Crucial safety features remain optional on the 2008 Toyota Matrix, which records marginal crash-test results without them.
Anti-lock brakes, an extremely valuable active safety feature (helping you to actively avoid an accident), are optional items on the Matrix. Also optional is a crucial passive safety feature: side curtain airbags. With the latter, the Matrix does well in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s crash-testing regimen, earning five of five stars for driver front and side impact, and four stars for front impact passenger and side impact rear passenger, respectively.
Without side curtain airbags, the Matrix’s front side impact protection falls to a marginal three stars on the NHTSA’s scale. And without anti-lock brakes on its decidedly old-school front disc/rear drum setup, the Matrix could quickly lose steering control in aggressive braking on slick surfaces. Additionally, stability and traction control are optional and only available with the automatic transmission.