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*Price excludes tax, title & tags. Dealer fees up to $299 may apply.
We bought our Matrix new in 2003 and have loved it! The Matrix provides the fuel economy of a compact with the cargo space of a ... well, not a full size SUV but much more than a compact. We regularly get more the 30 miles to the gallon. It also manuvers easliy like a compact. There has not been a shopping trip yet that hasn't been carted home easily. The rear seats fold flat providing enough space for us to haul things like: lawn mower, wheel barrow, Bowflex, crib mattress and crib (disassembled), strollers, pack-n-plays, etc, not all of these things at once but many together. The seats are not slung back like many sedan type cars; they are more upright like SUVs which I think is more comfortable. Not only has our Matrix been reliable in getting our stuff to and fro around town; it's also comfortable on long road trips. We've taken several 1000+ mile trips and shorter 250 mile trips including 2 adults and two middle school aged boys. We had enough space for everyone (though it might have been nice to have the roof rack) and no car troubles. Aside from the roof rack, you might want to consider the larger 6-cylnider engine if you'll be hualing goods or people regularly. That's why I rated performance at only 4 stars, but it's to be expected for 4 cylinders. We get compliments on our car everywhere we go, from the exterior look to surprise at how much it holds.
I love my car. It has all the bells and whistles. It handles great and it is very punchy. I bought the Corolla in 2004 and was really wanting the Matrix and I was kicking myself the whole time that I didn't. Now, I'm glad I did. I drive a lot and spend a lot of time in the car and it is absolutely perfect for me. I have the S package and it has the Camry engine so it has some get up and go and it maneuvers superbly. For a small car, it is quite smooth riding. The only negatives I can say is that the stock stereo isn't that great but its not bad either. And that the hard shell in the back makes things bounce around a little noisier than I like but I put a rubberized liner in it and it quieted it down enough to be bearable.
My fiance and I got the bare-bones Matrix. The ride is a little loud on freeways, but other than that, it's a great value. I'm getting about 30 mpg on average (driving in city and highway).