I have found it to have just enough power, just enough size. I can fit anything in it. It's very comfortable on long trips. The manual transmission makes it nice to drive, since the engine is a bit small, but the great gas mileage more than makes up for it. But I don't trust it. Since the transmission failed at 108,000km with no explanation from Toyota, I am always worried that it will fail again, or that some other bearings will fail and leave me stranded, so for the last six months it's been stressful to take this car on a longer trip. There's nothing worse than not "trusting" your car! All in all, I love my Matrix, but I don't trust it.
Nice interior design. Rear hatch window opens separately. Nice and bright headlights. Decent GM stereo. Awesome on gas. All seats fold down with hard plastic on back.
Too much plastic inside. Interior trim paint chips easily. Could use a little more horsepower. The look of the car from the rear, especially without the skirt is a little boring. It seems like the transmission was changed for the 2004, otherwise I'd suggest that as an improvement ;)
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.