2009 Toyota Corolla Page 1

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Toyota says its new Matrix five-door offers “performance that matters” for drivers who want crossover utility in a compact shape.

 

The 2009 Toyota Corolla has a split personality: the utilitarian base car and the slightly edgy, expensive Corolla XRS.

It has — wait for it — the “soul of a two-door sports car,” says Tim Morrison, Toyota’s marketing manager.

 

While we’ve already seen the 2009 Pontiac Vibe, which shares its bodystyle and running gear with the Matrix, this is the first look at the new Matrix (TheCarConnection.com will have its first road test of the Matrix in a few weeks). According to brief specs, the Matrix has a lower stance than before, while it maintains its interior space and seating for five.

 

New styling is meant to give the Matrix a more coupe-like appearance. It also ends up bearing a passing resemblance to the new Scion xB, particularly around the window frames. Inside, the new interior gets more shapely seats that sit lower, and a new three-spoke steering wheel.

 

The new Matrix will arrive in showrooms early next year in three different versions: Standard, S and XRS. All come with front-wheel drive, but the S versions can also be ordered with all-wheel drive.

 

Two different engines will be offered. The first is a 132-horsepower, 1.8-liter four with 128 pound-feet of torque. Toyota estimates that with the standard five-speed manual, it will deliver 26/32 mpg. With a four-speed automatic, that drops to 25/31 mpg.

 

The uplevel engine is a 2.4-liter four with variable valve timing and 158 horsepower, along with 162 pound-feet of torque. With a new five-speed automatic transmission, this combination will deliver 21/29 mpg, Toyota says.

 

Standard safety equipment on all Matrix wagons includes dual front, side, and curtain airbags, along with active headrests and anti-lock brakes. Stability and traction control is standard on the top XRS model, optional on the other versions.

 

All versions of the Matrix include power mirrors; tilt and telescoping steering; an auxiliary jack; and a rear defogger. The S version adds power locks and power windows; a 115-volt power outlet; cruise control; a flat-folding front passenger seat; a CD player with MP3 capability, and a body kit. To that gear, the XRS version adds 18-inch wheels; a tower brace; stability control; and a leather trimmed steering wheel with audio controls.

 

Options for the lineup will include a six-speaker CD audio system; DVD navigation; XM with NavTraffic; heated mirrors; and power options for those versions not equipped with them as standard.


 

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