With rising gas prices, we were looking for a new car that was AWD and had good gas mileage. We wanted to get a car that got high 20s and was AWD. The list was short, because safety was also a concern to us. We live in the northeast and work at a hospital, so we go to work rain sleet or snow and our commute is about 35 miles in the NYC metro area.
We test drove Subarus (their gas mileage was poor) We ended up purchasing a loaded Matrix
it cost us $19,400. We got a price first from Carsdirect and a dealer matched it.
We also have two large (150 pounds worth) hound dogs. We needed a car that was good for dogs. The Matrix is perfect, because the back is all plastic and the seats fold down into a flat area. The car is surprisingly spacious from how it looks on the outside. All the little tie downs are great too. We got the cargo net that acts like a little dog gate once the back door is open. The rear window opens which is also great for the dogs. My only complaint is that we couldnt get leather. The dark black fabric is horrible with pets.
I find the Matrixs engine sluggish for NYC traffic. I just keep telling myself it was a sacrifice for the 30mpg I am getting. It isnt too bad and I find for a small car the engine noise is not too loud.
We havent had to utilize them, but we got the car with all the airbags. The safety rating was a big reason we bought the car. The car handles terrific in all weather. The car is just great in rain, snow and ice. It is even pretty good in strong winds. Our other vehicle is a Toyota 4Runner LTD, and we still primarily opt to take the Matrix to save gas. In really bad weather though we have taken the 4Runner because if we ever got hit by another SUV
I would rather be in an SUV.
The interior styling is typical basic Toyota. My beef, all the displays light up with a cool to the eyes whitish blue
except for the clock which is green! It doesnt match any of the other electronics and it looks like it came from another car or was an aftermarket installation. To me.. screams cheap short cut.
Overall, after almost 30k miles, I still think this car is a great car for what it is.
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