I have two kids, and this car fits my family perfectly. Cavernous? No, but plenty large for a family of four and everything that travels with it. I love the comfortable seats, the high seating position, the interior space (headroom in particular) and the incredible gas mileage. You won't find a better value in this price range, all things considered.
This is my first car since 1972 or so, I can't remember, and that was a Toyota Corolla/great car that gave me 41 MPG on highways thru Texas. Great car and I never forgot it. I have been driving vans and trucks since and this year we decided to by a car and I went to the Corolla first and then to all the competitors too I test drove them all and wound up with the Matrix, drives like the Corolla and had tons of room with seats that go down and even the front passenger seat goes down. To make a long story short we love the Matrix and our first tank of gas on the highway with the air going did 37.3 MPG Next tank was city at 30. Third tank 33 city & hway. What can I say.
The Matrix is a Corolla wagon and is very similar to the Dodge Vibe. It has been a fun car to drive. What it lacks in power it makes up for in gas mileage. The interior of the hatch-back trunk is plastic so things can easily slide around. There are nets but we bought a mat that has helped to keep things from sliding around.
Have to laugh re: those people complaining about "rides like a truck". Probably most have not HAD a truck. Definite car-like ride, I have 1,000 miles. No rattles, good layout inside (agree with the remark about the blower speed knob in front of transmission lever when in "park", although one would usually use the a/c when driving). Handles well, good acceleration for this type, no tire squealing, no rattles, and I like the styling better than the pontiac Vibe. Good stereo, I have the ABS and sunroof too. I got it for cargo space, flexibility, and true hiway mpg of over 35 (31 around town) .Mostly I use my motorcycle but sometimes I need a car, and a Corolla underneath - great.
I needed a reliable car and definitely found one in the matrix. Have owned it for 6+ years and never spent much money on it, except for maintenance every 6 months or so (oil, tire rotation). It's not a sports car, kinda slow, but it takes you from A to B without worries and at a low cost. I get about 28mi/Gal overall. Love that I can flatten all the seats and fir big stuff in the car. Very satisfied with my purchase, and now that it's paid off, couldn't be happier!