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.