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2008 Toyota Matrix

Overview
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2008 Toyota Matrix Review

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Once considered revolutionary, the 2008 Toyota Matrix is now joined by a fleet of competitors attempting to copy the little wagon's combination of versatility and sporty good looks. Copy-cats may better be able to compete now that Toyota has simplified the model lineup, but an all-new Matrix is scheduled to debut in 2009, so no one should be resting on any laurels just yet. Despite its age, few rivals can match the Matrix's outstanding quality, customer satisfaction ratings and terrific resale value. Holding strong appeal with teenagers bent on customizing every inch of their cars, the Matrix's radical exterior is complimented by its highly versatile interior, which includes eye-catching glowing red gauges, a hard plastic cargo floor and a 115-volt outlet.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're on an economy-car budget, but you want something sporty and versatile, the 2008 Toyota Matrix deserves a good long look.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The four-cylinder engine has to rev high to make the most of its power, and some buyers might not be comfortable with that. With last year's removal of its all-wheel-drive option, the Matrix has little advantage over newer, more powerful five-door models such as the Mazda MAZDA3 and Volkswagen Rabbit.

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Matrix carries over largely unchanged.

Driving the Matrix

Driving Impressions The competent 1.8-liter engine can move the Matrix with ease, though you will have to keep the revs high in the rpm band to get the most of the engine's...

power. The standard five-speed manual transmission is the most helpful for this task, although the optional four-speed automatic simplifies the driving. The Matrix's precise steering feel makes it easy to get around curves with confidence and the firm suspension displays good cornering ability without a punishing ride. Interior sound levels are higher than one might expect, but not annoyingly so. Besides, we suspect most younger drivers will never hear the din over the optional JBL Audio system.

115-Volt Outlet
The 115-volt outlet on the XR's dash should be standard in every car.

JBL Audio w/ Kicker Sub Woofer
If you like your music loud and your bass thumping, this system is sure to please.

2008 Toyota Matrix Details
2008 Toyota Matrix photo Interior

Look inside the Matrix and you'll find a detailed interior that blends black cloth, chrome trim rings and brushed aluminum into pure automotive art. Gauges are housed in four deeply-recessed binnacles that are constantly backlit in a deep red glow. You'll find the Matrix's seating to be firm and comfortable, with a height-adjustable driver's seat on the XR trim. The roomy rear seat sits up high, affording passengers more legroom as well as a good view forward. When not loaded with passengers, the Matrix's seats can be folded flat to create a rather roomy 53 cubic feet of cargo area. Laptop junkies will love the two-prong 115-volt outlet standard on the XR.

Exterior

The 2008 Matrix is based on the Corolla platform and shares its chassis and powertrain with the Pontiac Vibe. The Matrix is a bit more futuristic in appearance than the Vibe, with flared ground-effects panels, sweptback headlamps and a narrow rear window. The sweeping rear beltline makes for narrow rear side windows that can hinder a driver's ability to see small objects that may be close to the rear wheels. The large hatchback makes it easy to load the cargo hold and, on the XR trim level, includes a rear wiper/washer. A number of aftermarket parts, both from Toyota and external suppliers, make it easy to customize the Matrix without having to spend a small fortune.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The Matrix includes a 126-horsepower engine, five-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, rear defroster, front and rear cup holders, illuminated entry, dual remote-control mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD, tilt wheel, tachometer, cargo cover and full wheel covers. The XR adds power mirrors, 115-volt outlet, power windows, power locks, remote keyless entry and a rear wiper/washer.

Optional Equipment

Options include cruise control, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), front side-impact and front and rear side-curtain airbags, power glass moonroof, four-speed automatic transmission, auto-dimming rearview mirror, alarm, rear wiper/washer, anti-lock brakes (ABS), JBL audio and a number of dealer installed security and protection packages.

Under the Hood

The high-reving four-cylinder is peppy and fuel-efficient -- exactly what most buyers are looking for. Although not big on torque, the 1.8-liter can move the Matrix with ease, so long as the car is not loaded with passengers or climbing steep hills.

1.8-liter in-line 4
126 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
122 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/33 (manual), 25/31 (automatic)

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2008 Toyota Matrix Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 548 Ratings for the 2003 - 2008 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Troublesome indeed

By on Saturday, June 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 168,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Nice size car body"

Cons: "Poor gas mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Don't get me wrong, I love my Matrix. It is my first car but I'm pretty sure getting 4 flat tires in 3 months is not luck. My tires and brake pads have given the worst headache ever. Not to mention 4 months ago my original starter for the car went out had to pay $200 for a new one please new brakes, and 4 new tires. I can fill her up with $35.00 but just driving 15 miles to school and back within a week i'm back on E. I wish I had the upgraded version of the car. I love my matrix and I wouldn't want to trade it for the world I just wish i'd stopping breaking down on me."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

A wonderful, reliable vehicle!

By on Tuesday, June 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 210,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Reliable. Reliable. Reliable. AWD is outstanding."

Cons: "Ugly. Slightly inconvenient interior controls."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I purchased mine with 160,000 miles, the most I have ever had on a vehicle. Now at 210,000, not sure if it will ever quit! Great gas mileage for an all wheel drive (every tank is 30 mpg - city/highway/doesn't matter). The seats are comfy and the vehicle drives exactly as you would want. The engine gets a bit loud at high revs, but nothing to complain about. Love this car and even though it isn't the best looking, this might have been the best auto purchase I have ever made for value."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Great car for the price!

By on Sunday, May 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "quick-fun car to drive, hauls all sizes of stuff"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"1. great gas mileage 2. back and front passenger seat fold down which is excellent for hauling all size of things! 3. very reliable for a car under $20,000 4. quick, easy to drive, smooth 5. paint still looks great at 106,000 miles"

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Best ever vehicle!

By on Monday, April 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Just a great car!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have owned the 2003 red Matrix now for 13 years and it has always given me great performance. I have never experienced any mechanical troubles with this vehicle. My highway mileage averages 35 MPH. I like this model of Toyota because it sits higher than the Corolla. The interior seats fold flat and I am able to carry a lot of stuff when I need to. My car has a front low racing profile with fog lights. The tailgate and rear window may be opened separately.I love this vehicle,I might just keep it until it no longer can run safely."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

The Matrix has been a disappointment as a AWD!!!

By on Friday, April 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Fair fuel mileage"

Cons: "Very noisy and doesn't perform well as a AWD"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"The Matrix Does not compare to the old Tercel 4x4 in durability or performance. I would not purchase another."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

1 owner, low milage, dealer service documented

By on Friday, March 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "1 owner/driver. taken care of"

Cons: "a few minor dents & scratches"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"driving to work 2 miles away, pampered and serviced at dealership. Just passed smog(March 2015). Bought a new car, problem with parking space."

3 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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