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#32

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $19,275 - $22,415
Invoice: $18,216 - $20,733
MPG: 26 City / 32 Hwy
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Toyota Matrix Review

The 2013 Toyota Matrix ranks 32 out of 40 Affordable Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Toyota Matrix, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2013 Toyota Matrix is ranked:

While the 2013 Toyota Matrix’s available all-wheel drive is rare in this class, auto reviewers don’t think it compensates for the Matrix’s mediocre performance and cheap interior.

The 2013 Toyota Matix has a base 1.8 liter egnine and optional 2.4-liter engine. Critics say the base engine is slow, and that the optional engine gets poor fuel economy. All-wheel drive is uncommon for an affordable small car, and while it may be helpful on snowy roads, some reviewers say it does little to improve the Matrix's handling. With all-wheel drive, the Matrix averages 20/26 mpg city/highway. Without all-wheel drive, the base Matrix yields 25/32 mpg with an automatic transmission, which is poor for the class. The 2013 Matrix offers three transmissions: a standard five-speed manual and optional four- and five-speed automatics. Reviewers like the automatic transmissions most, but wish the four-speed had more gears like many rivals. Reviews of the Matrix’s handling are mixed, though most auto writers say the brakes are strong. Though many reviewers aren't pleased with the Matrix's performance, the hatchback has an above-average reliability rating.

Reviewers complain that the 2013 Toyota Matrix is constructed with cheap interior materials. The Matrix comes with a lot of standard features, including a USB port and Bluetooth. However, features that are often available on competitors, such as parking sensors, navigation and a rearview camera, aren’t available on the Matrix at all. Though the Matrix has one of the largest cargo holds in its class, auto writers aren’t satisfied with its cabin space. They say that some drivers will want more legroom, and that the rear seats also lack legroom for adults. Reviewers do appreciate the Matrix’s ride height, which offers a nice view of the road, much like affordable compact SUVs.

  • "A front-drive S model with no options is the best choice in this lineup. That said, you can find more refined compact hatchbacks and wagons for about the same money." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "But, the Matrix's age is taking its toll, namely in the noticeable absence of cutting-edge infotainment and audio features. Newer models from Kia, Hyundai, Nissan and Ford are similarly priced and offer far more in the way of power, features and fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Though it offers plenty of practicality and comfort, the … Toyota Matrix has been overshadowed by newer competing hatchbacks." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "Even when pushed, the Matrix felt like a car you would feel safe handing over to a young driver. And if you are a veteran driver in search of stable, basic transportation with some exterior sportiness, shop the Matrix against other hatchbacks. You won't be disappointed." -- The Boston Globe (2009)

Other Cars to Consider

Few affordable small cars have all-wheel drive, but if you want this feature, consider the Subaru Impreza. With standard all-wheel drive, the Impreza’s fuel economy ratings are better than a comparable Matrix’s. Reviewers say the Impreza’s cabin is well-made and has comfortable and roomy front and rear seats.

If you don’t mind trading all-wheel drive for better performance, more comfortable seats and more cargo space, consider the Honda Fit. Its cargo area is the most spacious of any hatchback in the class, and the available cargo space even competes with some compact SUVs. Reviewers say the Fit also has excellent front and rear visibility and a comfortable back row that offers plenty of space for adults.

Compare the Matrix, Impreza and Fit »

Details: 2013 Toyota Matrix

The five-seat 2013 Toyota Matrix is available in L and S trims. Both available engines are four-cylinder units, but the S trim has a more powerful 2.4-liter engine. Both trims can be equipped with either manual or automatic transmissions, and the S trim offers all-wheel drive. The Matrix was redesigned for the 2009 model year, so this overview uses applicable research and reviewers from the 2009 to 2013 model years.

See the full 2013 Toyota Matrix specs »

Review Last Updated: 10/8/13

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