The Toyota Matrix is basically just a hatchback version of Toyota's best selling and long running Corolla saloon. Currently produced in Toyota's plant in Canada, the Matrix is distributed in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Now in its second series, the latest version of the Toyota Matrix made its debut in early 2008. The Toyota Matrix Hatchback SUV comes with two sizes of engine. The Matrix L is fitted with a1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual gearbox as standard. It delivers 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission is optional. The Matrix S gets a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that bumps power up to 158 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual is also standard with this engine, but a five-speed automatic is optional. All-wheel drive is another thoughtful feature available on the S trim.
Front suspension in the Toyota Matrix is similar to the Corolla is based around a compact, rigid L-arm-type strut with a stabilizer bar while the rear suspension uses a torsion beam to allow for solid handling and superior comfort. It should also be noted that the Toyota Matrix Hatchback is built on a four-wheel independent suspension, so bumps felt by one tire are not transferred to others. This allows passengers in front and back to enjoy the same smooth ride.
Physically the resemblance to the Corona is there for all to see, with the main cosmetic difference being that the Matrix is unmistakably a five-door hatchback also, it is seven inches shorter, while being just a bit taller. There is more than enough room for three passengers in the rear 60/40 bench seat, although taller passengers may feel a bit cramped on longer drives. The Matrix does not disappoint in terms of cargo space as the trunk offers 19.8 cubic feet. If you need more space, you will be thrilled to learn that with the seats down in the back, you are awarded with 61.5 cubic feet.
In terms of safety, the Toyota Matrix Hatchback was rated "Good" in frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests when tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Drivers can look forward to antilock brakes, plenty of airbags, child seat anchors, tire pressure monitoring, emergency braking preparation, post collision safety system, electronic brakeforce distribution, stability and traction control, engine immobilizer, rear door safety locks, emergency braking assist and a whiplash protection system in front head restraints.