The Matrix has always been targeted towards a younger demographic, and of all the new 2009 Matrix models
, this bare-bones base model is the easiest to buy into. The $16,845 (including delivery) price shockingly even undercuts the equivalent US model's price.
|The 2009 Toyota Matrix base model.|
Right to the deal breaker: the tunes. Toyota has smartly made MP3/WMA compatibility and an auxiliary input standard. Many may overlook having to lock/unlock doors manually as long as the audio system is current; however, with no air conditioning, most will tire of physically rolling down windows. Oh, how spoiled we have become.
One modern feature whose absence I strongly question is Electronic Stability Control (optional on the Matrix XR and standard on the XRS
); this system is far too vital to go without on a new vehicle. Fortunately, this Matrix doesn't skimp on other safety
aspects, given six airbags, confident anti-lock disc brakes, as well as (front height-adjustable) 3-point seatbelts and (front active) head restraints.
The seats themselves are comfortable and supportive. The height-adjustable driver's seat works with the tilt/telescopic steering wheel to find a better driving position. This promotes safer driving, as do standard automatic headlights and power, heated side mirrors. Despite a higher seating position, there is plenty of headroom, and outward visibility is good; however, the rear 'C' pillars are quite thick, leaving just your mirrors and a tiny sliver window to confirm your positional awareness.
The Matrix's controls are simple, and you feel as though you are mechanically, thus efficiently, dialling in the heat and ventilation orders. Door and centre console cubbies provide plenty of storage, as does the split glove box; however, the real news is that with the rear 60/40-split seats folded, there are 1359 litres of space atop a flat floor - not bad for a vehicle almost seven inches shorter than a Toyota Corolla. I was even able to fit a mountain bike inside with the hatch closed. Goods in the back can be kept under a novel-but-frustrating-to-stow foldable tonneau cover. The Matrix's rear hatch opens easily by a handle, but the inconvenience of manually re-locking the door (when I remembered to do so) by key made me underutilize the trunk.
|The Matrix has large C pillars with small windows.|