Ok, where do I start? This is one of the best cars I have ever owned and I have owned many in my time, all new. True, this vehicle is not a performance car. The addition of a cold air short ram intake system help immensely. As for ride, the stock tires have to be replaced. Mine were replaced with Goodyears comfort assurance, again, big difference. Ive used it for every project around the house, versatility is excellent for a small package. The vehicle has never let me down in bad weather never stuck in snow or on ice. I have driven around vehicles stuck on snowy hills! As for mileage, a consistent 40 MPG was recorded from Jersey to Florida down Rt.95. Average is around 26 city.
AWD system, versatility.
Larger engine the 2.4 liter used in the 06 and 07 Rav 4 would do nicely.
Our family pretty much only purchases toyotas for their reliability and mpg, however, I will no longer be following this trend. Toyota really needs to figure out interior driver's legroom issues in ALL of their models. There's no reason why the front seat should not be able to move back another 4-6 inches. This vehicle will be cramped if you are over 5'7".
As a first-time Toyota owner, I was looking for a surrogate Honda Civic wagon. I'm extemely disappointed in the quality--the transmission has already failed, requiring a $1300 repair. I had required maintenance performed ever since purchasing the car new, primarily by the dealership. While the car has a lot of potential, I will never buy another Toyota; anyone looking for a Matrix may want to avoid a 2003 manual transmission model.
I like the interior versatility (cup holders, storage compartments, and multiple configurations) good gas mileage, placement of the shifter and driver's seat adjustments.
Visibility out the back is poor, and almost completely obliterated with the rear seat headrests in place. The sun visors are too short. I associate the red-illuminated instrument panel with warning lights. There's too much wind noise, especially around the front doors.
We purchased this car for my wife that was averaging 40K per year in mileage and she needed something that would drive good in the snow. The AWD is great, but we are on our second set of tires. Currently the car is in need of brakes, but not too bad for a car with 123K on it. We have only done 60 or 90K major service, but nothing else. We have used the car for major yard projects and it fit everything. We have also used that car to move two times 600+ and had no issues with the car. We've done numerous road trips with the car and every time it works great. The only one complaint that we have is the car seems to burn more oil than usual and the horse power a LOT less than needed.