The 2014 Toyota Matrix is a very affordable and efficient subcompact hatchback that will leave you satisfied. It has a solid 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine, enough space to accommodate five adults and decent appearance, making it an acceptable package overall, but not an impressive one.
The 2014 Toyota Matrix is the kind of car you should only buy in case you’re really strapped for cash – since you won’t mistake it for anything but an economy vehicle. This fine yet unpretentious five-door subcompact hatchback provides just a modicum of what’s expected in a vehicle – enough to get by. It looks decent but not great; its engine is solid but not phenomenal; and its features are functional yet not exemplary. The exterior design of the Toyota Matrix is as plain as plain gets, so don’t hold out for anything special. There are no flashy, pseudo-futuristic features or any additions that would draw your eye – the design is clean, simple and easy on the eyes, which is enough. It also fits with everything else Toyota has released recently, borrowing some of the visual cues from the older Corolla models and other vehicles in its class, such as Honda Civic. But if you’ve seen the previous year’s model or the one before it, you won’t be surprised by the appearance of this one – since Toyota has used the same design for five years now. Inside, things are just as simple as on the outside, but slightly less refined. You’ll see a lot of ragged edges and finishes, which will remind you every now and then that you’re driving an economy vehicle. These blemishes are not catastrophic, but they are nevertheless noticeable. The electronics and other features are easily accessible and simple to use, however. They include a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system as well as tilt and telescoping steering among several other useful gadgets. So, you won’t feel cheated here. The 2014 Matrix also offers quite a bit of space both in front and back. The rear seats can easily fit three adults, while letting them have enough headroom and legroom to feel comfortable. The best part, however, is the amount of cargo space you get. Even if the rear seats remain unfolded, there’s enough room for large objects. But if you require more space, you can easily fold the back seats along with the front passenger seat to get it. Under the hood, you’ll find only one engine this time since Toyota has decided to phase out the 2.4-litre variant, which was available last year. The engine available is the 1.8-litre four-cylinder, which can generate 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm, which is decent but not particularly impressive. The fuel economy is the best feature this hunk of metal can deliver, so if you’re running on a tight budget – which is why you’d probably be buying this car in the first place – then you should definitely take this component into account. You might also notice that the car doesn’t quite handle that well. Its ride often feels wonky, while the steering is a little tight. So, if you’re looking for a car that’s fun to drive, then look elsewhere because this isn’t it. Overall, the new Toyota Matrix is unremarkably unremarkable. It’s not a disaster by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s clear why Toyota has pulled the car from its 2014 lineup in the U.S. However, if you’re in need of a cheap new car and you want to sidestep the cliché of getting a Honda Civic, then this would make a fine alternative.
The 2014 Toyota Matrix uses the same design as the previous year’s model. In fact, Toyota has used the same look for five years now, so if you’ve seen the older Matrix variants, then you won’t find much new here. It bears a very standard hatchback silhouette that falls somewhere between Toyota’s higher end Prius and hatchback version of Corolla. In fact, the Matrix’s nose is very similar to that of the 2009 Corolla, albeit some of the Matrix’s features, such as headlights and grille, are much narrower. Other external features to note include 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps in base models as well as a power sunroof, alloy wheels and fog lights in the Touring trim. There’s also the S trim, which offers 17-inch alloys and a roof-mounted spoiler.
|Trim / Style||MSRP||Est. Monthly Payment||Average Price||Invoice Price|
|4AT||$18,935||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|5MT||$17,895||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|Number of Doors||5|
|Drive Train||Front Wheel Drive|
|Power and Performance:|
The 2014 Toyota Matrix comes with just one engine, which is the 1.8-litre four-cylinder. The previous models used to offer the additional 2.4-lire engine, but those days are over, it seems. The one that’s under the hood right now is not bad, especially when you look at its fuel efficiency, but you won’t feel like it’s the most satisfying piece of equipment out there. It pumps out 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. Generally speaking, it’s a decent amount of power and torque output, and it matches what’s on offer from other vehicles in its class, but since it’s the only engine of choice, it’s a bit of a disappointment. That said, you’ll find that the car’s fuel efficiency levels are very reasonable for the amount of power it offers. With the base five-speed manual transmission, the 2014 Matrix carries the EPA ratings of 7.7 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 6.1 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway, while with the optional four-speed automatic, these ratings go up to 8.1 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 6.3 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway. There are cars that are certainly more efficient, but few of them will come with a price tag as low as this one.
|Interiors and Special Features:|
The 2014 Toyota Matrix serves up a very decent cabin that comes with enough features and gadgets to keep practical-minded drivers satisfied. You won’t find any high-tech features such as touchscreen display, but you will find almost everything that other vehicles in its class offer. The features that you’ll be able to enjoy here are a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system, air conditioning, cruise control, remote keyless entry, adjustable steering, sunroof and power locks, windows and mirrors. Outside of the audio system, all of these features are optional (offered as part of the Convenience Package), so their addition will definitely crank up the price. The biggest perk of the car’s interior, however, is its size. There’s enough space both in front and back to comfortably fit five adults. However, the middle seat in the back row is predictably the least comfortable spot since it leaves very little headroom and legroom (though your kids should be fine). And if you happen to require a lot of cargo space, then you’ll definitely be covered with the Matrix’s 560-litre luggage compartment. You can get more space – 1,399 litres of it – if you decide to fold the back seats flat. If you need even more than that, then you can also fold flat the front passenger seat – though if you’re planning to do that, you might as well rent a truck. The largest weakness of this otherwise fine cabin is that it looks cheap – from low-quality plastics to disposable upholstery. Everything you see will remind you that this is an economy vehicle, which may annoy you quite a bit – especially if you’ve already seen the 2014 Honda Civic, which offers a much more pleasant cabin for a lower price.
The 2014 Toyota Matrix comes with plenty of safety features, which offer enough protection to make you feel at ease when driving loved ones. Last year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given it “good” ratings in all categories but one – head restraints and seats – where the car has scored “acceptable.” In general, however, the 2014 Toyota matches what you’ll find in other vehicles of its class. The safety features include standard driver and passenger airbags along with side airbags and curtains. You also get Traction and Stability Control and an anti-theft system. Overall, there’s nothing to complain about here – it delivers what it should and that’s all there is to it.
Updated on March 26, 2013
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