I bought the '10 Matrix S model 5-spd. It's a nice car. I easily found a comfortable driving position and the tall frame with the telescopic steering wheel helps a lot. I like wagons because of the space. the back seats fold flat which is a very nice feature. The S model has a 2.4 liter engine which has a lot of power for such a small car that the gas mileage suffers as a result. This car is fun to drive because of the engine but if saving on gas is the reason you are buying a small car, I suggest going with the base model. Also with the upgrade comes sportier tires and so you feel the road a bit more.
I would recommend it with reservations. I recently drove a Ford Escape while my little buddy was in the hospital after an accident. It was a much bigger car and less fun to drive, but got equal mileage on my commute. I think a better transmission would make this car perfect for me.
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!