I'm 6'3" 240lbs and this car fits me very well shockingly. I have Arthritis in my knees so leg room is important for me, the matrix fits me perfect. I needed good gas mileage and storage to take IT equipment to and from clients. The Matrix fit the bill. My only down side I can live with is lack of any power. The 1.8L 1ZZ-FE motor will have to downshift two gears on the highway going up hills. The noise in the cabin on a scale of 1 thru 10 (1 being a Cadillac and 10 being a 747 spooling up), the matrix is a solid 5. Not horrible but definitely no money was invested in sound deadening materials in it. Rip your door panels of and add dynomat. sound insulation (adds weight but turns the car into a solid 2 :)
Mine is the 2008 Matrix Base. I was shocked anti-lock brakes were optional on this year. The ride is nice for the class the car is in. I love it over all.
We decided to replace our 2002 Subaru Legacy wagon (EPA: 18/25) with a more fuel-efficient car. We went with the Matrix because it was the most fuel-efficient, economical, and reliable car we could find that would fit a large dog in the back. Great dog car! The dog barrier screws into the back of the rear seat - much more secure than any other dog barrier I've encountered. The plastic lining the cargo area is SO much easier to clean than the carpet in other cars. It even came with a bunch of useful nets and screws to organize the cargo area. Perfect car for us and our dogs. And I love how all the seats on the passenger side fold down and the rear window opens to accommodate long items.
Fuel economy, practical cargo area, fantastic dog divider, flexibility of fold-down seats and rear window, fun to drive, anticipated great Toyota reliability.
Hybrid! Add strong factory roof rack (but not in the back of the car like the silly rack on the Vibe). Rubber bumpers (rather than easily scratched painted ones). Unfortunately, the 2009 matrix has a more sloped back window and no back side-windows, so it will no longer be such a great dog car.
I've only driven my new 2008 manual transmission basic Matrix 200 miles but as of this moment, it's my favorite car I've ever had. It just feels like the "perfect fit". I guess it's really too early for me to say much but so far, so good. I like the way it drives. I like the looks of the inside and outside. I like the amount of visibility it has. The seats are firm but very comfortable on the back. I test drove a Honda Fit Sport and was surprised at how much more I like the Matrix.