I bought the 2010 Toyota Matrix, base model with just small upgrades (power doors and windows, floor mats). I was moving down in size from a Kia Sedona minivan that served me well for 8 years, and mil...
I bought the 2010 Toyota Matrix, base model with just small upgrades (power doors and windows, floor mats). I was moving down in size from a Kia Sedona minivan that served me well for 8 years, and miles-per-gallon was my primary concern next to adequate cargo space for the dog crates I take to shows. The base model's greater gas efficiency was the draw.
The interior is comfortable - my only quibble is that the doors have slanted "bottle holders", for the space I would have preferred something that could also hold a coffee cup or other upright drink.
Seats are firm and supportive, but not stiff. It's a comfortable ride on long hauls.
Cargo space is great. I LOVE that the back seats (which are 60/40 split), when folded down, make a completely flat surface, with a hard plastic surface, instead of carpeting. That hard surface does scratch easily, so it's worth throwing down an inexpensive throw rug if you're going to be hauling something that might scratch, but the ease of keeping it clean is great!
I'm using the factory installed sound system with no native satellite. I installed an after-market XMSirius unit, and that works great for me. The sound system is pretty good, although one downside of the base model (don't know if it's true of the higher models) is that this car has a LOT of road noise. So the sound system has to be cranked up fairly loud to hear it well. I use the AUX input for my ipod, and it's conveniently located and turns out a very respectable sound - no static or loss of sound.
Mileage is good - in the mid 30s mostly - taking into account that because of where I live and where I work and play, I do a lot of freeway driving. I've heard that as the Matrix gets up over 10=15K miles, that mileage improves slightly, and I'll be watching that to see if it's true.
Handling is also good, holds the road well and is responsive. Braking could be stronger, but I'm used to a minivan with really nice tight brakes, so I think maybe I'm just getting used to a new car.
Overall, I'm very pleased with my purchase, and I definitely recommend the Matrix for folks looking for a car that drives and has mileage like a small car, but has an impressive amount and utility of cargo space.
And for folks who do show dogs wondering, I can fit 3 300s or 2 400s in the car, with a little room left to spare for kit bag or gear.