Excellent car. Very versatile for such a small vehicle, carrying either passengers or cargo. Economical too as it is very good on gas. Given that it's a Toyota, it will no doubt be a quality car for years to come. It also has a sporty look for a hatchback. The XR model has a regular electrical outlet in the dash, one of the most handy additions I've seen in a car. Highly recommended.
We traded my wife's gas guzzling minivan for this vehicle. We have no regrets. My wife and I have two small children. Their carseats fit in the back without requiring the front seat occupants to scoot their seats up to an uncomfortable degree. There is even enough room inbetween the carseats for my wife to squeeze in if the kids need something. Storage space is ample. There's plenty of room for suitcases, duffel bags, and other travel essentials. We have no trouble fitting a week's worth of groceries in the back. Gas mileage is excellent. We're averaging about 31mpg on the highway, which is very good considering that I do all the highway driving and have a lead foot. Cars tend to break in and I expect that figure to go up somewhat. I like the fact that even with $3/gas, I can still fill the tank from fumes on $40. The ride quality is very good for a small car. Its not as cushy as the minivan, but it won't rattle your bones like a stiff sports car. Performance is surprisingly good, considering this car has only around 122hp. Pick up from stoplights is good and the car is fast enough to feel safe on the Chicago area highways, even when loaded with luggage and kids. I only have two complaints about this car. The seat coverings are rough. The seats are cushioned just fine, its just that the material is coarse. Perhaps there is some rationale for the material choice. Its not a deal breaker by any means. The CD player doesn't play MP3s.... in 2007. Luckily my wife doesn't care. I don't see any listings for an MP3 player option, so I don't think its available from Toyota. So if you have to have your MP3 CDs, be prepared to upgrade.
We bought our 2003 Matrix and love it. It is an exceptional vehicle with dual purposes. We can haul stuff with the fold down seats and sit 5 people comfortably. I can't wait til the summer to go camping in it. And we also want to take a trip to the beach in it .