My husband and I bought this car about 3 1/2 years ago. We downgraded from an SUV to try and counterbalance rising gas prices at the time. I had done my research. Reliability seemed good, and it had very few what I call "important" car complaints such as transmission, lemon issues, or major car malfunctions. This still holds true today, so if you're looking for a car that includes those things then this is the car for you. What I didn't look at was handling, particularly in the snow as we live near the mountains. The storage room is fantastic, comfort level was great for long road trips, and the mpg were not horrible. After looking at additional reviews, I will second what many have said though. The paint does chip, the interior does seem to scratch easily, and the real zinger is that the clutch is the worst I have ever experienced. I have driven manual cars my whole life, and I can't for the life of me catch on to this one. After 3 1/2 years I still either rev it excessively or let it die trying to take off. When pushing the clutch in, it's like pulling a rubber band. The tension just gets worse and worse so there is no let off point. You better pray you don't run into traffic otherwise you'll have a sore leg the next day. The engine is weak, but I didn't expect anything less because I wanted a car that got better gas mileage. Between the clutch and the weak engine though, driving in the snow is a nightmare (yes I have snow tires on). I absolutely HAVE to start it in second gear or else I spin out and even then it's iffy. The lack of response on ice makes it a road hazard not only to me but anyone around me as well. I thought I just needed some time getting used to it, because my last car was an SUV. I think 3 winters is enough testing time. Oh, and yes, I have driven in the snow my whole life and yes other front wheel drive cars seem to do just fine. Pros: Roomy, great storage, decent gas mileage. Ideal for road trips. Cons: Terra-bad in the snow or even rain, worst clutch ever, poor paint and interior quality.
I bought mine in 2011 with 52k miles on it. There was one previous owner. I beat this car up in the 6 years I had it. I put about 30k miles/year on it. It made three long hauls to mountain ranges and several 500 mile trips to visit my family and a 700 mike trip to the beach. I only ever had to do regular maintenance: replace clutch, brakes, tires, and change oil. I will say 3 of the 4 door handles broke off in the past year but they still worked and the poor thing was never parked in a garage. The only reason I’m getting rid of it is bc the transmission went out at 200,000 miles. While it’s rare for manual transmissions to go out, I put two after market clutches in it which I’ve heard can be bad for transmissions. Otherwise the car ran great for me the entire time I’ve owned it and up until this last issue, I received many compliments from mechanics on how great everything ran considering it’s age and mileage.
Made one of the biggest mistakes of my life when I decided to buy a Toyota to save on gas. Best mileage i have seen is about 24mpg. The car vibrates horribly at interstate speed. It rides harsh like a lumber truck and is about as noisey as one too. Engine is junk, noisey and very low on power yet Toyota has the throttle wound so sensitive that it will bark the tires when pulling away from a stop. Its also super boring to drive in general, they should have called it the Toyota Snooze. Interior is cheap and uncomfortable with really illogical layouts for storage and cupholders. The car's only decent feature is the rear seats that fold down and the plastic lined cargo area. No better than any other small hatchback though and most competitors actually offer some sort of comfort, style and performance without the embarrasment of driving a Toyota. I almost forgot to mention the unbelievably cheap paint and horrible outward visibility. Its easier to back up a full size pickup truck than try to see out the rear of the Matrix. Save yourself the hassle and disappointment and skip the Matrix unless you are looking for a slow, boring, ugly car. I for one will never buy another Toyota again.
First the indicators on my dash began to read "check engine" with about 15K miles. There was nothing wrong with the engine. It just continues to carry that message. All the time. Then the dash dial began going crazy. They settle down after a while, but only after a while. I was told by the dealer that the dash needed to be replaced. For $2K. With less than 40K miles. Back away from the car. Then I had the acceleration problem - before I knew about the ACCELERATION PROBLEM. They tried to tell me that my mat was caught up under the accelerator. Yah....no. Today I took the car to replace the airbag which could explode and call fatal injuries. Buh bye.....
I have been driving my Matrix for over eight years. It is a fun little car to drive and is very comfortable and roomy for a small car. There have been very few problems with the car and is very economical to drive. I don't know why they stopped making the car. I would buy another one in a minute if available