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You'll Like The 2010 Toyota Matrix If...

Performance-oriented drivers will enjoy the 2010 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 The 2010 Toyota Matrix 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 2010, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC) are now standard on all trims.

Interior Features

Despite its sporty exterior, the 2010 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, last year’s restyling did 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 Features

The original Toyota Matrix reminded some of a miniature minivan or station wagon, which turned off a number of potential buyers. The latest iteration is slightly longer and wider, and Toyota stylists have eliminated the third side window. This styling change significantly expands the C-pillar and wraps the back glass around the sides, delivering 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.

Driving Impressions

Each trim level of the 2010 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.

Pricing Notes

The 2010 Toyota Matrix Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts at just over $17,000 when equipped with a five-speed manual. Opting for the S trim with AWD brings the price closer to $21,500, while a fully-loaded XRS with navigation and moonroof tops out just over $25,000. To find out what smart buyers are really paying for this vehicle in your area, check the Fair Purchase Price before you begin negotiations. Previous Matrix models held their value extremely well, and the 2010 version should be no exception. Expect the Matrix to hold a resale value higher than the Chrysler PT Cruiser and Pontiac Vibe, about the same as the Mazda MAZDA3 and just below the Honda Civic.

Notable Equipment

The 2010 Toyota Matrix comes in three trim levels: Base, S and the sporty XRS. All have four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, traction and stability control 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.

Notable Options

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, although unfortunately you cannot get both together. 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.

Favorite Features

XRS TrimSport-tuned suspension, excellent steering feel, grippy 18-inch tires and a 158-horsepower engine turn the 2010 Toyota Matrix XRS into a terrific little car for the enthusiast driver on a budget. Generous Rear Cargo SpaceFold down the rear seats of the 2010 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.

Under the Hood

Standard on the 2010 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 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 4132 horsepower @ 6000 rpm128 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/32 (manual), 25/31 (automatic)2.4-liter in-line 4158 horsepower @ 6000 rpm162 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 (manual), 21/29 (5-speed automatic), 20/26 (4-speed automatic, AWD)

Editors' Notes

The 2010 Toyota Matrix offers a sporty, practical and reasonably priced alternative to either mundane sub-compact cars or bulky crossover SUVs. Released last year as an all-new model, the 2010 Matrix offers more appealing styling, an optional 158-horsepower 2.4-liter engine, crisp steering feel and precise handling. The performance-oriented XRS trim level has returned, as has optional all-wheel drive. As with the previous generation 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 new MAZDA3, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Honda Civic and the Matrix’ fraternal twins, the Toyota Corolla and the soon-to-be-disappearing Pontiac Vibe, which are all built in the same Canadian factory.

Road Test Video Reviews

2010 Toyota Matrix Owner Reviews

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2010 Toyota matrix, a great little hatchback!

2010 Toyota Matrix

My vehicle (Toyota matrix) is wonderful. I haven't had any problems with it other than a recall on one of my airbags, but the Toyota dealership immediately contacted me and fixed it for free. It gets wonderful gas mileage, and drives very smoothly. The seats are adjustable and very comfortable. I am a short person, so I love that the driver's seat can be raised higher. The only thing I do not love is that the columns between the windshield and driver/passenger windows are a bit wide, so I sometimes have to lean to one side to get a good look at a turn. But I have gotten used to that. It has a nice amount of room in the back seat for passengers. And the back seats fold down, which I love! That, combined with the hatchback make it so easy to transport almost anything! My husband and I have even camped out in the back when we couldn't find a hotel room on a trip . It's a great little car.

- Kayla H

My Matrix is a very comfortable, reliable and good looking car.

2010 Toyota Matrix Base

I feel the car has been very reliable accept, the compressor on the air conditioner just had to be replaced at $1500, which seemed bad to me. Other than that the car has been very reliable. I think the look of the car is very appealing. Even though it is a 9 year old car it is still stylish looking. The car's finish still looks brand new even though the car has never been kept in a garage. I think that it is a very good car. I will always buy a Toyota. The car also feels roomy and comfortable considering it is not a very big car, it feels big inside. I very much like that it is a hatchback, I find that very handy to have. Overall the Matrix has been a very good car!

- kim M

It's Got the Get Up and Go!

2010 Toyota Matrix XRS

It's an incredibly easy car to handle, both on the freeway with lane changes and back roads with curves and hills. Easy to park because of its size, and because of the hatch back, it fits a surprising amount of items. I've used it to move a few times, and it holds as much as some SUVs! The only issue that I am having is the paint top coat has started to turn white and the hood looks awful. I try and park it in places where others won't readily see the hood. I always try and be careful over speed bumps because it has high performance tires, but it's a small price to pay for how safe I feel driving it.

- Kari H

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