Toyota Matrix Review

List of Pros

  • Design and build quality
  • Reliability and corrosion resistance
  • Smooth ride

List of Cons

  • It can get noisy in the passenger compartment
  • Rearward visibility can be difficult
  • A bit disappointing cargo area

Toyota Matrix Overview

Toyota Matrix is ​​so unconventional that it opens up a new class of cars that the company calls Street Performance Utility (SPU). Its main idea was to offer a buyer a large and functional cargo space (as in an SUV) and a sporty character that together would win the love of young people who appreciate roomy functional cars with a memorable design.


According to Toyota management, the Matrix concept was based on mixing the functionality of a jeep, the style, image and power of a sports car, and the availability of a subcompact sedan. This model may have the body of a five-door hatchback, but its soul belongs to two-door sports cars.

The development of the 2009-year model, which is in the spotlight today, was focused on restyling the body  into a two-door coupe, improving ergonomics, and increasing driving dynamics. Toyota engineers managed to combine smooth lines and contours with sharp edges. The design clearly expresses the low center of gravity and coupe style. At the rear, the Matrix has a rounded rear door glass and recognizable body lines that start from the front grille and stretch to the A-pillar.


The interior design is quite attractive and is targeted at young drivers. Fashionable seats are located inside, and stylish yellowish transparent glasses are hidden in the roof. The design of the center panel resembles the 1990 model of the Mitsubishi Eclipse. 

A new steering wheel complements the updated interior. The XRS kit is equipped with a leather finishing, audio control buttons on the steering wheel spokes, and a Bluetooth system. For extra convenience, S and XRS trim levels feature a table on the rear back of the front seat folding forward.

Technology & performance

This Matrix version is designed to satisfy every customer, offering a selection of 2 engines and 4 transmission options. It has ventilated disc front brakes and rear drum brakes. R16 steel wheels with a six-beam cap come as standard.

The 1.8-liter 16-valve engine produces 132 hp at 6,000 rpm. The engine is constructed using Dual VVT-i technology on the intake and exhaust manifold. This helps to achieve an outstanding performance and fuel economy. Fuel consumption is 9 liters per 100 km in a city and 7.4 liters on a highway for a manual gearbox, 9.4 / 7.4 liters per 100 km for the automatic transmission.


The seats were modified to fit into the new low profile of the vehicle and maintain the same high level of comfort. The seat of the chair was slightly lowered to save the space above the head to which the owners of cars of previous model years were so accustomed. Rear passengers get extra legroom and comfortable sitting thanks to the increased distance between the front and rear seats.

Climate Control System

Toyota Matrix is equipped with a new, high-performance air conditioning system with large ventilation openings for accurate distribution of airflow. This system consumes less power and provides better heating and air conditioning.

Infotainment System

The instrument cluster features a small LCD that informs about current odometer status and drive mode. The range to empty or current fuel economy information is not displayed. An audio system has got six speakers and a disc slot that can play CDs. There is also an XM satellite radio. Track information is displayed on the screen. The navigation, however, is rudimentary. You can only skip tracks and folders up and down. Optional packages allow to getting extra gadgets, including an upgraded audio system with nine speakers, a DVD-based touch-screen navigation system, and Bluetooth connection. 

Storage and Space

A removable cup holder in the center console increases storage capacity and ease of access to various little things. The trunk of the car can accommodate 450 liters, and thanks to the folding rear seats, you can almost double this volume. A full-size spare wheel is placed under the trunk.


When we start speaking about comfort, opinions differ. It gets a bit noisy inside during a ride due to some rattles, bangs, and clangs. Also, some grumble at uncomfortable flat bench seat at the back that gives a passenger hard times during a long ride. On the other hand, there is plenty of legroom and headroom. Some say the seats press a bit hard against the legs at the edge. Again, you need to find a comfortable position. 

Seat comfort

The vehicle has got two front seats and a three-person bench in the back that are comfortable enough for five people. All seats are “adult-friendly.” 

Ride comfort

To start driving, you need just a quick tap on the traction control button and a little wheel spin. The system keeps on the stability control, and the traction control re-enables in case you accidentally turn it off. The transmission tends to get harsh sometimes, especially when you shift to first gear upon stopping, resulting in a lurch forward.


As always, the vehicle is well-assembled. It looks built to a price, with some defects that cause those rattles and clangs we’ve mentioned before. The finishing materials look rich in the distance, and textures feel pleasant. 

Safety & Reliability

Double airbags are installed as standard in all trim levels, as well as side front pillows, double-row curtain pillows, and front active head restraints. An anti-lock system and brake force distribution are also on a list of the standard equipment. Stability Control (VSC) and anti-skid are available as an extra option on other trim levels. At the moment of loss of traction, the stabilization system automatically changes the engine traction and braking force on each wheel to restore uniform traction.

In general, Matrix is rated “Good” after passing IIHS tests. NHTSA crash test ratings are also impressive: 

  • Frontal Crash Test
    • driver: 5/5 stars
    • passenger: 5/5 stars
  • Side Impact Rating
    • driver: 5/5 stars
    • passenger: 4/5 stars
  • Rollover Rating: 4/5 stars

Should I Buy the Toyota Matrix?

The energetic and practical 2009 release of the Toyota Matrix is rightly compared with a Swiss watch in the consumer segment. The car is equally well suited for driving around the city and on the highway. It is a practical choice for everyone looking for a no-hassle car. In the end, can you find any other vehicle that combines the convenience of a minivan with the power of an SUV that comes at the price of an average sedan?

How Much Does the Toyota Matrix Cost?

The average price of the Toyota Matrix is N3,000,000. If you are ready to buy an older model, it can cost you only N600,000 (and some extra expenses for repairs, obviously). The newest vehicles we spotted had a price tag reading N4,700,000.