Handles well even at my normal cruising speed of 65. My wife and I are both happy about the lack of excessive engine noise, even at 70 mph. Gas mileage averages 30+ in overall driving. A little slippage on snow and ice but I think it's because of the standard "Continental" tires.
Versatile seating and carrying capacity, peppy enough to pass, OK fuel efficiency and reliable.
Would like to see a flat face instrument console cause cleaning the individual circles is stupid. I'm 5'10 and would like another inch upward play in the steering wheel. How about a standard travel bar for hanging clothes. Rear bumper paint scrapes from normal unloading is not up to Toyota standard.
I traded in my 2001 Celica for this, mainly because I wanted something with more utility while maintaining the fuel economy I had become accustomed to. Engine is weak in low revs, better as they build, and the transmission upshifts way too soon when merging or passing. The interior makes this car worth owning, for sheer cargo space, you'd be hard pressed to find something this light and economical with this much space. Handles well. I'd gladly buy the upcoming replacement, as long as it gets more grunt, a better transmission, and disc brakes in the rear. I would definitely recommend this car to anyone, knowing that my only hang-ups are its lack of sportiness.
Continental tires (on alloys), cargo space, fuel economy, styling, decent base stereo, build quality (particularly the leather steering wheel).
Needs a 5th gear and a transmission that doesn't upshift at horrible moments, paid extra for ABS, needs disc brakes around, needs a more powerful engine (something to compete with VW's GTI or MazdaSpeed3), iPod adapter, optional leather interior, better cruise control
We are happy with the car but did have an electronic component plug come loose after one week that cut the power to most of the car. After repair there has been no reoccurrence.
The XR auto gets 30.6 mpg overall. Comfortable and with one rear seat folded down it was easy to bring home a 42" tv standing upright. Would not have fit in a hatchback.
Tires! Replaced Continental tires after 14000 miles due to cupping. Tires became noisy and the steering wheel started to move back and forth after 8k miles. Watch closely and return before 12000 miles if you have the Continentals. 2007 models now have Goodyears.
Was deciding between the Vibe, Mazda3, Mazda6, Passat, and Matrix. Decided on the Vibe/Passat based on price, gas mileage and test drives, then chose the Matrix because I started to prefer its style over the Vibe. Love the Matrix, kicks the crap out of my old '99 Chevy Metro which got a little better MPG, had no acceleration, but was a great college car (cheap and reliable). Love the storage space. I have been keeping a complete record of the gas mileage since I got the car and it gets an average of 28 MPG (the way I drive), but is capable of getting up to 33 MPG (if you drive really efficiently).
A CD-player that can read MP3 CDs would be nice (maybe that was an option I didn't see though). Better starter tires! Mine came with Continentals and I already need new ones at 22k miles because of cupping.
I love the 2006 Toyota Matrix. It's a well-built, peppy, fuel economic car that's fun to drive. The only problem we have with it is that the small rear windows (hatch and behind the doors) create bigger blind spots, but once you get to know the car, it's not so bad. My husband and I bought this car after our 2005 Matrix was totaled. A speeding drunk driver jumped a sloped median, landing his Jeep Cherokee V8 on the hood of our Matrix, then flipped over and crushed part of our roof. My husband and I were injured, but WE WALKED AWAY, vowing to buy another Matrix since that one saved our lives. I heard that the Matrix may be replaced in Toyota's line-up, so get one while you can!
6-disc CD changer, sun/moon roof, great turning radius, decent amount of pep, instrument panel laid out nicely, storage for everything, you actually sit a little taller than in most cars so there's a better view of the road, handles nicely around tight turns, (proven) safety features.
Windows in back could be bigger and the detachable rear headrests further decrease visibility until you're used to the car. Sidenote: airbag gas (all cars) smells like burning plastic. No one mentions this and people in crashes have actually made their injuries worse trying to get away from a "fire".