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2012 Toyota Matrix

Overview
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2012 Toyota Matrix Review

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The 2012 Toyota Matrix puts a twist on the compact car formula, combining a wagon-like design with a tall seating position, available all-wheel drive (AWD) - front-wheel drive is the standard setup – and a peppy yet fuel-efficient engine. Slotting between a compact hatchback and a small crossover SUV, the 2012 Matrix hatchback offers a big dose of sporty styling and outstanding ride and handling. However, due to its lack of high-tech audio and infotainment options, the Matrix may still fall short of newer hatchbacks, such as the Ford Focus and Kia Rio5. Then again, few cars have the reliability and resale value of a Toyota, and the Matrix can be expected to hold up its end of that Toyota reputation.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you think you can't have an inexpensive, frugal and reliable car with the security of AWD, the 2012 Matrix proves otherwise.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a hatchback that has the power and moves to live up to its sporty styling, the 2012 Toyota Matrix hatchback isn't as promising as a VW GTI, Mazda3 or Ford Focus.

What's New for 2012

After a thorough refresh last year, the 2012 Toyota Matrix hatchback has no significant changes.

Driving the Matrix

Driving Impressions The 2012 Toyota Matrix and Matrix S use the same, tightly-tuned suspension to deliver direct handling and a fairly comfortable ride. The Matrix's electric-assisted power steering isn't as precise-feeling as...

a traditional hydraulic unit, but it does help the engine conserve power and improve fuel economy. The 132-horsepower engine on the base Matrix hatchback 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. We like the all-wheel-drive option for those who have to deal with snow on a regular basis but, as the system activates only when sensing wheel slippage, we think it doesn't do much to improve the car's overall handling. If you live someplace that is always sunny and warm, the AWD option probably isn't worth the extra cost or added 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 2012 Toyota Matrix hatchback and its flat cargo floor can hold a bunch of camping gear, back-to-college supplies or boxes and books for moving day.

2012 Toyota Matrix Details
Interior

The Toyota Matrix's interior is a combination of utility and fun. On the utility side, the 2012 Matrix S features a flat-folding front seat for increased cargo space, while both trims include built-in rubber rub strips on the cargo floor and rear seatbacks. When the vehicle is parked, the forward-folding front-passenger seatback can be used as, among other things, a desk for a computer. Although not cramped, the Matrix hatchback offers front and rear-seat legroom slightly smaller than the segment leaders, the rear seat being the biggest offender. The Matrix's front seats place their occupants up high, giving the feeling of driving a small SUV. Among the more thoughtful interior features is the Matrix S model's 115-volt outlet that allows an ordinary household device to operate without the need for a 12-volt AC converter.

Exterior

While the EPA may consider the Toyota Matrix to be a small wagon, we think its racy exterior and aggressive wheels say different. This sporty hatchback features a sharply-angled nose, a swept-back beltline and black-out treatment around the rear D-pillar's wraparound glass. Every Matrix includes color-keyed, heated side mirrors, a rear-window wiper and daytime running lights, and the Matrix's design elements make it one of the more youthful Toyota offerings, even outshining some Scion products. On the 2012 Toyota Matrix S trim, the sporty attitude is taken a step further with an underbody front spoiler, blacked-out rear diffuser, 17-inch alloy wheels and a rear roof spoiler.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Toyota Matrix comes in two trim levels: Matrix and Matrix S. Both have Toyota's very comprehensive Star Safety System, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (which in turn includes Traction Control, Anti-lock Brakes, Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist) and Smart Stop Technology, 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 4-cylinder engine, while the Matrix S has a 158-horsepower, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. All models include power windows, power door locks, heated power exterior mirrors and a tilt/telescopic steering wheel. The standard audio 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 foglights, silver interior trim, a 115-volt AC outlet, remote keyless entry and a 6-speaker stereo.

Optional Equipment

The base 2012 Toyota Matrix hatchback can be equipped with a 4-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 SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

Under the Hood

Standard on the 2012 Toyota Matrix is a 1.8-liter 132-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, which is available with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. The Matrix S has a 2.4-liter 158-horsepower 4-cylinder engine with either a 5-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission. The 2.4-liter engine employs variable timing on both exhaust and intake valves to optimize responsive acceleration and good fuel economy.

1.8-liter in-line-4
132 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
128 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/32 (manual), 26/32 (automatic)

2.4-liter in-line-4
158 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
162 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 (manual), 21/29 (5-speed automatic), 20/26 (4-speed automatic, AWD)

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

Buying this car?

2012 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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