2008 Toyota Matrix Review

The Car Connection Expert Rating Breakdown?

6.2
on a scale of 1 to 10
Styling
6.0
Expert Rating
Performance
6.0
Expert Rating
Comfort & Quality
7.0
Expert Rating
Safety
6.0
Expert Rating
Features
6.0
Expert Rating
2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

The 2008 Toyota Matrix still has one of the best combinations of utility and fuel efficiency, though it lags in safety features.

To bring you this comprehensive review on the 2008 Toyota Matrix, the experts at TheCarConnection.com have studied the viewpoints in a wide range of reviews. Then to make the information especially useful for shoppers, TheCarConnection.com’s editors have included their own impressions from time spent driving the Matrix.

The 2008 Toyota Matrix is a tall-wagon (or so-called crossover) model that’s closely related to the Pontiac Vibe and based on the Toyota Corolla sedan. With a completely redesigned Matrix expected for the 2009 model year, the 2008 Matrix carries over with no significant changes.

The Matrix is offered in base and sportier XR models for 2008. Both are powered by a 126-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, with the choice of a five-speed manual gearbox or four-speed automatic. Both 2008 Toyota Matrix models now have front-wheel drive, with the all-wheel-drive model that was previously offered now discontinued.

With either transmission, the engine has just enough power to keep up with traffic and feel somewhat perky. But with a full load or in hilly terrain, it comes across as somewhat underpowered and is accompanied by more engine noise. Fuel economy is a plus, though; with the manual, the 2008 Toyota Matrix is rated at 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway.

The 2008 Toyota Matrix has a simple but proven small-car layout, with struts in front and a torsion-beam axle in back; front disc and rear drum brakes provide stopping power. The ride is firm but reasonably comfortable, and handling is more direct and responsive than small SUVs; it drives just like a small sedan.

Inside, the 2008 Toyota Matrix is more spacious than its small-car footprint might suggest. In front, the low but upright seating position affords a decent view out and around the vehicle, making the perspective for parking quite easy. In back, the seats can accommodate adults with enough headroom, though legroom can be tight. The seats fold forward to a large, flat cargo floor that cleans up easily and has integrated tie-downs. The window opens separately from the hatch, which some may find handy.

The base-model 2008 Toyota Matrix comes with the basics but not much more; standard equipment includes air conditioning and a four-speaker CD audio system but has manual winding windows. The uplevel XR brings a lot of popular equipment, such as a height-adjustable driver’s seat, power windows, keyless entry, and a 115-volt AC power outlet. Major options, many of which are grouped into packages, include alloy wheels, upgraded JBL audio, cruise control, and a moonroof. Modern entertainment options such as satellite radio or an iPod interface aren’t available as factory options; neither is a navigation system or Bluetooth.

The 2008 Toyota Matrix is in the middle of the pack for crash safety and lags at the back in terms of standard safety equipment. In federal crash tests, the Toyota Matrix is given good four- and five-star ratings for frontal impact, but only three- and four-star ratings for side impact. With the optional side airbags, the Matrix’s side performance improves to a mix of four and five stars. Front side airbags, side curtain airbags, and anti-lock brakes are all optional on the Matrix, and electronic stability control is optional but only with automatic transmission.

The Car Connection Consumer Review

Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
Saturday, July 4, 2015
For 2013 Toyota Matrix

I would buy a new one if they still made it.

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
I love my Matrix. Its cool, its blue, it can seat 5 adults, carry lumber or a surfboard. Seats fold down, and I have actually been able to sleep in it. I wish they still made em, because I would be ready for a... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
Thursday, June 25, 2015
For 2013 Toyota Matrix

Economical sporty car aat good price

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
Our Matrix is a neat little car with good handling.
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
Thursday, October 20, 2016
2012 Toyota Matrix 5-Door Wagon Automatic S FWD (Natl)

Sold as a touring model but do not believe it for a second it is not capable

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
I purchased my matrix to be an adventure touring car to haul two people bikes kyaks' roof box for skis and travel extended distances . It is a Canadian package sold as a touring model . It has the factory roof... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
See all user reviews »
Looking for other models of the Toyota Matrix?
Read reviews & get prices
Compare the 2008 Toyota Matrix against the competition
Compare All Cars
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
See More Used
s