• Feb 8th 2011 at 4:25PM
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2011 Toyota Matrix – Click above for high-res image gallery

Toyota will not be having a formal press conference at this week's Chicago Auto Show, but the automaker will still have something fresh on its stand. The 2011 Matrix hatchback has officially bowed, with a slightly retouched exterior (new wheels, different paint choices, etc.), a touched-up interior with a new steering wheel and seat fabrics, and a new standard brake-override system called Smart Stop.

The 2011 Matrix is only available in two trim levels – base and S – and is powered by either a 132-horsepower 1.8-liter or 158-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Transmission choices include a four- or five-speed automatic, as well as a five-speed manual, and all-wheel drive is available on the Matrix S when paired with the 2.4-liter powerplant.

New sport packages are available for both Matrix trims, with the S Sport Package incorporating things like 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear underbody spoilers, a roof-mounted rear spoiler and, of course, 'S' badging. Pricing has not been released for the 2011 Matrix as of this writing, but we expect the starting MSRP to be just under $17,000. Follow the jump for the official details.

[Source: Toyota]
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2011 Toyota Matrix Debuts at the Chicago Auto Show

* New Wheels and Interior Styling Improvements
* Choice of Two Efficient Four-Cylinder Engines
* Sporty S Model Features 2.4-Liter Engine and 17-Inch Wheels
* Smart Stop Technology added to Standard Star Safety System
* Toyota Care Complimentary Maintenance Plan

CHICAGO (Feb. 8, 2011) – Making its debut at the Chicago Auto Show with new changes for MY 2011, the sporty five-door Toyota Matrix deftly combines a fun-to-drive spirit with the utility of a small SUV and excellent fuel economy. In 2011, the Matrix will feature new standard wheels, interior design features, the Toyota Care complimentary maintenance plan, and standard Smart Stop Technology.

The 2011 Matrix continues to feature Toyota Star Safety System™ as standard equipment, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. It also includes standard Smart Stop Technology brake-override system.

Performance and Efficiency

The 2011 Matrix is available in two grades: base Matrix and the sporty S grade. Powertrain choices include 1.8- and 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines, a five-speed manual transmission, and either four- or five-speed automatic transmissions. All-wheel drive (AWD) with active torque control is available in the Matrix S, teamed to the 2.4-liter engine.

The Matrix grade is equipped with a 1.8-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, which produces 132 hp at 6,000 rpm and 128 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm. Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) controls valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts to help optimize performance and economy. The 1.8-liter engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed Electronically Controlled automatic Transmission (ECT).

The Matrix S features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which produces 158 hp at 6,000 rpm and 162 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. A balance shaft suppresses vibration, and the exhaust system is engineered for reduced backpressure for improved performance.

The 2.4-liter engine channels its power through a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic. The all-wheel-drive (AWD) Matrix S is equipped with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and the ECT 4-speed automatic transmission.

For a more engaging driving experience, the driver can shift the five-speed automatic manually by moving the shift lever to the left from its "D" position into the "S" position, then pushing forward for upshifts and back for downshifts.

Both automatics use a torque converter with flex lockup for increased fuel efficiency. Uphill/downhill shift control selects the proper gear for conditions and helps provide moderate engine braking during downhill driving.

The Matrix grade has earned an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway for the 1.8-liter with the five-speed manual transmission, and 26 mpg city and 32 mpg highway for the 1.8-liter paired with the four-speed automatic transmission.

The Matrix S powered by the 2.4-liter engine with five-speed manual transmission achieves an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. With the five speed automatic transmission, it earns 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. The Matrix S AWD with the four-speed automatic achieves 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

Handling and Ride

The Matrix is built around a stiff, rigid body structure that relies on high tensile-strength steels, gussets and crossmembers for its strength, rigidity and light weight. The front suspension is composed of a compact, rigid L-arm-type independent MacPherson strut with a stabilizer bar. The Matrix features a double-wishbone rear suspension with a coil-over-shock arrangement, which allows efficient packaging along with excellent handling and ride comfort.

Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on all Matrix models. The Matrix grade is equipped with 10.7-inch ventilated front discs and 10.1-inch solid discs in the rear. Matrix S features 11.6-inch ventilated front discs and 10.9-inch solid discs in the rear (11.0-inch for AWD).

The Matrix's newly designed standard 16-inch steel wheels come with sporty six-spoke full wheel covers and P205/55R16 tires. Distinctive all-new 17-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels are available on Matrix S with 215/45R17 tires.

The available AWD system with active torque control on the Matrix S is front-wheel-drive-based and distributes torque to the rear wheels through an electromagnetic coupler when needed, such as when the front wheels slip, during heavy acceleration, or on a grade. This active torque control system detects available traction based on signals sent from the ABS sensors on each wheel to the ECU. Traction Control (TRAC) provides an extra measure of wheel slip control, on both front-wheel-drive and AWD models.

Safety and Security

In addition to the Star Safety System, Matrix has a comprehensive list of safety features. Featuring front and rear crumple zones, the Matrix is designed to efficiently absorb and disperse impact energy throughout the body structure. Deformation of the passenger cabin is well managed due to the impact-energy-distribution design and high-strength steel used in the body.

All Matrix models are equipped with six standard airbags, including advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, and front-and-rear side-curtain airbags. Seatbelt pretensioners retract the seat belt at the time of a frontal collision, and the dual-stage force limiter helps limit the seat belt force applied to the passenger's chest. Front seats integrate active headrests. If the vehicle is struck from the rear with sufficient force, a cable-actuated mechanism in the active front headrest moves the headrest upward and forward to help limit the movement of the occupant's head. The Matrix also features an energy-absorbing steering column.

The standard Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system automatically adjusts engine output and braking force at individual wheels to help control any discrepancy between where the driver is steering and where the vehicle is heading.

Comfort and Convenience

The Matrix interior is designed for form, fun and functionality with a sporty, youthful look and flexible utility at the same time. The standard tilt-and-telescopic sport steering wheel enhances driving-position comfort for a wide range of driver physiques. Front-to-back couple distance yields more rear seat room, and the 60/40 split folding rear seat includes a center-position headrest.

Generous new standard equipment on the Matrix grade includes an all-weather package; power windows with driver's side auto down and retained power features; power door locks;; cruise control; color-keyed power heated outside rearview mirrors; tilt and telescopic sport steering wheel; daytime running lights; heavy duty rear window defogger; AM/FM/CD audio with four speakers with MP3/WMA playback capability, auxiliary audio jack, and auto sound leveling (ASL); intermittent rear window wiper; 12-volt power outlet; front center-console box; and an engine immobilizer.

The Matrix S grade also adds a metallic interior trim; a 115-volt power outlet; integrated fog lamps; fold-flat front passenger seat; remote keyless entry; AM/FM/CD with MP3 capability and six speakers with MP3/WMA playback capability.

The Matrix is equipped with a high-efficiency air-conditioning system with large vents. Significantly, the system's compressor electronically varies output capacity based on heat load and engine speed, rather than simply cycling the compressor on and off. This feature reduces noise and enhances interior comfort.

Optional Equipment

Available options on the Matrix grade include a base Sport package with front and rear underbody spoilers, integrated fog lamps, and a unique S badge.

The Matrix S offers an S Sport Package with 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear underbody spoilers, color keyed rear spoiler and a unique S badge. The Premium Package offers a power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade, AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability, six speakers, XM radio (includes 90-day trial subscription), auxiliary audio jack, USB poert with iPod connectivity, CD text display function, auto sound leveling and hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology.

Exterior Design

The second-generation Matrix displays sport-coupe-inspired styling cues while maintaining impressive interior utility. The result is a sporty, dynamic shape that provides a quiet interior for five people to ride in comfort.

The Matrix has rounded rear windows and continuous character lines that run from the front grille to the A-pillar. The Matrix S, which features all-new front and rear bumpers in 2011, integrates front and rear underbody spoilers and a large mesh front fog lamp bezel.

In 2011, a new Spruce Mica color joins Matrix's color palate, which includes Super White, Classic Silver Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Black Sand Mica, Radiant Red, and Nautical Blue Metallic.

Interior Design

Cockpit styling in the Matrix is anchored by a driver-oriented instrument panel and console controls. The Optitron instrument-panel gauges feature bright white lighting and new silver ornamentation for 2011. A large round speedometer is mounted in the center, with a tachometer to the left and red needles that now feature a new white line, adding both style and are easy to view. A combination gauge to the right of the speedometer houses a fuel level indicator, an engine temperature indicator, and an LCD display that combines an outside temp indicator and odometer/trip meter. The center console features new metal-plated rings around the air conditioning vents, and the audio unit has a new flush surface in 2011.

In 2011, Matrix will have new seat fabrics that exude a sporty look. A choice between two interior color schemes includes dark charcoal or a combination of dark charcoal and ash gray, and a three-spoke steering wheel adds a sporty touch. Matrix S comes with a newly designed leather-trimmed steering wheel that includes spoke-mounted audio controls and hands-free Bluetooth capability.

The front center console features a movable and removable cup support element. The cup holder area can be used as a tray when the divider is removed, and all open trays have rubber mats. Multiple storage spaces are located throughout the interior, including front and rear door pockets that each holds a 20-ounce plastic bottle. Four side panel shopping bag hooks and four D-rings in the floor provide luggage tie-down convenience. A folding tonneau cover also comes standard.

Limited Warranty

Toyota's 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation. Toyota dealers have complete details on the limited warranty.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      please have some new ideas for the exterior of the coming series. the above one looks similar to Chevrolet beat, maybe there is a slight difference.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This car makes me sad. Considering how much better the Vibe GT looked and considering how good the Toyota Blade and Blade Master-G looked all the way back in 2006, it is appalling how badly Toyota screwed this one up. The interior on the Blade is lightyears ahead of the Matrix. And the Vibe GT should have had GMs 2.0L turbo instead of this craptacular camry 4cylinder.
      here is the blade
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've always had a fondness for the Matrix, though I don't like the rear end since they changed the sheetmetal. Its a competent little car. Hopefully Toyota upped their interior game with this model. When your interior gets leapfrogged by the Dodge Caliber its time to wake up the boys in design and tell them to get it in gear!

      • 4 Years Ago
      I hope that they really did something to the interior, the plastics were pretty bad. At least it does look better on the outside though, aside from that ridiculous and useless ugly rear side window.

      On a side note, 158HP for a 2.4 liter is pretty pathetic these days. Also, didn't the Matrix die?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ SHANE

        It is pretty obvious that you work for Toyota or have some ties to them through family and ownership.

        "As for Toyota ... they continue to engineer amoung the highest quality, most reliable, depenable, durable, safest and competitive cars on the market and if you believe otherwsie then quite frankly you are kidding yourself."

        Really? Do their recent quality "mishaps", scandals, coverups, and slipping reliability history have anything to do with this? How about how the professional automotive journalists have panned every single one of their new models? Don't forget about their interior quality, which used to be among the best which is now some of the worst. Yeah, those Tacomas and Tundras with the frame rot issues sure are durable.

        What about the valvetrain issues in Toyota's 3.5 liter V6? The intermittent HID headlamp issue with the Prius?

        There is nothing competitive about Toyota. The Corolla was a step behind the competition when it was released, as was the Camry. The Tundra isn't selling worth a damn. The newest 4Runner is an abomination, with a SEVERLY downgraded interior. The RAV4 had one of the worst interiors when it was introduced a long time ago, now it is just a joke.

        Take the blinders off, guy. Toyota is NOT the company that it used to be, and many inside of Toyota have admitted to this INCLUDING Toyoda.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Matrix is obviously still around, it's twin the Pontiac Vibe however is now dead.
        • 4 Years Ago

        Please, share with us a source that shows/proves that Toyota is in some way superior in terms of quality, design, safety, etc.

        Because they aren't.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Toyota is a shrinking violet!
        • 4 Years Ago
        As someone who actually owns a Matrix, that side window is more useful than you might expect, though it is kinda ugly. Without something there the blind spot would be massive.

        It's actually a pretty decent car, better than you'd expect, though I don't know if I'd get another.
        • 4 Years Ago


        Toyota has become lazy, lacked innovation, research and development and only moves when forced to (case in point, last year's recalls finally made Toyota look into safety tech other companies had used for years). They're over-rated. Their products are no more safe, fuel efficient or intelligent than any other auto manufacturer. The fact they carry on with models like the Matrix, without looking into putting a competitive, efficient powertrain shows how clueless they seem to be.

        Sorry, I'm just sick of companies like Toyota getting loads of credit for having a car in the #1 sales position in NA. Pretty sure most mid sized cars are better and more competitive than the Camry. Just because ignorant people have a perceived notion of something does *not* make it true or fact.

        All I can say is thank god we have other companies (Ford, Hyundai/Kia, Chrysler to an extent) forcing lazy corporations like Toyota into innovating.
        • 4 Years Ago
        att : NightFlight - i admit the 2.4 (4-cyl) is now an aging engine with the newer 2.5 (4-cyl) a good replacement however the vulnerable 2.4 has proven not just in North America but in many markets and driving environments throughout the world to be extremely reliable, dependable & durable while being relatively cost effective and i'm sure it will continue to be a good engine to use in the Matrix until the next generation Corolla / Matrix is released. Besides ... given the size of the Matrix, the 2.4 offers resonable output.
        • 4 Years Ago
        How is it that Toyota can put a body kit around the base of a model, and it still look as jacked up as the base model? Do they adjust the suspension so there is still a foot of clearance?
        • 4 Years Ago
        att : NotThatMatt - Please tell me you are kidding me !!

        Make no mistake ... the laziest car companies in the world are undoubtedly the Detriot3 and only strived to improve the quality and reliability of thier cars and trucks after many, many long years of producing absolute junk and eventually (thank god) a rapidly growing proportion of the public relised there are much better cars available particuarly from reputable Japanese car makers such as Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Subaru aswell some European brands with VW, BMW and 'Benz listed as good examples.

        The fact that the Detriot car makers almost become non-exsistant and 2 of them only survive today because of a multi-billion dollar bailout while other car makers rapidly expanded proves exactly who the lazy car makers are.

        Truth be told .. it is the reputable Japanese and Europaan car makers who you should infact be grateful that exsist to prompt the Detriot3 to atleast try and improve not only thier business structure but the competitive nature of thier cars.

        The fact that General Motors had to be dragged against thier will yelling and screaming into the 21 century and even took bankruptcy proceedings to force them to improve is extremely sad and indicative of the lazy culture that propelled the Detriot3 for many years.

        As for Toyota ... they continue to engineer amoung the highest quality, most reliable, depenable, durable, safest and competitive cars on the market and if you believe otherwsie then quite frankly you are kidding yourself.

        Incase you haven't noticed (obviuosly not) but the overwhelming majority of their engines are highly competitive particuarly the many DI examples used by Lexus. In Europe, Toyota continues to invest a small fortune improving thier diesel engines (D-CAT) while Toyota undeniably is the industry leader for the continued development of hybrid technology. Infact, in recent years there has been a growing number of other car companies forming an alliance with Toyota to access thier hybrid technology so don't dare tell me Toyota is lazy because quite frankly your comment is WRONG ... PERIOD !!

        Oh yeah ... and while i'm at it - a rapidly increasing amount of Toyota engines are satisfying Euro V (Euro5) compliancy in many markets throughout the world including here in Australia long before many others particuarly those from the Detriot3.

        So while Toyota infact has not been lazy and any comment trying to suggest they are is bluntantly wrong - they do however still have a number previous generation engines in use and will continue until the next generation of the models they are used in begin to be launched of which is scheduled to happen in second half of 2011 - new Yaris and Camry first of the rank.

        The only current downside to Toyota at present is the fact that many of thier cars are in the later stages of thier product-cycle of which every car company bar-none experiances as models rotate through scheduled product-cycles. It has nothing to do with being lazy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree that the Matrix is quite vulnerable with that weak engine!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree, 158hp from 2.4 is pretty pathetic.

        The 2.0 in my Forte makes 156. The 2.4 in the Optima/Sonata makes 198-200hp.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Still hideous after all these years
      • 4 Years Ago
      this thing looks like the same hot mess it has looked like for the last year or two.

      I cannot bring myself to believe that there are people who think this is a good looking car, let alone the toyota designers who think this is good looking enough to be approved for manufacture.

      What the hell. It is nauseating.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Stuck with the 2.4L ?
      EVery other Toyota except the Corolla/Matrix duo got an upgrade to the 2.5L.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I really am conflicted on the Corolla and Matrix. They're not as woefully terrible as some here claim, but they really really do not deserve to wear the Toyota badge. They truly feel as if they're a car GM would've made and that's not a good thing. Drum brakes, 4-speed auto, the 1ZR-FE that has paltry power, and the cheapend interior compared to the last generation..it all makes for a bad combo. I fully expect the next generation Corolla/Matrix to be 1000% better with Akio at the helm of the company, but these two can't get replaced soon enough.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      A new steering wheel, SWEET!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I like small wagons, and I like the Matrix. The powertrain isn't cutting-edge, but it doesn't need to be.

      I've always wondered: Do mid-model refreshes actually work? Especially when they're this minor? Who cares about some new poseur steering wheel in a car like this?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Again, Toyota's 4 cylinder engines are pathetic. They have neither the horsepower nor the efficiency one would expect from a vehicle this size. I could like something like the Matrix if it came standard with the independent suspension and decent horsepower and economy, but Toyota just has a way of making all the wrong compromises.

      I will pay the Matrix this one compliment, at least Toyota decided to forgo the nasty seam across the front of the hood. The hood blends and contours cleanly into the grill.
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