Reader Review of the Week: 2009 Toyota Matrix

Reader ReviewDon’t always believe the hype. At least, that’s the lesson “Lifetime Hatchback Owner” from Chicago took away from his experience with the 2009 Toyota Matrix. Impressed by Toyota’s strong reputation of affordable, reliable cars, the purchase of a Matrix seemed like a no-brainer. The reality of the car differed from his expectations, though. Read the full review to find out why the Matrix couldn’t earn this reviewer’s recommendation, then post your own review here.


“The Matrix is a car I wanted to like. It looked funky and seemed to be a great value. But since I drove it off the dealer lot, I have been really disappointed. The mileage is lousy for a small car. I averaged 26 miles per gallon. My old VW Golf TDI averaged 41 mpg. More disappointing is the fit and finish. The interior pieces just don't feel well made. The plastics are already fading and cracking, and the glove box creaks when you open it.

“Also, the reliability has not been so good. Since I took ownership two months ago, the fan belt broke and the front bumper completely fell off the car when I went over a series of potholes in West Chicago (the car showed no signs of damage before that happened).

“I once thought that Toyotas were quality, affordable cars, but this car has changed my opinion. It is put together really cheaply and covered up with attractive pricing and styling. It is a shame, though, because this car has nice seats and a pretty good-size trunk, but that is not enough for me to ever recommend this vehicle.”

*Editor’s note: The 2009 Matrix has an EPA-rated mileage between 20 and 26 mpg in the city and 26 and 32 mpg on the highway, depending on the model. So, depending on which trim level our reader is driving, 26 mpg could be on target with the EPA estimates. Also, being based in Chicago we have seen some recent potholes that could cause severe damage to many cars. Most damage, however, happens to tires, wheels and suspension, not bodywork.


I agree that a lot of Toyotas feel cheaply made, but a bumper falling off. I don't know- maybe the car got hit while parked and that pothole just finished it off.



Remove this review. It is misleading. What fan belt in matrix? What is it, a 1960 RWD? Fans been running off electric motors for years. Bumpers don't fall off cars unless they damaged or detached. Mileage is normal considering city driving and no engine size mentioned. There is cheap plastic in matrix interior - true. But them cracking? Why feed us with BS?


I test drove a top of the line XRS model and it has an excellent interior. No trim level or engine was mentioned. I loved the quality of the high end audio and the manumatic let me shift on my own even on red line. This guy's review should go to the scrap heap. With a bumper dropping, it sounds like HE can't drive.


I test drove a top of the line XRS model and it has an excellent interior. No trim level or engine was mentioned. I loved the quality of the high end audio and the manumatic let me shift on my own even on red line. This guy's review should go to the scrap heap. With a bumper dropping, it sounds like HE can't drive.

Seriously, the potholes have been a serious news story here in Chicago destroying entire suspensions and doing thousands in damages to many cars. So I don't doubt that, of course it might not speak to the car's quality but to that of our roads.


I think he's right. Toyotas were not made like they used to. Toyota today hides behind their reliable high quality past. You cant call the matrix interior high quality. Yes i know all car companies share components through out other cars but really. They used the same bad HAVC controls from the RAV4, Corolla, and now the matrix. They should take some advice from Honda.


My '09 Matrix XRS is rock solid. The interior is amazing, better than I've seen in other cars. Yes gas is an issue but for all intents and purposes it's a sports car. This article is BS. Sounds like someone changed their mind after buying.


While I agree that both Toyota and Honda make less reliable cars today then they did in the 90's through personal experience, this review sounds made up. Bumpers don't just fall off from a pothole, and interior peices don't 'crack' on a car that new.


And what about fan belt?


I've owned a 2009 Matrix base w/auto since July 2008. My round trip drive to work is 100 miles and I avg about 27 mpg. I agree that the mileage could be better! The interior is not cheap and I've had no problems with reliability. My only regret is that I was not patient enough to look around at future 2009 models. I've seen several new models that offer more for less money!


It's obvious the review is either total bs or grossly embellished. I work for the competition (Acura) so I'm no fan of Toyota however in my 26 years in the automotive industry working for every manuf name under the sun I've never heard or seen a car who's bumper fell off from striking a pot hole. And definitely not a car that's been built in the last 24 months. If had any automotive integrity they would pull this review. I won't even touch upon the claim of the interior pieces cracking.


hey, a user review is a user review. if you other matrix owners don't like it write your OWN user review about your OWN car.


It sounds like some of his bad luck from owning a TDI rubbed off on the Toyota.

Jerry has a journalistic responsibility to post credible reviews and several posters have pointed out that this particular user review is suspect at best. I currently don't consider a credible Tier one car source as I've seen too many mistakes make it onto their website. Maybe some day they'll grow enough to afford an Editor. Until then things like this will pop-up from time to time.

Juan Carlos

the bumper. don't forget about the snow and potholes people. obviously he needs a 4x4 silverado or something.

and he could always have hotten a lemon. had this been a pontiac vibe or chevyyc oblat, people would not be defending the car and saying how much america sucks.


you must be getting paid from GM or Chrysler for a review like this. Instead of them wasting there money on BS review like this let them focus on producing cars half the reliability of Toyota or Honda. But they will never get the message...

dan t

I agree with the reviewer. I own this car and I dislike it. The front bumber is too low and can break very easily. It also plows snow and gets cracked in the winter.


I have a 2007 Matrix, which I've put 50,000 miles on. I love it. Get 35 mpg, it's a hatchback so I can haul stuff or give my dog room to roam. One big problem: It's awful in the snow. No traction at all. Will snow tires help? Honestly, it feels like I'll need chains!


I got stuck with one of these for a rental while my car is being repaired (due to a moron rear-ending me). It is a complete piece of crap. It squeaks, creaks, is uncomfortable to drive, is terrible on the ice and snow, has bad audio quality and is visibly made of cheap plastic inside and out. If you drive one and think it doesn't suck, you need to go test drive a few good cars and then rethink this.

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App