My Matrix is probably the best value I have ever found in a car. Even though it lacks the style of my last car (a Mercury Cougar), it is just as terrific in many respects (versatility and cargo space), and even better in one (the more roomy back seat!). It gets pretty good gas mileage (24, city) is practical and safe.
I have owned my matrix for about 5 years now. I bought it brand new. It gets about 32-35 MPG. I have the 5-speed manual transmission and it's fun to drive. For hauling stuff it's great because I've put 25 bags of 2 cubic foot bags of mulch in the back without problems. Once you fold down the back seats the car is like driving a small truck. It can take all the beatings and weight and keeps running. Great size for small families. I am also 5'10" and it has a lot of room for the driver and passengers. It does have more leg room than a Tahoe
I definitely love my 2004 Solar Yellow Toyota Matrix. It is eye catching (with the yellow paint), it gets good gas mileage(31 avg), I can fit most anything I need to in the cargo area with the seats down, and to top it off I've had no problems with it in my period of ownership (52k-70k). There is also enough leg and head room for me (I'm 6'2") and plenty of storage compartments and backseat pockets for all my clutter (the rest I just stuff under the seats). In addition, the standard audio system works great and does a good job at hiding most of the road noise. The road noise isn't bad 'til you get on the hwy, but you can still comfortably hold a conversation with your passengers without fear of the noise drowning you out. Other complaints: When riding on rough asphalt you'll definitely feel it. The power is just adequate. the car starts quickly from a stop and will get you up a steep hill fine, but I could definitely use more when passing on the hwy. Overall, if you're looking for a practical, nice looking, reliable wagon this is a good choice.