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2009 Toyota Matrix

Overview
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2009 Toyota Matrix Review

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The 2009 Toyota Matrix offers a sporty, but practical and reasonably priced alternative to either mundane sub-compact cars or bulky crossover SUVs. Released as an early 2009 model, the new Matrix gets more appealing styling, an optional 158-horsepower 2.4-liter engine, crisper steering feel and more precise handling. The performance-oriented XRS trim level returns, as does optional all-wheel drive. As with the previous Matrix, there's plenty of room for four adults and the rear seats fold down to create a flat, voluminous cargo area. Main competitors for the Matrix include the MAZDA3, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Honda Civic and the Matrix' fraternal twins, the Toyota Corolla and Pontiac Vibe, which are all built in the same Canadian factory.

You'll Like This Car If...

Performance-oriented drivers will enjoy the 2009 Toyota Matrix XRS trim level's combination of precise steering feel, sports-tuned suspension and grippy ultra-high-performance all-season tires. Rear seats in all models easily accommodate two adults, or the seats can be folded to provide a large cargo area.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Matrix transmits a surprisingly high amount of road and tire noise into the cockpit. Two of its tire choices -- the high-performance and touring all-season tires - seemed noisier than the ultra-high-performance rubber on the XRS.

What's New for 2009

New coupe-like styling better fits the youthful, sporty appeal of the 2009 Matrix. Standard is a new 1.8-liter, 132-horsepower four-cylinder engine, which is up by six horsepower over the previous powerplant. Upper trim levels have a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 158 horsepower. The XRS and the S with all-wheel drive have independent rear suspension.

Driving the Matrix

Driving Impressions Each trim level of the 2009 Toyota Matrix has its own significantly different feel and performance. The base model is focused more on economy and functionality than driving excitement. The...

S trim level, which will be the sales leader, has a slightly more sporty suspension and steering tuning and the 158-horsepower 2.4-liter engine; the handling is responsive and acceleration is decidedly peppy. The XRS is a serious performer with taut, sport-tuned suspension, precise steering and high-performance tires. The electric power steering system allows easy tuning for different levels of steering feel, and also helps performance and fuel economy by dismissing with the traditional engine belt drive and hydraulic pump. Unless you regularly encounter snowy conditions, the 2.4-liter engine does not produce enough power to make the all-wheel-drive option worth the cost and extra weight.

XRS Trim
Sport-tuned suspension, excellent steering feel, grippy 18-inch tires and a 158-horsepower engine turn the 2009 Toyota Matrix XRS into a terrific little car for the enthusiast driver on a budget.

Generous Rear Cargo Space
Fold down the rear seats of the 2009 Toyota Matrix and its flat cargo floor can hold a bunch of camping gear, back-to-college supplies or boxes and books for moving day.

2009 Toyota Matrix Details
2009 Toyota Matrix photo Interior

Despite its sporty exterior, the 2009 Matrix is an extremely practical sub-compact. The rear seats comfortably accommodate two full-sized adults. There's more than plenty of headroom both front and rear and legroom has been increased. The rear seats fold forward to create a flat cargo floor that will swallow large amounts of gear; however, the restyling cut about two cubic feet from the cargo volume. The front passenger's seat folds flat and can be employed as a computer table or to carry longer cargo. The high front seating position provides excellent visibility, and all trim levels have supportive sport seats.

Exterior

The previous Toyota Matrix reminded some of a miniature minivan or station wagon, which turned off a number of potential buyers. For 2009, in addition to making it slightly longer and wider, Toyota stylists eliminated the third side window, significantly expanded the C-pillar and wrapped the back glass around the sides, thus giving it a sportier coupe-like appearance. The XRS gets even more aggressive styling, including a front underbody spoiler, a rear roof spoiler and 18-inch aluminum wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2009 Toyota Matrix comes in three trim levels: Base, S and the sporty XRS. All have four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and front, front-side and full-length side-curtain airbags. The base model has a 132-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, while the S and XRS have a 158-horsepower, 2.4-liter version. The base and S versions have 16-inch steel wheels, the XRS has 18-inch aluminum rims and XRS and S versions have larger front and rear disc brakes. Other standard equipment includes Lexus-style Optitron gauges, an auxiliary input jack and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel. The S and XRS have a 115-volt AC outlet that accepts three-prong plugs.

Optional Equipment

Electronic stability control is optional on the base and S models and standard on the XRS. Available on the S and XRS trim levels are a navigation system that's more affordable to fit the Matrix market and a JBL seven-speaker audio system with a six-disc CD changer. All-wheel-drive is available, but only on the S model and only with the 2.4-liter engine and four-speed automatic. Optionally available are 16-inch aluminum wheels for the base model and 17-inchers for the S trim, fitted with either touring or high-performance all-season tires.

Under the Hood

Standard on the 2009 Toyota Matrix is a new 1.8-liter, 132-horsepower four-cylinder engine, which is available with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. The S and XRS models have a 2.4-liter, 158-horsepower, four-cylinder engine with either a five-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission. The 2.4-liter engine employs variable timing on both exhaust and intake valves to produce both responsive acceleration and good fuel economy. All-wheel drive is available only with the S trim level with the automatic transmission. In normal operation, the AWD system sends all the power to the front wheels, but when slip is detected the electronically-controlled center differential diverts up to 45 percent of the torque to the rear. Base and non-AWD S models have a beam rear axle, while the XRS and AWD versions have independent rear suspension.

1.8-liter in-line 4
132 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
128 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/32 (manual), 25/31 (automatic)

2.4-liter in-line 4
158 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
162 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 (manual), 21/29 (five-speed automatic), 20/26 (four-speed automatic, AWD)

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2009 Toyota Matrix Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.2
Out of 10

Based on 80 Ratings for the 2009 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.2/10
    Styling
    8.3/10

very decent car

By on Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive and reliable"

Cons: "Drivers seat doesn't go back very far"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Bought this car new. It has gotten good gas milage and is very peppy. Gets thru snow well and handles good. Sport pkg is great but ride is a little rough. Carries a lot lots of room No mechanical problems."

Love my baby!

By on Friday, August 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "reliable, great gas mileage, comfortable, spaceous"

Cons: "hard to find replacement cup holder dividers"

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

"I personally love this car. It's served me well on road trips all up and down the east coast. It's easy with dogs and it holds a LOT more than you would expect. The only issue is it isn't the quietest car on the highway. We're 72k miles in and I would say we really haven't had any issues, knock on wood! The only thing I dislike is the color of the radio system. It's an ugly orangey yellow! Oh yeah, car is awesome on gas mileage. I average about 350-400 miles on 10-10.5 gallons of gas! Oh one more issue! My brother threw out the cup holder plastic divider piece and finding a replacement online is impossible! Don't lose it! I'm sure dealers will charge a bunch."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

A great, reliable and good looking car

By on Friday, August 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 185,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, economical, reliable, roomy"

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

"I have a long commute and have driven across the country once in this car. Despite all the miles I have put on it, this car has never let me down. It is reliable to the letter! I get about 33 miles a gallon on the highway so it is pretty economical with fuel also. It is also really roomy, particularly when the back seats are folded down."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Amazing vehical!

By on Friday, May 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 159,500

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: "Great price, Style, Gas"

Cons: "none!"

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

"I got this car after my Camry had a recal a few years back. I absolutly love my car! the gas milage is great and the safty of the Matrix is excellent!"

10 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Perfect for Me

By on Friday, November 08, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great looking car; comfortable driving"

Cons: "Some visibility issues; noisy driving"

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

"I really love this car!! Traded in a van for this Matrix. Now that I am used to the change in size of vehicle, I love the control of this car. Kind of noisy to drive, but I really feel good driving it."

9 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Great Headroom, Style, but read further...

By on Thursday, October 31, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Roomy, Stylish, good MPG, low maintenance costs."

Cons: "Noisy, harsh riding and poor visibility."

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

"Exotic styling. However, this causes difficult blind spots on either side of front windshield and to rear view. Ride is harsh, you will feel every road defect. Handling and braking are quite good. Acceleration isn't very strong, but capable in most traffic. Average around 28 MPG all around. Interior noise level is very high on highway, difficult to converse normally. The access and head room are great. The rear hatch and fold flat rear seats really makes this car a versatile hauler. The radio has too much bass, treble can't be turned up high enough to compensate."

5 people out of 7 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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