The 2010 Toyota Matrix is an attractively designed wagon that should again appeal to car shoppers seeking versatility and functionality without breaking the bank ... and with Toyota's reputation for sound build quality.
This year's Matrix actually has quite a bit going for it, including a compliant drive, a spacious back seat, user-friendly controls, flat load floor cargo carrying abilities, good gas mileage and solid crash test scores. It's simply a stylish and practical compact hatchback that should definitely be considered by car buyers in this segment.
The Matrix's versatility and cargo-carrying capacity is one of its top strengths. For a vehicle this size, the Matrix still offers 61.5 cubic feet of space, more like some of the compact SUVs. At the same time, however, the base 1.8 liter engine is particularly fuel efficient, getting 28 mpg combined city and highway mileage.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2010 Toyota Matrix is offered in three trims: base, S and XRS. In addition, all-wheel drive is an available option on the midlevel S model.
Standard features on the base Matrix include air conditioning, power mirrors, an alarm system, a rear defogger, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, fold-flat front passenger seat, a CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack and 16 inch wheels. Available options include power windows and locks, cruise control and keyless entry.
Standard features on the Matrix S include the power windows and locks, cruise control and keyless entry, plus underbody spoilers, a rear window wiper, an upgraded stereo and a 115-volt utility outlet. The all-wheel-drive Matrix S doesn't have the spoilers, but adds foglights and an independent rear suspension.
The toplevel Matrix XRS then adds sport-tuned suspension and steering, a rear spoiler, 18 inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and upgraded seat fabric.
Stand-alone options on all models include a sunroof and an in-dash CD changer. And for the S and XRS, options also include navigation with real-time traffic, a JBL audio system, satellite radio and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the base 2010 Toyota Matrix is a competent 1.8 liter four-cylinder engine that produces 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. It's mated with a five-speed manual transmission while a four-speed automatic is optional.
The Matrix S and XRS models are equipped with a 2.4-liter engine that generates 158 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. It's also mated with the standard five-speed manual transmission, but there's also an optional five-speed automatic. The all-wheel drive (AWD) S comes with the four-speed automatic only.
The EPA-estimated gas mileage for the manual 1.8 liter Matrix comes in at a very strong 26 mpg city and 32 mpg on the highway. The four-speed automatic is nearly as good coming in at 25 mpg city and 31 highway. Fuel economy dips with the larger engine, although still respectable. The manual 2.4 liter has gas mileage ratings of 21 city and 28 highway, while the automatic is rated at 21 and 29, respectively. And the AWD comes in at 20 mpg city and 26 mpg on the highway.
Standard safety features on the 2010 Matrix include antilock disc brakes (ABS), stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. In addition, the S and XRS models are equipped with larger disc brakes on all wheels.
In government crash tests, the Matrix was awarded the higest five-out-of-five ratings for both frontal and front-seat side impact protection. It received four stars for rear-seat side impact protection..
The 2010 Matrix's cabin is as stylish, even edgy, as its exterior. Those bored with the Corolla's interior will be nicely surprised. The controls are practically designed, attractive and easy to use, while there's also ample space to comfortably accommodate people of nearly all sizes, both front and rear.
The rear bench seat also folds totally flat in 60/40 sections and there are very convenient fixed tie-down points and rubber inserts that keep the cargo stationary. Even without folding the rear seat, there's an impressive 19.8 cubic feet of storage room behind it.
The drive of the 2010 Toyota Matrix is quite pleasant and its handling is decently agile. Overall, the ride is smooth and fairly well noise-insulated. While its purposely not designed to be the sportiest economy hatchback, most drivers will likely be pleased with its performance. Those seeking enhanced handling capabiliites would be best served with the XRS.
Acceleration in the 1.8 liter can be a bit sluggish, a tradeoff for its really excellent fuel economy. The 2.4 liter in the S and XRS provides ample power, but with a tradeoff to just "decent" fuel efficiency.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
Those of you in the market for a used car may want to check out this article about how to buy a used car at the lowest price. It details a super effective buying method, one that often beats down prices to wholesale levels.
And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
In addition, you can also try Bank Repossessed And Government Car Auction Possibilities in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them at no cost in your own area.
2010 Toyota Matrix:
Base Matrix, manual: listed price: $16,700, invoice price: $15,615
Base Matrix, automatic: listed price: $17,510, invoice price: $16,371