M choice was a RAV4 however! the matrix fits my desires in a car and for less cost. Mileage and passenger space excellent. My passengers are mostly over 6' tall. and the storage room is great.
I love my Matrix. 2003 purchased new, first model year, manual transmission. I'm a mom with one kid. My tall teen can sit in the front or back with plenty of legroom and headroom. We looked at every hatchback on the market. Matrix has the best usable cargo space. The seats fold down so easily. No need to pluck off headrests or flip up a seat bottom. Pull one handle, and it's down. Our seats are up and down daily. We're avid cyclists, so it was important that we could easily transport at least one bicycle in the back if our external rack was not available. I can fit one adult size bicycle (road or mountain) in my Matrix w/o removing a wheel. Two road bikes can fit in the back with front wheels removed. Comparison: we also have a VW Passat Wagon in the family. Can only fit one road bike w/wheel removed in the cargo space. Matrix wins! Oil changes and standard recommended maintenance has been only shop time for my Matrix. Very reliable. 26/32 mpg confirmed. No complaints. Will be buying a second Matrix when teen starts driving.
I recently purchased a 2009 Matrix S. I absolutely LOVE the cargo space & the overall everything of the car. It's my first automatic purchase, & the only automatic I've driven regularly since learning how to drive in my Mom's car when I was 16. So the difference in transmission has definitely taken some getting used to, & I have to say I miss the complete control of a standard. However, the Matrix has a nifty little feature that lets you choose when the car shifts into the next gear, so that helps make up the difference. There are a few blind spots & visibility is less than with my previous cars, so I have to check mirrors & look much more than before. But over all this car is great! Packed it to the gills for a week long camping trip a week after I got it & it's the perfect car for that. Getting ready to move & I anticipate it'll handle moving with no problem too. This is a great all around vehicle, which I anticipate having for years & years to come!