotten (100 per day highway driving) is 26 mpg. Whenever the weather is cold or wet, fuel economy drops and the "sticking" problem with the gears increases. At times it feels like I have to push the car to get it to move.

Nice little car

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Matrix 4dr Wagon AWD (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

With just a little over 1,000 miles on the odometer am getting about 27 mpg average. This is a nice quiet little car and seats five easily. Runs smooth and handles well. I like the cruise and all the power options. It does ride quite low to the ground, which is nice on clear dry roadways, but not for winter driving conditions. The AWD is fantastic. We can rely upon it to keep everything moving in slick conditions. I am hoping that the mpg will increase a little over time. But very satisfied so far.

Best awd buy

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Matrix 4dr Wagon AWD (1.8L 4cyl 4A)

I live in the Berkshire Mountains (read mega snow and ice). This car, with all season radials, although packed in with snow from the plow, drives out like it was summer. What a delight. Add to that great gas mileage, space for luggage for a long trip and my huge German Shepherd, all the bells and whistles one could want (auto key, air, cruise, etc)--all for under $19,000--who could ask for more? And a Toyota to boot--I could find no better car on the road for reliability and long-term value, and I did my homework.

Full 2006 Toyota Matrix Review

What's New for 2006

There are no major changes to this year's Toyota wagon, although new SAE testing procedures have resulted in lower horsepower ratings.


The Toyota Matrix is based on the Corolla platform. The goal of the car is to offer the interior functionality and flexibility usually associated with larger vehicles but in a compact package. It's part of a growing list of sporty and affordable five-door hatchbacks/wagons. Unlike previous Toyota wagon variants, the Matrix stands tall -- 5 inches taller than the Corolla -- and this gives the cabin a spacious feel, not unlike the PT Cruiser. This also allows it to accommodate adults comfortably in the backseat. On the outside, the Toyota Matrix has a more angular front fascia, including its own grille, headlights and taillights. And while the Corolla has a traditional, smooth-bodied profile, the Matrix benefits from an artisan's chisel, as a gentle valley breaks up the tall body side with an S-shaped character line flowing below it.

In lieu of a wagonizing cargo box, designers gave the Matrix an abridged rear, such that it is essentially a hatchback and isn't likely to turn away younger buyers. The Toyota Matrix is more practical than most of its larger-capacity peers. Its backseat offers enough room for adults to get comfortable, while its durable plastic cargo floor offers adjustable tie-down points for securing all manner of bulky and/or messy cargo. What's more, both the rear seats and the front-passenger seat fold perfectly flat to allow owners to transport items up to 8 feet in length. We're convinced that the 2006 Toyota Matrix would be a satisfying choice for many people -- it rides comfortably; it handles capably enough; it has plenty of room in the backseat for your friends (or your kids); and it provides a lot of flexibility for those whose interests require a lot of equipment. The Matrix is about getting your friends and cargo to your destination with minimal hassle, discomfort and expense along the way and perhaps enjoying a tailgate party once you get there.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Toyota Matrix is available in three trim levels: base, XR and XRS. Base-level cars have the necessities such as air conditioning and a CD player, but most of the worthwhile features are optional. Go with the XR or XRS to get standard power locks and windows, keyless entry and a rear wiper. Other options include 16- or 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, an all-weather package, a DVD-based navigation system, a power moonroof and two different premium sound systems.

Powertrains and Performance

The Toyota Matrix comes with a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine. Buyers of the base and XR are offered a choice of either front-wheel drive or full-time all-wheel drive. With front-wheel drive, the engine makes 126 horsepower and 122 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel-drive models make less power (118 hp) due to different exhaust routing. A four-speed automatic is the only transmission available with AWD, while front-drive cars can also be ordered with a five-speed manual. The front-drive XRS is the sportiest trim. It comes standard with a 164-hp version of the 1.8-liter engine, four-wheel disc brakes and a six-speed manual transmission; no automatic is available.


Antilock brakes are standard on the Matrix XRS and all-wheel-drive models, and optional on front-drive base and XR models. Seat-mounted side airbags for front occupants and full-length side curtain airbags are optional across the line. Stability control is another worthwhile option. In NHTSA crash testing, the Toyota Matrix earned five stars (the best score possible) for driver protection in frontal impacts and four stars for the front passenger. For side impacts, it received three stars for front-passenger protection and four stars for rear-passenger protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

For cargo, the Toyota Matrix is very similar to a compact SUV. The tailgate opens upward, and the rear glass can be raised independently. The main cargo area and rear seatbacks are unapologetically coated in hard plastic, the idea being that it's a lot easier to clean dirt and mud off one long expanse of plastic than out of matted carpet. A special cargo-floor track features eight adjustable tie-down hooks. Underneath the floor is a hidden storage compartment. The 60/40-split rear seats can be folded flat, thereby expanding cargo room to 53.2 cubic feet. The front-passenger seat also folds forward, allowing items more than 8 feet long to be carried with the tailgate closed.

Driving Impressions

Despite Toyota's claims, the Matrix isn't particularly sporty. With the base and XR cars, acceleration is only average. AWD-equipped cars come off as particularly taxed because of their extra weight and obligatory automatic transmissions. Even the Matrix XRS with its 164-hp engine isn't particularly rewarding as most of its power is made in the high reaches of the rev range. Handling, too, is modest. The Matrix's ride quality, however, is smooth and comfortable.

Talk About The 2006 Matrix

Gas Mileage


  • 22
  • cty
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs