The 2008 Toyota Matrix impresses with convenience and utility, but it’s lower on the ladder of fun features and gadgets.
The Matrix comes in two trims levels: base and XR. To the base models’ slim list of equipment (16-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, and a CD player), the XR adds such items as keyless entry, a 115-volt power outlet, and body-color door handles. Optional on both models are cruise control, an alarm system, rear-seat heater ducts, and alloy wheels (either 16 or 17 inches for the XR). The XR can also be upgraded to include a moonroof and a JBL audio system with an in-dash CD changer.
“Those who carry cargo will find that the Matrix functions much like a small SUV,” asserts Edmunds. They and others appreciate the wide-opening hatch with separately opening glass, easy-to-clean plastic flooring in the cargo area, eight adjustable tie-down hooks, and 60/40 split-folding seats that expand the cargo area to a capacious 53 cubic feet.
Among its favorite features on the Matrix, Kelley Blue Book feels “the 115-volt outlet on the XR's dash should be standard in every car,” and advises “if you like your music loud and your bass thumping,” the optional JBL Audio w/Kicker Sub Woofer “is sure to please.” They point out that “a number of aftermarket parts, both from Toyota and external suppliers, make it easy to customize the Matrix without having to spend a small fortune.”
Modern entertainment options such as satellite radio or an iPod interface aren’t available as factory options; neither is a navigation system or Bluetooth.