2004 Toyota Matrix

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Key Specs
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Overview
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Key Specs

of the 2004 Toyota Matrix. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    25-32 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    130-hp, 1.8-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Interior space
  • Highway stability
  • Toyota's reputation for reliability
  • Frontal crash-test rating
  • Resale value

The Bad

  • Instrument readability
  • Engine and road noise
  • Performance of base engine with automatic

Notable Features of the 2004 Toyota Matrix

  • FWD or AWD
  • Compact sporty wagon body style
  • High-performance XRS model with 180-hp engine
  • Manual or automatic
  • Versatile interior layout

2004 Toyota Matrix Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
Toyota introduced its youth-focused Matrix as an early 2003 model. Described as a crossover utility vehicle, the Japanese automaker says the Matrix combines the functionality of a sport utility vehicle with the image and performance of a sports car, yet it’s as affordable as a subcompact sedan. Pontiac has a related Vibe model.

High headroom and flexible seating positions are among the Matrix’s most notable attributes. Three trim levels are available: Standard, the step-up XR and the high-performance XRS. The Standard and XR models may be equipped with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The XRS sport model comes with front-wheel drive only and packs an additional 50 horsepower and a six-speed-manual gearbox.

Toyota released the 2004 Matrix in May 2003 with a choice of new value packages. A Power Package includes remote keyless entry and power windows and locks. An Extra Value Package for the XR adds underbody spoilers, fog lamps, alloy wheels and a moonroof.

Exterior
The Matrix most resembles a small wagon. It is built on a platform similar to the one used for Toyota’s popular Corolla sedan. Toyota says the “edge-web” body panels have sharp surface edges but display rounded weblike contours intended to yield strong, flowing character lines.

Standard tires measure 16 inches in diameter, and the XR and XRS may be equipped with optional 17-inchers. Alloy wheels are optional on the Standard and XR models and standard on the XRS...
Vehicle Overview
Toyota introduced its youth-focused Matrix as an early 2003 model. Described as a crossover utility vehicle, the Japanese automaker says the Matrix combines the functionality of a sport utility vehicle with the image and performance of a sports car, yet it’s as affordable as a subcompact sedan. Pontiac has a related Vibe model.

High headroom and flexible seating positions are among the Matrix’s most notable attributes. Three trim levels are available: Standard, the step-up XR and the high-performance XRS. The Standard and XR models may be equipped with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The XRS sport model comes with front-wheel drive only and packs an additional 50 horsepower and a six-speed-manual gearbox.

Toyota released the 2004 Matrix in May 2003 with a choice of new value packages. A Power Package includes remote keyless entry and power windows and locks. An Extra Value Package for the XR adds underbody spoilers, fog lamps, alloy wheels and a moonroof.

Exterior
The Matrix most resembles a small wagon. It is built on a platform similar to the one used for Toyota’s popular Corolla sedan. Toyota says the “edge-web” body panels have sharp surface edges but display rounded weblike contours intended to yield strong, flowing character lines.

Standard tires measure 16 inches in diameter, and the XR and XRS may be equipped with optional 17-inchers. Alloy wheels are optional on the Standard and XR models and standard on the XRS, which also features fog lights, a front spoiler and a rear underbody spoiler.

Interior
The Matrix seats five people. The rear seats fold all the way down. A sliding track in the cargo floor can be adapted to hold various lifestyle accessories. The driver faces deep-set Optitron gauges. A navigation system is optional.

Standard equipment includes air conditioning with air filtration, intermittent wipers and a cargo cover. The XR adds keyless entry, a sport steering wheel, a seat-height adjuster, and power windows, locks and mirrors. Cargo volume with the seats folded down totals 53.2 cubic feet.

Under the Hood
A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine produces 130 hp in the Standard and XR models and 123 hp in those models when they are equipped with all-wheel drive. Either a four-speed-automatic or five-speed-manual transmission can be installed. Available only with front-wheel drive, the XRS carries a 173-hp version of the 1.8-liter engine and a close-ratio six-speed-manual gearbox. Toyota’s all-wheel-drive system has no center differential but uses a viscous coupling.

Safety
Antilock brakes are standard in the XRS and optional in other front-drive models. Side-impact airbags are optional.

Driving Impressions
The Matrix is well built, nicely designed and stylish, but somewhat on the noisy side. It is quiet enough while cruising, but the 130-hp engine emitted a growly, almost whiny sound during acceleration. Road noise is also noticeable. The base engine in automatic-transmission models isn’t loaded with oomph. Gear changes are noticeable but not bothersome.

The Matrix’s stability is good, and it’s easy to keep this SUV on course. Steering with more precision and less wheel vibration than the Corolla, it still falls short of stimulating, though the XRS is more refined. Front headroom is very good, even in models equipped with a sunroof. The Matrix’s backseat space beats the Corolla’s, and headroom is better than the low roofline suggests.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com;
Posted on 11/5/03

Latest 2004 Matrix Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.2)
Performance
(4.1)
Interior Design
(4.0)
Comfort
(4.0)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Reliable, Low Cost Maintenance

by ToyotaFan on June 5, 2018

Perfect car for traveling with dogs, and I have used it with 2 German Shepherds. They can stand up or lie down in comfort. Rarely needs any maintenance (thanks to AAA). Read full review

(5.0)

Best, AWD, gas saving car I ever owned.

by llacounseling from CHICAGO, IL on May 18, 2018

This car had everything I wanted in one. AWD, great gas mileage, ample trunk and interior space, and was compact all in one. It is not a common car, so its unique and its looks are similar to an asian ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2004 Toyota Matrix currently has 8 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2004 Toyota Matrix has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Matrix received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker