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TheCarConnection.com has driven the Toyota Matrix and combines firsthand driving impressions with editors' recommendations in this definitive Bottom Line. Experts at TheCarConnection.com have also looked to a range of published reviews to present highlights in a Full Review.
- Roomy, versatile interior
- Good ride quality
- Fuel economy (1.8-liter)
- Smallish cargo space with backseats up
- Road noise
- Hampered rear visibility
The 2010 Toyota Matrix is essentially a tall hatchback version of the Corolla sedan; though it's shorter and a bit easier to park, it has an interior that's more easily reconfigured for larger cargo items. Sometimes called the Toyota Corolla Matrix, it comes with all the qualities that make the Corolla sedan appealing, including an affordable price, good fuel economy, and a reasonably comfortable ride. For 2010, the Matrix jumps up with respect to safety, with electronic stability newly standard on the model line.
With its recent redesign, as an early 2009 model, the Matrix picked up a lower, sportier stance, yet retained similar proportions to the previous version. Overall, it flows a little more, thanks to a more contoured roofline and a number of sculpted details. The seating position is a little lower, and interior styling has been given more matte-metallic trim, though the overall effect is simple and unmistakably Toyota.
Base models of the 2010 Toyota Matrix have a 132-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, while S and XRS models get a larger 2.4-liter engine, making 158 horsepower. The 1.8-liter has plenty of pep with the manual transmission, but the automatic has only four gears with the 1.8-liter (five with the 2.4), for those who must have automatic, the 2.4-liter is the way to go. In TheCarConnection.com's opinion, the 1.8-liter holds enough of a fuel economy advantage to make it the clear choice between the two with a manual, with ratings as high as 26 mpg city, 32 highway, versus as low as 20/26 mpg with the automatic and all-wheel drive. Opt for that all-wheel-drive system on the S model and you'll downgrade to the four-speed auto.