Rented a brand new '06 Matrix (1K miles) on a vacation trip. We were thinking of buying one, so it was a great to test one out for an extended period of time. Gas mileage was great, but it lacked power (was very loud as it kicked into lower gears on hills - 2 people and luggage), accelerator was very sensitive, and the interior felt very cheap. Seats were comfortable for a few hours but sagged after a while. Should be OK for local commutes. Exterior shape is pleasing to the eye but put together cheaply. We hit a small pothole at low speed (5mph) and one side of the front air dam popped off. Found out that it was held together by plastic screws when I went to snap it back together!
Exterior shape, gas mileage, folding seat backs.
Sound insulation, cheap interior feel, cheaply assembled exterior, loud engine on hills, accelerator too sensitive.