Performance » 7
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
Acceleration times will not set the world ablaze, but the Matrix will certainly keep up with traffic.
the 2.4-liter’s extra torque—162 pound-feet compared with the 1.8-liter’s 128—helps move the extra pork
the steering wheel exhibits natural motion through the range of travel, lightening up for city driving and firming up for greater velocities. Very well done, Toyota.
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.
Handling is a step above that of the Corolla sedan, due to a somewhat firmer suspension calibration, but it's definitely no hot hatch. the steering also tends to be somewhat dull and light—and that's a key attribute that just doesn't make the Matrix much fun to drive.
The 2012 Toyota Matrix is perky with the manual gearbox and performs reasonably well, but it's no hot hatch.