(2005 model shown)
Sharing platforms, powertrains and components with the Pontiac Vibe, but offering its own distinctive exterior and interior styling, the Matrix is a Corolla-based sports wagon that's available in either front- or all-wheel drive. It's powered in its base version by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 130 horsepower in front-drive form and 123 horses with AWD; it can be fitted to either a five-speed manual (with front-drive models) or a four-speed automatic transmission. The top XRS is the sportiest version, by virtue of its more powerful 170-horsepower version of the 1.8-liter engine and standard six-speed manual transmission, which is the only available gearbox. Split-folding rear seats with ample tie-down locations and assorted storage areas and bins add to the Matrix's inherent utility. Anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution are included on the top version and are offered elsewhere in the line, while Vehicle Stability Control is optionally offered on front-drive models. It sees minor changes only for 2006.