2008 Toyota Matrix

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2008 Toyota Matrix Review

Note: This review was created when the 2008 Toyota Matrix was new.

The Matrix has a high resale value, as well as an innovative interior with good cargo capabilities. However, its engine is widely seen as underpowered and its gauges can be hard to read.

Pros & Cons

  • Versatile "fold-flat" seating allows for more cargo options
  • Power outlet for charging laptops and other electronics
  • Backed by Toyota's reputation for quality and reliability
  • Solid fuel economy for its class
  • Ho-hum, noisy engine loses power with more cargo and people
  • Instrument gauges difficult to read

Research & Ratings

Currently, the Toyota Matrix has a score of 8.2 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 31 pieces of research and data.




Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 5.7
Interior: 7.4
Safety: 8.5
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2008 Toyota Matrix Overview

In 2002 Toyota aimed to create a hatchback that had station wagon utility but the styling to appeal to a younger audience. To do that, they paired with General Motors and the result was the Toyota Matrix and its fraternal twin, the Pontiac Vibe. Now in its sixth model year, reviewers generally say the 2008 Toyota Matrix fits the bill for style and utility. Now, many car companies offer vehicles that blur the lines of wagon, SUV and minivan, and the 2008 Matrix's practical performance and versatile style have lost their novelty. For 2009, the Matrix has been redesigned, with more trims, a more intuitive cabin and boosted engine power.

The 2008 Matrix is available as a base model or the sportier XR. If you're interested in a compact wagon with more trim options, consider the Mazda5.

  • "Toyota Matrix is a sporty wagon that offers utility and style at an affordable price." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Toyota Matrix isn't an SUV, a wagon, or a minivan. It"s all three: a role player that plays pickle between the highly configurable Chrysler PT Cruiser and the high-output Subaru WRX. The Matrix is therefore, in many ways, the automotive equivalent of a Swiss Army knife." -- Motor Trend
  • "I'm not ready to consign the Matrix to the Land of Misfit Cars, but I'd be inclined to wait for Toyota to improve on the first draft." -- U.S. News
  • "Clever, convenient, oddly styled and lacking power where it counts." -- USA Today

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