2007 Toyota Matrix XR 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
The fact that I put on over 24k in the first year of ownership should tell you how much I like this car. My highway mileage when keeping the car between 65-70 has been routinely 38 mpg. In town, 29 mpg. In terms of "fun to drive factor", this car has not disappointed. By fun, I don't mean lots of torque. Think nimble, like a Mini Cooper or other small wheel base car with perhaps a little more oomph. The power is more than acceptable for a commuter car. The capacity is deceiving, with the seats down, I fit 8' lumber with no prob. Headroom is excellent, my 6'5" friend sits inside with room to spare. DIY maintenance has been easy with only oil & filt change and tire rotation every 5k.
Mileage. Reliability. Capacity. The fact that I still smile everytime I drive it. Capability in snow & rain. Mine is 2WD, and I still take it off- road & have needed to winch it out only once. I love the styling, I looked at its sister, The Vibe, but it didn't do it for me. Tires have nice grip.
I researched this car for over 2 years and went to buy an AWD model, but it was discontinued in 06. Dissapointing. I am 5-10 and had to get used to the close seating position, it needs telesc steering if your over 5-6. 4" more in the hatch width would allow 4' cargo. Cargo surface scratches easy