2012 Toyota Matrix Review
While the 2012 Toyota Matrix’s available all-wheel drive makes it stand out in the class, test drivers don’t think it compensates for the Matrix’s mediocre performance and cheap-looking interior.
Available all-wheel drive is certainly a perk for an affordable small car, but the majority of reviewers don’t think it makes the 2012 Toyota Matrix any more nimble around corners. However, they do like that all-wheel drive models come with the Matrix’s more powerful engine option. All models with this engine upgrade have a lot more freeway passing power and stronger acceleration off the line than the base engine. Despite these attributes, most test drivers are still disappointed with the 2012 Toyota Matrix’s overall performance because its available power doesn’t stand out in the class, there is a lot of body lean and the suspension doesn’t absorb enough bumps.
Inside, reviewers pan the 2012 Toyota Matrix for its cheap materials, uncomfortable seating and skimpy list of standard features. They do, however, think the cargo hold offers a good amount of space, and like that the interior controls are easy to use.
Most reviewers agree that there are much better options out there than the Toyota Matrix, and a few of them have optional all-wheel drive. These competitors outshine the Matrix with better performance, nicer interiors and more passenger space.
Other Cars to Consider
Few affordable small cars have optional all-wheel drive, but if you need it, consider the Subaru Impreza and the Suzuki SX4. Both models are less expensive than the Matrix, and the Impreza has higher fuel economy ratings, standard all-wheel drive and exceptional seating space for front and rear passengers.
If you don’t mind exchanging all-wheel drive for better performance and more passenger and cargo space, go for the Honda Fit. Its cargo area is the most spacious of any hatchback in the class, and even competes with some compact SUVs. It also has a very comfortable back row that offers plenty of space for adults.
Details: Toyota Matrix
The 2012 Toyota Matrix is available in base and S trims, with optional all-wheel drive on the S trim. The Matrix was refreshed last year, so there aren’t significant updates for 2012.
See the full list of 2012 Toyota Matrix specs.
- "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
- "If you're looking for a hatchback that has the power and moves to live up to its sporty styling, the 2012 Toyota Matrix hatchback isn't as promising as a VW GTI, Mazda3 or Ford Focus." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "But for those who like the idea of a car that does a little bit of everything well (without looking weird while doing it), the Toyota Matrix is an excellent choice." -- Edmunds
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