Advertisement
Go
2012 Toyota Matrix Photo
7.4
/ 10
TCC Rating
How does the
TCC Rating work?
The TCC Rating is a clear numeric rating value based on a 10-point scale that reflects the overall opinion of our automotive experts on any vehicle and rolls up ratings we give each vehicle across sub-categories you care about like performance, safety, styling and more.

Our rating also has simple color-coded “Stop” (red), “Caution” (orange),
or “Go” (green) messages along with the numerical score so you can easily understand where we stand at a glance.

Our automotive experts then also collect and show you what other websites say about these different aspects of any vehicle. We do this leg work for you to simplify your research process.

Learn more about how we rate and review cars here.

?
Reviewed by Bengt Halvorson
Deputy Editor, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$17,808
BASE MSRP
$18,845
Quick Take
The 2012 Toyota Matrix combines the frugality of the best-selling Corolla with a little more sportiness and versatility--but it still comes up a bit short in features. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features
Mileage

Aesthetically, the Matrix has very little Corolla left in its wedge-shape profile and tall, narrow stance.

Motor Trend »

a towering edifice of a dashboard, trimmed with swaths of gray metallic plastic that stretch upward along both sides of the gauge cluster to end in sharp points that emphasize the control panel’s height

Vehix.com »

a tall yet compact wagon, with a dash of sporty style thrown in to give this practical vehicle some "cool" factor

Edmunds »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$18,845 $21,715
MSRP $18,845
INVOICE $17,808 Browse used listings in your area
5-Door Wagon Manual FWD L
Gas Mileage 26 mpg City/32 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas I4, 1.8L
EPA Class Small Station Wagon
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 5
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style Station Wagon
See Detailed Specs »
7.4 out of 10
Browse Toyota Matrix inventory in your area.

SEE LOCAL CLASSIFIEDS

The Basics:

The 2012 Toyota Matrix is closely related to the Corolla sedan, but the Matrix takes a different tack in terms of style and packaging--appealing to a somewhat younger, more active crowd and those who need more versatility.

Last year the Matrix was up for a mid-cycle refresh, but it amounted to some very minor appearance and trim changes. While Toyota had pitched the Matrix as more of a crossover in its first generation, the current Matrix has a lower sportier stance that's not all that much different from the Corolla from the front. Yet the Matrix's rather high-shouldered sides and prominent, thick rear pillar five it a very different look from all other angles. Inside, the instrument panel is a little swoopier and sportier in appearance, the tall-hatchback layout affords good interior space, and with the Matrix's versatile layout and seats that fold easily (and flat) to expand cargo space, you'll have no problem freeing up seating space for an especially large load of groceries.

The Matrix model lineup consists of base and S models, with base models getting a 132-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and S models stepping up to a 158-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Between the two, we think most shoppers will be happy with the 1.8-liter, as the 2.4-liter is quite a bit thirstier--especially in all-wheel-drive (S AWD) form. A five-speed manual is standard with either engine, but the available automatic has only four speeds with the 1.8-liter (five with the 2.4-liter) which can make the smaller engine seem sluggish in some situations. All-wheel drive is only available on the S model, and even there, only with automatic. Fuel economy ranges from 26 mpg city, 32 highway for the base model with the manual down to 21/29 for the S AWD.

While the Matrix is very versatile, with the back seat folding fully flat, the seats themselves are a little less supportive than most would probably prefer. Ride quality is pretty good, but road noise can be an issue. Some might also find the rather narrow window openings at the back to severely impair visibility.

The Matrix has earned respectable safety ratings, with top 'good' ratings from the IIHS in frontal and side impact (the related Corolla sedan is a Top Safety Pick). Like nearly all other vehicles in this class, front side and side-curtain airbags are included, as are anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control.

The Matrix is priced above the Corolla, but it isn't trying to be completely basic transportation in the same way, either. The base model comes with power windows and mirrors, air conditioning, and cruise control, while the S model adds fog lamps, keyless entry, and an upgraded sound system. A Sport Package is available on the S, and it includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and body skirting. But many shoppers will be disappointed to find out that a Bluetooth hands-free interface is only offered in the S model; step up to the Premium Package on S models and you get Bluetooth audio streaming, a USB input, and full iPod connectivity with a sound-system upgrade.

 

Likes:

  • Interior versatility
  • Comfortable ride
  • Maneuverability
  • Higher-mpg than a utility vehicle

Dislikes:

  • Limited cargo space (seats up)
  • Rearward visibility
  • Road noise
  • Bare-bones interior trims
Next: Interior / Exterior »
Advertisement
Other Choices Read More
8.8
/ 10
TCC Rating
8.0
/ 10
TCC Rating
7.4
/ 10
TCC Rating
8.2
/ 10
TCC Rating
Advertisement
Try My Showroom
Save cars, write notes, and comparison shop with hi-res photos.
Add your first car
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
Advertisement

 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.