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".
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.