Toyota Matrix

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Toyota Matrix
2003-2004 Toyota Matrix XRS
ManufacturerToyota Motor Corporation
Also calledPontiac Vibe
Toyota Voltz
Model year(s)2003–present
AssemblyCambridge, Ontario, Canada
ClassCompact car
Body style(s)5-door hatchback
LayoutFront engine, front wheel drive / all wheel drive
RelatedToyota Corolla
Toyota Celica
Toyota Auris
ManualService Manual

The Toyota Matrix, occasionally referred to as the Toyota Corolla Matrix, is a compact hatchback manufactured by the Toyota Motor Corporation in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, to be sold in both the United States and Canada. It's considered to be the sporty hatchback/wagon counterpart of the North American Corolla.

The Matrix is the Toyota version of a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors; the GM version being the Pontiac Vibe, which is assembled by New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI) in Fremont, California. A third version, also assembled at NUMMI, was sold in Japan from 2002 to early 2004 as the Toyota Voltz. Almost 2000 cars were produced before production ceased.[1] Although the Voltz was sold under the Toyota brand there, the vehicle had the same exterior as the Vibe.

Identical mechanically, and nearly as much internally, the Matrix and Vibe are clothed in different sheetmetal designed by their respective brands. Both vehicles are narrow, yet tall station wagons styled in a quasi-SUV fashion (called a crossover utility vehicle or "CUV" by Toyota)[2] and marketed to a fairly youthful market segment. This type of car is also commonly referred to as a sport wagon.

First sold in February 2002,[3] the Matrix saw a minor facelift for the 2005 model year, and was redesigned completely in 2007, following the new tenth generation Corolla.

First generation (2003–2008)

First generation
2005-2008 Toyota Matrix
Model year(s)2003–2008
Engine(s)1.8 L (1794 cc, 109 cu in) 1ZZ-FE I4
123–130 hp (92–97 kW)[4]
1.8 L (1796 cc, 110 cu in) 2ZZ-GE I4
164–180 hp (122–134 kW)[4]
Transmission(s)4-speed automatic[4]
5-speed C59 manual[4]
6-speed C60 manual[4]
Wheelbase102.4 in (2601 mm)[4]
Length171.3 in (4351 mm)[4]
Width69.9 in (1775 mm)[4]
Height61.0 in (1549 mm)[4]
Fuel capacityFWD:13.2 US gal (50 L; 11 imp gal)[4]
AWD:11.9 US gal (45 L; 10 imp gal)[5]

The Matrix was first introduced in the 2003 model year and based on the Toyota Corolla platform.[3] Relatively unchanged in 2004, a facelift for 2005 brought minor revisions to the exterior - mainly revised styling to the front fascia due to complaints of rubbing the ground on the previous incarnation and replacing the red lenses on the taillamps with clear ones.[6][7] Also, the center instrument panel was slightly redesigned and featured a Toyota head unit in place of the previous GM-sourced radio.[7]

Two 1.8 L engines were offered in the Matrix: the 1ZZ-FE used in the Corolla, which originally made 130 horsepower (97 kW) in 2003 through 2005 models, but was reduced to 126 horsepower (94 kW) in 2006,[8] and the performance-oriented 2ZZ-GE taken from the Toyota Celica GT-S,[4] which produced 164 horsepower (122 kW) (previously 180 horsepower (130 kW) in 2003, 173 hp (129 kW) in 2004,[9] and 170 horsepower (130 kW) in 2005).[10] The 2006 drop in power was due to new testing standards, and not a change in the engine's actual performance.[8]

In late 2006, Toyota discontinued use of the 2ZZ-GE engine and dropped the XRS from the Matrix lineup to be temporarily replaced by the M-Theory edition. Like each year of the XRS model, the M-Theory was a limited production run of 2500 cars.[11] All wheel drive was also available from 2003-2006 when coupled to the 1ZZ engine and automatic transmission, but was dropped at the same time as the XRS.[11]


Standard (2003–2008)

2003-2004 base

Starting out at $14,670 in 2003, the no-frills base model came with few options. While it did have standard air conditioning, it left out such niceties as color-keyed mirrors and door handles, blacked out window frames, and power windows, locks, and mirrors. Ground effects, a rear window wiper, and alloy wheels were also stricken from the options list by Toyota, forcing buyers to go with an XR or XRS model if they wished to have these features, as well as six-way adjustable seats and variable intermittent windshield wipers. However, one option the base model could be had with was AWD for an additional $1465 (although the actual increase was $2445, since AWD only came with an automatic transmission). Adding AWD brought the car's curb weight of 2,679 lb (1,215 kg) up to 2,943 lb (1,335 kg) and decreased power by 7 hp (5 kW) and 7 lb·ft (9 N·m).[12][13] In 2004, the price of a base model remained unchanged, but by the last year of production, 2008, it had risen to $15,510.[14]

XR (2003–2008)

The Matrix's mid-grade trim level, the XR was designed to combine the cheapness of the base model with the looks and features of the XRS. By checking this option on the order sheet, customers received standard features like color-matched mirrors and door handles, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a panic button on the key fob. Options now available included a sunroof, ground effects, and 16-inch (410 mm) alloy wheels. In 2007, the previously XRS-exclusive 17-inch (430 mm) wheels became an option on the XR when the XRS was discontinued. A 2003 XR started at $16,180 and 2,701 lb (1,225 kg), but when equipped with AWD cost at least $18,445 (only $305 less than an XRS) and weighed in at 2,965 lb (1,345 kg).[13] Like the base model, the XR's AWD engine was detuned. Again, the car's price for its sophomore year stayed the same, but in the four years after that, it rose to $16,990.[15]

XRS (2003–2006)

For $18,750, the top-of-the-line model came standard with four-wheel disc brakes and six speakers (the two extra speakers were tweeters) - extras not available on the other trim levels. Also included on all XRSes were anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, 16-inch alloy wheels, and cruise control. In 2003, 17-inch wheels could be had, but only on cars without a sunroof. An option combining 17-inch (430 mm) wheels and a sunroof became available the second year of production. In 2005, an XRS started out at $18,850, and for its last year, it went for $19,250.[16]

2004 XRS dashboard

The pièce de résistance, however, was Toyota's high-tech 2ZZ-GE engine - the Matrix's namesake because of the metal matrix composite (MMC) used to line the cylinder walls. Displacing 1.8 L (1796 cc, 110 cu in), or 109.6 cubic inches, it produced 180 hp (134 kW) and 130 lb·ft (176 N·m) - a rare 100 horsepower-per-liter. While its 11.5:1 compression ratio was a large factor in its performance, what set the engine apart was its ability to alter timing and valve lift through Toyota's VVTL-i. Because it could manipulate its valvetrain, the 2ZZ was capable of reaching 9000 rpm. Despite the technology, however, the engine's high compression necessitates "premium" gasoline (91 octane or above in the (R+M)/2 scale). With the exception of an available automatic in 2003, a six-speed manual transmission has been the only option for the XRS.[4] A Transitional Low Emission Vehicle (TLEV) its first year of production,[17] the 2ZZ was retrofitted in 2004 with a smog pump and reclassified as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV).[18]

A testament to Toyota's engineering, the Matrix was able to come to a full stop from 60 mph (97 km/h) in only 114 feet (35 m).[4] On a skidpad, the car achieved .83 g, only .03 g less than the Celica GTS, during testing by Motor Trend and Sport Compact Car.[19][20] Due to being front wheel drive, the XRS has a weight distribution of 59/41, which may result in understeer when driven hard. It weighs in at a relatively light 2,800 lb (1,300 kg).[4][13]

M-Theory (2007)

Not a trim level, the M-Theory edition was a 2007-only[21] appearance package with an exclusive "Speedway Blue" color. For $1500, a customer got 17-inch Caldina wheels, a chrome exhaust tip, a numbered plaque (1 of 2500), four wheel disc brakes, and a spoiler. To improve handling, a "sport tuned suspension" and strut tower brace were included.[22]


Interior with seats folded.

One of the Matrix's unique design features is its interior, particularly the rear 60/40 seats and cargo area. Made with rigid plastic backs, the rear seats fold flat, creating a 53.2 cu ft (1.51 m3) cargo area. In a practicality test, however, Motor Trend was able to haul more things in the Matrix than in a Subaru WRX wagon with 61.1 cu ft (1.73 m3) of space.[4] In addition to the eight tie-downs in the back for attaching the included cargo nets and tonneau cover, the seats and rear floor have integrated rails for installing extra tie-downs.[4][19]

Up front, the passenger seat also folds flat, accommodating long items like surf boards or allowing drivers to use the tray in its back to hold things like a laptop computer. If the driver does have a laptop or other electronic device, it can be charged with the 115 volt/100 watt power inverter.[23] The first year of production (2003), the instrument cluster was completely red.[3] However, the next year, Toyota made the numbers white while keeping the rest of the gauges red.[6] When the car was updated in 2005, a digital clock was added to the radio bezel.[7]


In May 2008, Toyota issued a recall for 2003 and 2004 model year Corollas and Matrixes. The recall notice cites two bolts in each of the front doors as potentially causing the window to come off the track and break. This recall only applies to models equipped with power windows.[24] General Motors issued a recall for the same problem on 2003 and 2004 Pontiac Vibes with power windows at the same time.[25]

Second generation (2009)

Second generation
2009 Toyota Matrix S
Model year(s)2009
Engine(s)1.8 L (1797 cc, 110 cu in) 2ZR-FE I4
132 hp (98 kW)[26]
2.4 L (2362 cc, 144 cu in) 2AZ-FE I4
158 hp (118 kW)[26]
Transmission(s)4-speed automatic[26]
5-speed automatic[26]
5-speed manual[26]
Wheelbase102.4 in (2601 mm)[26]
Length173.0 in (4394 mm)[26]
AWD: 171.9 in (4366 mm)[26]
Width69.5 in (1765 mm)[26]
Height61.0 in (1549 mm)
XRS & AWD: 61.4 in (1560 mm)[26]
Fuel capacity13.2 US gal (50 L; 11 imp gal)[26]

Initially rumored by Toyota and auto news media as a Matrix replacement named the Blade,[27] the second generation Matrix was unveiled on October 31, 2007, at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, and was first available at dealerships in February 2008, as a 2009 model.[28]

In the United States, three trim grades (Standard [base], S, and XRS) are offered[26], as well as two I4 engines: a 1.8 L (1797 cc, 110 cu in) 2ZR-FE for the base model and a 2.4 L (2362 cc, 144 cu in) 2AZ-FE for the S and XRS grades. The former is offered with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission, while the larger engine is equipped with either a manual or automatic 5-speed transmission.[26] In addition, the S grade, when equipped with the 4-speed automatic, may be had with All-Wheel Drive.[29]

Canadian buyers are offered four trim levels: a 1.8 L-powered base model and the XR, AWD, and XRS models with a 2.4 liter engine.[30][31]


Beginning in 2008, Toyota began offering different trim levels in the United States and Canada. The XR trim and AWD option became exclusive for Canada, and the S model was released only in the U.S. All vehicles have an independent front suspension with MacPherson struts,[26] but only XRS models and cars equipped with all-wheel drive feature an independent rear suspension using double wishbones instead of a semi-independent torsion beam.[26][32] The 2009 models have less interior space than the preceding years, with a total of 48.9 cu ft (1.38 m3) compared to the original 53.2 cu ft (1.51 m3).[26]


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  2. Huffman, John. "A sleek “CUV” with youthful imagination - 2003 Toyota Matrix". The Car Connection. Retrieved on 2008-04-26. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Jacquot, Josh (January 2002). "2003 Toyota Matrix XRS Road Test Review". Sport Compact Car. Retrieved on 21 October 2008. 
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 Walton, Chris (May 2002). "The Next Band Wagons". Motor Trend: 82-90. Retrieved on 18 July 2008. 
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  19. 19.0 19.1 Bedard, Patrick (June 2002). "Chrysler PT Cruiser vs. Ford Focus, Pontiac Vibe, Mazda Protegé5, Suzuki Aerio, Toyota Matrix". Car and Driver. Retrieved on 12 October 2008. 
  20. Huffman, John Pearley (November 2000). "Toyota Thunder: TRD Celica GT-S - Road Test". Car and Driver. Retrieved on 12 October 2008. 
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  26. 26.00 26.01 26.02 26.03 26.04 26.05 26.06 26.07 26.08 26.09 26.10 26.11 26.12 26.13 26.14 26.15 "Toyota Matrix Performance & Specs". Retrieved on 2008-07-24. 
  27. "Toyota cuts Matrix with Blade". AutoWeek Magazine. Retrieved on 2008-06-25. 
  28. "Toyota Releases Pricing on 2009 Corolla and Matrix - and Releases a Special-Edition FJ Cruiser". Retrieved on 2008-10-28. 
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  30. "Matrix Features". Toyota Canada Inc.. Retrieved on 2008-10-06. 
  31. "Price Your Toyota". Toyota Canada Inc.. Retrieved on 2008-10-28. 
  32. "Matrix Specifications". Toyota Canada. Retrieved on 2008-10-28. 

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