By KBB.com Editors
The 2011 Toyota Matrix is a clever alternative to conventional compact cars. Its roomy wagon design, tall seating position, and available all-wheel drive makes it competitive with compact SUVs. However, it's the Matrix's sporty driving attitude and good fuel economy that separates it from the little SUVs. The Toyota Matrix also is a strong alternative to the Kia Soul, Mazda Mazda3 hatchback, and Nissan Versa. While the Matrix isn't as trendy as its similarly sized Scion cousins, it is every bit as reliable – and also retains above-average resale value.
Some think they have to sacrifice driving fun and sporty good looks to get an affordable and fuel-efficient car. The 2011 Toyota Matrix happily proves them wrong.
The 2011 Toyota Matrix is not big on power or ground clearance, so if you need a vehicle that can carry heavy loads or venture off-road, you might be happier in a compact SUV.
Changes to the 2011 Toyota Matrix include new wheel designs, a revised interior, the addition of Toyota's Smart Stop technology, and a significant increase in equipment on the base model. The XRS trim has been dropped.
Driving Impressions The 2011 Toyota Matrix and Matrix S share a common suspension that delivers responsive handling and a relatively comfortable ride. An electric-assisted power steering unit replaces the traditional belt-driven hydraulic...setup, helping the engine to conserve power and save fuel. When it comes to performance, however, the two trims could not be more different. The base car's 132-horsepower engine provides adequate power, but the Matrix S's 158-horsepower engine is notably better for merging onto fast-moving freeways, while also providing stout off-the-line acceleration. Unless you regularly encounter snowy roads, the all-wheel-drive option is not worth the cost and extra weight.
115-Volt AC Outlet
This clever feature allows you to power most devices that need household-style alternating current.
Generous Rear Cargo Space
Fold down the rear seats of the 2011 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.
Sporty and practical rarely go together, but the two find a home in the 2011 Toyota Matrix. A flat-folding front passenger seat on the up-level Matrix S helps maximize the Matrix's cargo hauling ability. When the vehicle is parked, the forward-folding front passenger seatback can be used as, among other things, a desk for a computer. Front and rear legroom is about average for this class, but the Matrix's front seats sit up higher than most compact cars, giving occupants a good view of the road ahead. When not hauling people or pets, the Matrix's split-folding rear seats can be lowered to form a solid, level loading floor. The Toyota Matrix S also features a 115-volt outlet that allows devices that use household current (such as a computer) to be powered without the need for an AC converter.Exterior
Although it's classified as a small wagon, the 2011 Toyota Matrix doesn't look boring or utilitarian. Its sharply angled front end, swept up beltline and blacked-out, wrap-around D-pillar glass blend together to form one of the most sporty and youthful models in Toyota's lineup. The up-level Matrix S trim enhances the vehicle's good looks with an underbody front spoiler, a rear roof spoiler, a blacked-out rear diffuser, and 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels. All Matrix models include color-keyed, heated side mirrors, a rear-window wiper, and daytime running lights.
The 2011 Toyota Matrix comes in two trim levels: Matrix and the Matrix S. Both have four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic stability control, and front, front-side and full-length side-curtain airbags. Toyota's Smart Stop Technology cuts engine power if the driver simultaneously presses both the accelerator and brake pedals. The base Matrix has a 132-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, and returns 32 miles per gallon on the highway, while the 158-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder in the Matrix S 29 miles per gallon on the highway. All models include power windows, power door locks, heated power exterior mirrors, and a tilt/telescopic steering wheel. The standard auto system is an AM/FM/CD unit that features four speakers, MP3/WMA playback capability, and an auxiliary audio input jack. The Matrix S comes with 17-inch wheels, front fog lamps, silver interior trim, a 115-volt AC outlet, remote keyless entry, and a six-speaker stereo.
The base 2011 Toyota Matrix can be equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission and the Sport package, which adds front fog lights, and front and rear spoilers. The Matrix S can be had with all-wheel drive, and an enhanced Sport Package (rear roof spoiler and unique 17-inch alloy wheels). Also available is the Premium Package, which includes Bluetooth wireless connectivity, Bluetooth streaming audio, a power sunroof, iPod and USB connector, and satellite radio.
Standard on the 2011 Toyota Matrix is a 1.8-liter, 132-horsepower, four-cylinder engine, which is available with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. The Matrix S has 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.
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), 25/32 (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)
By DC on Wednesday, February 18, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 178,045overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Well made, fun to drive, easy to handle"
Cons: "Ruff ride at times"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have been driving Toyotas for over 20years. Have had 4 4Runners and one Matrix and the Matrix was like having a miniature 4Runner.Great handling car in all weather and esp. in the snow with just front wheel drive! I will probably drive this car till the wheels fall off. Nothing compares to the size and weight this automobile has. Great reliability!"
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By A on Wednesday, November 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 116,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "reliable, rear folding seats, cargo space"
Cons: "wind and cabin noise, blind spots,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I like the style of this car inside and out. Looks pretty nice for a Toyota. I have had this car for 2 years and haven't had to do anything except take it in for regular oil change/maintenance. I love the amount of space you get with the rear seats folded flat. The 1.8 L is good on gas but not as good as I expected it to be. It really sucks gas in the winter. The acceleration is acceptable for the size of the car but it is no race car. Not really fun to drive but it gets you from point A to point B. I don't find the seats very comfortable especially on long trips. There is a lot of wind engine tire and cabin noise especially at freeway speeds. There are a couple of blind spots with the rear pillars but you can get around this by adjusting your rear view mirrors. The brakes seem to wear out quickly. This car has a great resale value and costs very little to maintain. Great value for the money and I'm sure it will be good for many miles to come."
15 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By blue matrix on Friday, October 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 143,888overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Cons: "small , compact, no luxury, cover material is chea"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I let it go because I got to move. I love this car. It is very fast of accelleration, can run up to 110 not problems.... very smooth and durable."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Larry on Tuesday, September 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "no body rot, still shines good,good ride"
Cons: "gas milage could be better"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I would just like to say that the car has proved itself reliable so far. I thank God that I have not had to put any money into having it repaired. Originally the car came with, I think a 25,000 miles maintenance plan that has expired. Under it the oil was changed every 5000 miles. I have continued doing so. The car handles pretty well for a mini wagon. I had to put new tires on at about 32,000 miles. There was no abnormal or excessive wear when they were changed. I did believe the car was handling rather poorly in the snow previously. So the tires were changed sooner than later to accommodate for this. I guess the one thing that I wish was a little bit different was the amount of luggage the car holds when there are four people in it. It will only hold about two bags. I noticed this every time I am picking people up at the airport. I really do wish this was different and have considered installing a luggage rack but I am concerned about the wear and tear on the paint on the roof. Also I have a sunroof which I love and am not sure how that would work with it. I suppose another issue is that I felt that the new-car warrantee it came with could have been better. I had to buy an extended warranty to supplement it. Had I to do it again I would have tried to negotiate a better warranty if possible and I would've liked to have the option to continue with the maintenance plan till 50 or 75,000 miles. I can't afford to buy another new cars so I must rely on maintaining this car and pray it lasts a long time. Even though under the maintenance plan I had to pay for some replacement items like air filters and windshield wipers, the oil and filter was covered but what I liked about the plan was that they checked everything that was listed in the book as needing to be checked. I am not much of a mechanic so that was very helpful for me. Since they did charge though for replacement items I kind of felt like a captive audience and really didn't understand why they only did the maintenance plan for like 25,000 miles. They were getting paid if they found anything wrong and the work was kind of guaranteed them. I kind of felt it was a win-win situation. I guess anther thing I should mention is that this was the second matrix I had owned. The first one differed A little, like the rear window could be opened independently from the whole door. I really like this option and wish they had held onto that in the new version. It was very handy if you had to move something that was long. Now if I have something long I have to leave the whole door open which is kind of a pain with road dirt, dust and exhaust all getting in. Plus nothing is secured. It really did make things a lot easier. it too was a good car. When I bought the car I was surprised to find out that it did not come with floor mats! I couldn't imagine how they would not include this. Apparently the salesman agreed and threw them in at no cost. My feeling was they should have been included with the car automatically. I find it incredible that a company would sell any car without them. After all the money they charged me for the new car how very basic are floor mats? I guess the last thing that I would mention is the gas mileage, I think combined I get maybe 25 miles to the gallon. This I thought I would have done better on but I guess not. I really don't know what they will have to do to finally give us a car that does a lot better on gas mileage than this. I don't know if any of this helps but good luck in your endeavors."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By steveo on Wednesday, August 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
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."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Fairladyz on Friday, August 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
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."
4 people out of 9 found this review helpful