Have 109k km (now 2009). Very functional, mechanically very sound, and will be difficult to replace. Watch the blind spots (thick windshield posts, small mirrors). Factory tires plain dangerous on wet/slush/snow. Road noise is high (even with undercoating). Single disk CD had to be replaced (jumped tracks). Sluggish initial acceleration but o.k. at highway speed (to be expected for 1.8). Signal light doesn't cancel with less than full turns (nuisance).
No mechanical problems while on warranty-just routine maintenance. One factory fault-starter would engage but would not start. Once attended to, problem solved. Has been a great little car.
Factory tires were plain dangerous-hydro-planed when hitting standing pools of water (not very deep) on city/highway roads. Very poor grip on ice/slush. Replaced at 50k km with good quality Goodyear and handling was much better. At 109k km, front brakes were 8mm and back 4mm (not good).
The car is standard shift with six forward and one reverse with low profile tires and a factory modified engine that goes to 180 horse and 8,000 rpm. It gets between 30 to 35 mpg. It is part sport car, part economy car, part SUV and is always reliable. It is a fun car to drive. Toyota did not put many of these cars on the market. There are many SRV's with AWD but this is not one. Instead it has a sports car six forward gear standard transmission.
It handles mountain road with great ease, it can be down shifted to any gear at almost any speed. I have had third gear to 5000 rpm doing about 60 mph and still will to climb to higher rpm's. On the highway and I need to pass a car I have shifted back into fourth and let it open up.
I bought a Toyota after having Jeeps, Fords, and Chevy's and I thought I could buy a car that would last 200,000 miles. I was wrong. I am very unhappy with this car and I probably won't buy another Toyota. I will go back to Ford or Chevy. What is wrong: - Constant Chirp, Chirp under the hood. (The belt and tensioner have been fixed and or replaced 4 times.) I only have 71,000 miles on the car. - Drivers door won't unlock without key. - Tires had to be replaced at 15,000 miles. - Fan motor replaced at 45,000 miles as it would not work all the time. I never had a problem with my 1991 Ford Explorer or my 2002 Ford Explorer or my Chevy Pickup (S10). No more Toyota's at my house.
Fix Belt Tensioner, new tire type, better overall quality components.
I purchased (ordered) the manual transmission - I love 5 speeds. I love my Matrix because it can carry so much. I went from a pick-up to this and I can still haul a lot of materials. I love the drive, the seats all go down and I like that the back is plastic. I don't even use the cargo net and rear cover but they are nice features. It is very comfortable and I love all the little storage places on the dash board.
The amount of room for hauling. I still miss my pick-up, but for a small car, I sure can haul a lot.
Rubber bumper pads should be standard on ALL models.
I bought 2005 Matrix in July 2005. Battery failed after 20K miles, dealer replaced on warranty. Interior plastic features delaminating if grabbed by hands. Tires (terrible continental) replaced after 15K miles. Cruise control failed after 17K miles. Mileage is not meeting specs criteria? Vehicle garaged, currently Jan 09 24K miles. Summary: very poor quality vehicle. I had 1999 Ford F150 pick-up never a problem. In 10 yrs not even light bulb failed @150.