2011 Toyota Matrix - Click above for high-res image gallery

Toyota may not invest in a next-generation version of the company's Matrix when the 2013 Corolla arrives. According to Ward's Auto, the hatchback's sales have fallen off of a cliff, with just 14,592 deliveries last year. That's down from a height of 66,836 units in 2002. But that's just here in the typically hatch-averse United States. In Canada, the Matrix is still kicking in teeth, though the Corolla still outsells its long-roof twin by more than twice the volume.

While there's been some speculation that the upcoming compact Prius variant will supplant the Matrix in the Toyota family tree, Bob Carter, Toyota's Group Vice President and General Manager, says that the two vehicles are expected to appeal to vastly different audiences.

Still, we have to think that Toyota would be wise to invest a little coin in the aging Matrix when the Corolla gets a revamp in a few years. American buyers seem to be slowly warming to the idea of hatches and wagons, and competitors from Hyundai to Ford are all offering five-door variants. As Ward's Auto points out, 43 percent of 2012 Focus sales have been hatchbacks to date.


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  • 36 Comments
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      It seems that a lot of people crap all over this car, but I have always liked the formfactor of the Matrix.... the miniwagon design can be very practical for some folks that think a "regular" hatchback is just too small but don't want to step it up into a crossover or SUV. I think the Matrix definitely needs a redesign, but I personally think it would be a shame to see it go altogether.
      nardvark
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe they're smart to not try competing against the new Focus hatch. The Matrix was always a decent, well-rounded car, just not compelling in any way. Also, boring as snot. Our neighbors had one, and they wanted to get rid of it because it was so blah, but it was reliable, cheap, and filled their needs, so they couldn't justify it. In this day its fuel economy is pretty mediocre.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        KC
        • 3 Years Ago
        Would you have rather that $65 be included the price? I rather deal with options and have a lower base price, so that I can choose the options I want, rather than have it chosen for me.
      Stephen Liu
      • 3 Years Ago
      With NUMMI dead, I think Toyota would be better off just bringing over the next-gen Auris instead of keeping the a Matrix that's NA-specific since there's no longer a need to have a vehicle that "co-developed" with GM.
      Adam
      • 3 Years Ago
      I will admit that the car is a total appliance. I have a 2005 Matrix XR AWD, currently with 130,000 miles on the clock. Regular maintenance like oil changes, tires, brakes, on serp belt, one tranny drain/fill thus far has yielded absolutely 0 problems. The car is a **** brickhouse when it comes to reliability. The cargo capacity is really useful, especiall with the front passenger seat flopped down for long items (10ft. conduit and 8ft ladders with the glass closed). Mentioning that, the split glass on the earlier models was an amazing feature as well. Having tie down anchor points and straps that came with the car have come in handy multiple times. It's not fast, it's not pretty, but it gets the job done and with a 26-30mpg average I am not complaining about only dropping $40 to top the tank from dead empty. The Matrix debuted in 2003 and refreshed in 05, and redesigned in 09. There was not much else on the market at the time that fit my bill. I needed a hatchback, AWD, decent mpg. Mazda 3 had no AWD option and their dealership sucked at service. The Subaru was overpriced for a used car and out of budget. This car at one year old was perfect. Not to mention people had the option of a 1.8L 2ZZ with a 6MT and 180hp. They toned that down to 164hp with the 2.4L option and left the other 1.8L base mill mostly unchanged. Along with keeping the 4 slush-o-matic on the AWD model, I have no reason to sell/trade this car in at the moment. My next car will be either a CPO BMW 328Xi wagon, Volvo V50 T5 AWD, Volvo V70, Jetta Sportwagen, Passat Wagon, or Audi A4 Avant. VW's being new of course, but since nobody else cares to make a functional, fun, reliable hatch those are my options in the US.
      Unni
      • 3 Years Ago
      The problem may be NUMMI dead. VIBE was also a Very nice car. GM is leaving that market but ford is one that market by fiesta and focus Hatchbacks.
      autoplaybook
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe the Matrix isn't doing so hot for the following reasons: 1) It's hideous, and gets more hideous with each passing update. And apparently, it got a minor refresh this year. Did AB or any other auto publication comment/notice? Not to my knowledge. 2) The Matrix is rarely advertised. 3) Have you seen its mileage figures? Not compelling.
        KC
        • 3 Years Ago
        @autoplaybook
        1) It's never been hideous. 2) Correct. 3) It's mileage figures are comparative to the Corolla's, getting 2-3 mpgs less. Corolla's highest mpg (28/35), Matrix highest (26/32)
          tantareanujellob
          • 3 Years Ago
          @KC
          Are you blind? Hideous is being kind. It looks like dog **** on a hot summer day.
      vcarr123
      • 3 Years Ago
      Toyota should instead look to an all new 6 seat WISH to compete against the Ford C-Max and Mazda5.
      Zoom
      • 3 Years Ago
      Improving quality of materials up to Mazda3 territory, offering some more luxury, and improving the mpgs would do wonders for the Matrix. Plus, it's one of the only in its class available with AWD (albeit without a manual tranny). Bring back the Corolla ALLTRAC and Americans will fall over.
        lostjr
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Zoom
        I own a 2003, and it is no beauty perhaps, but i would not replace it with the current version. It is a lot uglier, and looks and feels a lot cheaper. OTOH the same could be said for the Corolla, and it still sells. But maybe the sedan buyers are just very conservative, and are buying the name.
      Sc
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Venza sells and it's essentially the same concept, but on a larger scale. The problem with the Matrix, as Mike K pointed out, is that it's unattractive on an aging platform and the ergonomics of driving one are terrible. Toyota has also failed in naming it the Matrix rather than just a 5-door Corolla. Not taking advantage of the brand equity of the largest selling car in the world (to date) is a massive failure.
        Stephen Liu
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Sc
        And yet the Venza's doing pretty well despite not being called what it really is: the Camry Wagon (meanwhile, the Accord Crosstour isn't doing so hot).
      sckid213
      • 3 Years Ago
      The first-gen Matrix was decent looking, if not a little boring. This gen is butt-effing HIDEOUS, even given generous standards of what is and is not hideous. If it looked good -- even just boring and not ugly like the first gen -- it would sell. There's no reason this car's sales should be falling off a cliff. As noted in the article, Americans are warming to hatches with good fuel economy. This is a case of Toyota just completely effing a model up and not having the luxury of people buying it just because it's a Toyota anymore.
        Adam
        • 3 Years Ago
        @sckid213
        They got very lazy with the redesign. The Matrix was a good seller for them, but it was hard to see as they bundled it with the Corolla sales. The new model looks too flowy, and comes with nothing that can be even closely deemed as sporty. The old 2ZZ 1.8L VVTL-i engine with a 6MT had 180 high revving hp to play with. The new 2.4L 164hp engine was an afterthough and borrowed from the last generation tC. Even the new tC has more hp than this car. It was a huge letdown when compared to the likes of the Mazda 3 and now current Focus. The only advantage that the Matrix has is the AWD offering which although not a huge sell, won me over and has never left me stranded in New England slop.
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      A face only a mother could love.
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