I recently came off a trip and the mileage I got with my Toyota Matrix was 40 mpg going and 41 mpg returning. It's no bull. I couldn't believe it myself. I never drove over 62 mph; used cruise control; and I was the only person in the car. The car operated flawlessly. I'm 73 and this is probably the best vehicle I have ever owned. I have owned many.
Bought an'09 base model 1.8L manual with power package June 1 of 2008 for 16K. Have 13500 miles on it. Smooth ride, smooth shifting, excellent stability control for cornering, excellent disc brakes, decent gas mileage (28-29 city and 34-35 highway), good cargo capacity (can fit my bike w/o taking wheel off), very readable dash, adjustable telescopic steering wheel, seat comfort lacking in lumbar support, poor paint job (easily scratches from road debris), and horrible rear visibility (almost didn't buy it because of poor visibility). Given price difference with a Prius, e.g. 16K vs 23K, I figured it was a better value. Glad I bought it.
brakes, cargo space, driver's seat a couple of inches higher than most comparable cars, stability control, smooth ride and smooth shifting, price, extremely reliable
Improving rear visibility is a MUST - not with cameras which can break, but with different rear window/pillar design. More comfortable seats, i.e. lumbar support, and a better paint job would be nice as well.
I just bought a new Matrix. So far, I love the car. It drives well and with the larger engine, has great pickup. I am a large person, but with the extra headroom in the vehicle, I don't feel cramped. I think this car will meet and exceed my expectations for an economy vehicle.
I love the room with the seats down. The instrumentation is very similar to my last Toyota, I love just being able to find the windshield wipers, cruise control, gas flap opener, etc.
This is an update to a previous review. I have had this car for 14 months now and 17000 miles. It still runs as flawlessly as when I bought it and the ride is still as harsh as it was at the beginning. It rides okay on highways or the interstate, but it's quite rough on less than ideal city streets. The suspension is quite hard. I mean the car barely moves when I push on the front bumper. I have not had the paint chip problem that many reviewers comment on. I have metallic paint on mine. I'm not sure if all models do, but my experience has been that metallic paint holds up much better. Other than the ride, everything has been good - build quality, handling, appearance.
Favorite features are the ease of getting in and out due to the height of the car and the handling which is very good.
Improve rear visibility. Provide rocking headrests. Soften the suspension.
Just bought this car and I am really enjoying driving and looking at it! I love the position of the stick and it is so much fun to shift. I thought I wanted the bigger engine but I find the 1.8 plenty of power. It is a great combination of fun, practicality and economy. You can't beat the deals Toyota is offering now. Way below invoice! Shop around if you can't get it. Great for driving the roads of the Wine County in Sonoma County. Come visit!
Comfort, handling and shifting the stick, not to mention the gas savings.