I have had my Matrix for 6 years in March 2011. I bought it specifically for the all-wheel drive needed for New England winters. The Matrix never gets stuck in the snow, though the standard tires are slippery and you have to drive slowly to keep from skidding in turns, and make sure not to stop too suddenly. It's possible getting standard all-season tires instead of the sportier ones will remedy that. I LOVE driving my Matrix on beaches, sand dunes, and any off-roading I can get. It's so much fun! It holds its own with any 4X4 truck for any typical rugged fun. I just got into an accident in snow on an unplowed road, at a sharp curve, doing down a steep hill. My Matrix kept me safe and sound!
I switched from SUVs to this car for fuel economy. It is fun to drive, but repairs are costly. Air conditioner repair was over $1000 and the brake rotors warped at 39000 miles -another $550. Toyota acknowledges no responsibility. This is my last Toyota.
I have been a big fan of this car since I bought it new seven years ago.
I bought the 5-speed manual base line model.
And for the first 100K, the only thing I had to replace were the usual things - tires, battery, brake pads, clutch (in that order).
In fact, the clutch didn't start to go until I cleared 110K, and I do a lot of city driving.
In the last six months, the car has just started falling apart.
First the clutch, then the parking brake (twice), the struts, the suspension system, the air conditioner is leaking... I've put more money into this car in the last three months than I did the whole rest of the time I've owned it.