Wednesday, July 7, 2010
2010 Toyota Matrix Review - Mid Trim Matrix S $22,000
The 2010 Toyota Matrix is a lot like the 2009 Toyota Matrix. That's just as well since the Matrix was redesigned in 2009. Due to increased concerns about safety, the 2010 version of the Matrix does get stability and traction control added to the standard features list. The price also jumps up about $250.
There's a lot to like about the Matrix, it's basically a Corolla wagon but with an extra dose of attitude. The mid-level Toyota Matrix S is likely the best seller as it combines value and desirable features. The standard engine is a 1.8 liter inline four cylinder but the S model comes with the more powerful 2.4 liter engine (158 hp). An eight speaker stereo with satellite radio, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power windows and keyless entry are all standard. Add a few extras like $880 alloy wheels, sport package (front and rear spoilers) and carpeted floor mats and cargo mat for an extra $200 and the price is just a hair over $22,000, base price is $19,650. The one feature you'll miss on the S is cruise control - it is not standard and well worth adding to the options list. There's also an all-wheel drive version of the Matrix.
On the road, the Matrix feels like a competent economy car - the ride is neither exceptionally smooth or excessively busy. On rough roads the Matrix feels a bit jittery but other than than it's fine. The 2.4 liter engine is powerful enough, the five speed automatic transmission helps keep the revs (and noise) down but if you really step into it there's a lot of noise. Road and wind noise are managed well.
As a versatile wagon, the Toyota Matrix works well. It's not remarkable but it does provide that extra measure of Toyota-ness that we've come to expect from cars like the Corolla. The interior is neither plush nor super-cheap but somewhere in the middle. Cargo space is OK for a compact and the wagon configuration adds a little more total volume versus the trunk on a sedan. Think of the Toyota Matrix as a nothing more than a well-built compact wagon that will likely hold its value over the years. It's no sports hatch like the Mazda3, nor it is penalty box.