Let me start by saying I am not gentle with anything I own. I picked this car up with 180,000 miles for $2500 and it had not been taken care of. I learned how to drive stick on it and took it everywhere from the lower Sierra Nevada mountain range on trails where you need a 4x4, to out in the mohave desert where I jumed it so high I ripped the wheel wells out when I landed. It does not quit! The AC has always blown cold and the only thing that I've ever done is give it an oil change, new tires, and a new clutch (that last one was my fault). Now sadly, just short of 200,000 miles the transmission has given out and it is on its way to the junk yard. But it has seen and done more than most trucks ever will and it has never left me stranded no matter where I go. The only thing that could be better is it has a little road noise and it doesn't shift very smooth, plus you have to put the clutch to the floor to shift. Mabey that's just mine but either way I am more than pleased with this car.
2003 Toyota Matrix XRS Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
I bought this matrix xrs brand new. Zero miles on it back in April 2002. Now it's September 2015 with 380,130 miles on it. Yes it's miles not km. this car is a beast. original engine and Six speed transmission Original air conditioning, power steering, alternator,radiator fan.
Major parts replaced: Starter Water pump Catalytic converter
This car still gets 30 mpg, best car ever owned. My target is to hit 500,000 on it.
Odometer will stop at 299.999 miles. To replace odometer it's about $850 to do it. I just use my trip gauges to keep track of mileage. The key is keep up with the oil changes.
2003 Toyota Matrix XRS Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 6M)
I bought a 2003 XRS w/190k for $3k, fuel efficient, absolute blast to drive! Exceptional ride and build quality. Most importantly, this vehicle saved my life! I was struck from behind by a Cadillac doing well over 60 mph, I forced the driver door open and walked away unscathed!(5-star frontal and rear crash ratings) A sporty look with very practical storage options. As far is I'm concerned, one of the best overall cars ever produced. Only drawback is this engine requires premium gasoline, but with nearly 30 mpg it's not that big of a deal. A true driver enthusiast's car.
June 2016 update: My Matrix is nearly 14 years old now and shows no signs of rust. In fact, the headlights have just started to fog over a bit. Admittedly, it is parked in a covered garage during weekdays, but the rest of the time it is in the elements in SE Pennsylvania. The factory CD player bit the dust after 14 years and I replaced it with a Bluetooth capable head unit. Still, if you look to buy a used Matrix, do not expect Nav, or bluetooth. There is no touchscreen unless it's an aftermarket unit. There is a lot of road noise at highway speeds too. But, it has yet to require any major repair. Still purrs like a kitten and the 5 spd manual has been bullet proof. I've thought about replacing it for something a bit more comfortable, but with this kind of reliability, fuel mileage and versatility, I simply can't justify the expense. At this rate, I'll be driving it for another 14 years.
I bought my Matrix, new, in Sept '02 and since then have only put 52K on it. I have done all of the routine maintenance and have only ever had to replace the serpentine belt a few times and one brake light bulb. This car has been more reliable than I ever could have hoped for. Plus, it has great cargo capacity. I can load it with dozens of bags of mulch, or a week's worth of camping gear. Even my 29 inch mountain bike fits in the back with the seats down (with the front wheel still on!) I will admit, on long drives the seating position can become annoying, but bring a small pillow or something and you can go for hours, plus, you won't need to stop for gas often! Avg MPG, 30 in summer, 26 in winter.
2003 Toyota Matrix XR Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
My mom and dad bought this car new and when I turned 16 in 2008, they turned it over to me. Before I had it, my brother drove it and got in a wreck with a large SUV and it survived with just a large dent in the front end. Since then, I have put this car through the wringer. I'm a rock climber, so I am constantly travelling and the storage capacity is amazing with the folding back seats. This is my go-to road trip car. It's now 11 years old and I just took it up through the Adirondaks, White Mountains and to Maine and back to Ohio. It has a little over 150K and it's still running strong. I'm actually planning a trip across the country to visit my brother in Portland, OR from Ohio.
The Sport kit is only superficial. I have just about ripped off all of it. All it really did was scrape all the time anyway.