by cadyn on Jul 17, 2013 Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Matrix XR 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
I bought by 2006 Matrix XR new and have loved every day of owning it. I've never had any mechanical problems, just kept up with regular oil changes (full synthetic) religiously and regular maintenance. Had a main computer issue in 2008/9, but was covered under warranty and was replaced. Fairly inexpensive upkeep. Excellent cargo space, much bigger inside than it seems! I've been able to fit bicycles, chairs, tables... (not all at once of course). Great for road trips, averages almost 30 mpg highway. Could have better lumbar support. Not great pickup when accelerating uphill, but no complaints. I love this car and am so sad to have to trade it in for an AWD vehicle for my mountainous terrain!
by RichT on Nov 29, 2009 Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Matrix XR 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
I have enjoyed driving and owning this Matrix as my driving needs are constantly evolving. It handles the highway and the city with a flexible response, plus it averages nothing less than 30mpg in mixed driving conditions. It has good room for 4 large adults and with the seats folded down, it can haul 30 cases of beer. Having driven it in the snow and bad weather, it never fails or complains.
by Zach on Oct 22, 2009 Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Matrix XR 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
I have had this car for 4 years and haven't had a single problem with it! I bought it brand new when got tired of investing too much money into a 93 Ford Explorer that was going downhill. Toyota's MPG ratings are right on. I never get less than 25mpg around town and on the freeway I get 32mpg. This car is great for traveling and road trips. The cargo space is wonderful too. I play music and needed to fit my 2 bass cabs, amp and guitars into the car and they fit just fine. My buddy bought a Matrix cause he needed a new car and liked the roomy-ness (he is 6'4", 250lbs+). He fits his whole drum set and monster keyboard in his!
by Excellent Car on Sep 7, 2009 Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Matrix XR 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
This is an exceptional vehicle from the outside styling to the inside floor plan. Easy to carry 4 big adults including height. We take our car on the road and what a wonderful way to travel, easy to carry your luggage with the seats down and a clothes rod in the back. Recommend this vehicle to anyone looking for simple, quality and a good investment.
by Jordan on May 19, 2009 Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Matrix XR 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
Have had this car for one month. Love it. I'm a mobile computer service tech, it's great for my job. I've put 4k miles. Previous owner drove it 28k mi/yr (now has 84k mi on it). Drives/ looks new. Stores and accesses tools/equip. easily. I like the independent window and door hatches in back. Very roomy. Slept in back area seats folded down. 110volt power is handy for laptop. I just happen to have front ABS brakes with upgraded Toyota TRD pads and rotors (slotted and drilled). EXCELLENT STOPPING POWER!!! I live in CA and it's saved me multiple times. My '97 accord did not stop like this. Also, if you want, this car can tow a 1,500lb. trailer, but haven't tried it. Might be kinda slow.
by chosepoorly on Apr 18, 2009 Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Matrix XR 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
Bought the car new and am a very careful owner. My last car, a Chevy housed outside in the elements, was 12 years old when I traded it in with very little problems. After 2 years, the fuel pump went. After 2 1/2 years, electrical system and sensors failed. Just after the warranty expired, multiple systems failed, requiring a new battery and $400 worth of repairs. I have to drive long distances for my new job and have to trade it because I don't know when or where it will fail next. Disappointing, considering Toyota's supposed quality.
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.
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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.
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.
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