The Toyota Matrix made its initial debut in 2002 as a 2003 model. It’s very similar to the compact Toyota Corolla, and is sometimes referred to as five-door hatchback version of the popular sedan.
The Matrix received several upgrades for the 2011 model year, and is relatively unchanged for 2012. Its base model is equipped with the same engine — a 1.8L four cylinder — as the Corolla, but the 2012 Matrix is also available with a larger 2.4L four cylinder. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a five-speed automatic is optional.
The 1.8L four-cylinder is rated at 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, while the 2.4L is rated at 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. The lower fuel-economy rating when compared to the Corolla is primarily because of the Matrix’s higher curb-weight, which originates with its hatchback design.
That design, however, helps Matrix owners pack heavier than most sedan owners when making a trip. The Matrix’s rear-cargo area measures 19.8 cubic-feet with the seats in place, and nearly 50 cubic-feet with the rear seats folded.
The base L model — which is equipped with the 1.8L four cylinder — comes with standard features like an auxiliary input jack, 16-inch wheels, a CD/MP3 player, power door locks and windows, and remote keyless entry.
The upgraded S model, with the larger engine, adds an upgraded sound system, sport seats, metallic interior trim and a redesigned instrument cluster. Buyers of the S model are also able to add packages not available on the L model, such as the S Sport package, which adds 17-inch wheels, and the Premium package, which adds Bluetooth, Sirius Satellite Radio and a power-operated moonroof.
The 2012 Toyota Matrix’s base price range is $18,845 to $19,565 not included option packages or destination charges.