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2006 Toyota Matrix Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Extraordinarily reliable and inexpensive to operate by rcoe67



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I noticed there were no reviews later than 2012 and thought I'd add to what others are saying about the reliability of the Matrix. I bought mine new in November 2005 (2006 model) and am just passing 200K. Besides the normal wear items, brakes, wipers, oil, etc. I have not had to put a penny into this car. It still purrs like new and offers me nothing but surety that I'll arrive at my destination. I have zero rust and while I did have protection applied when new, I have not done anything to maintain the rust proofing in the last 8 years. I still get about 6.2 L/100km.

Reviewed: 2006 Toyota Matrix

4dr Hatch 126-horsepower 1.8L I4 5-speed manual FWD

2006 Toyota Matrix Love Letter

Defined the cross over look that all other manufacturers now use.


Only negative about the car is that it fails at the small overlap collision that IIHS instituted a few years ago. But other than Subaru, all cars of that era fail miserably. But with today's standards for safety, this is the only failing when comparing this car to the models out there. Given its market value, this car would be a fantastic bargain when buying used.

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Response from Member3236

4:45 pm October 18, 2015

I have the 2003 manual base at 140KMi bought new and agree with you. Beware of one major issue, the catalytic converter; I don't know if it affects your model year; it did for the 2003 and a TSB was sent out. It triggers the CEL code P0420, its well known. It began as an exhaust sulfur odor on new cars that eventually stops but reflects some issue with the way the ECM aka computer and the CC interacted; lucky cars failed before the emission warranty expired so the repair was free. If not, as mine did in 2014, its a $2000 replacement for OEM. If you get aftermarket, it may not be compatible and forums report non-Toyota dealer repairs lead to another failure in 1-2 years. The car will run fine otherwise, it will just fail emissions inspection. The car is very reliable, worth repairing the CC as the car is otherwise very sound; no rust, no rattles, runs like new, climate control has never been refilled, nothing done aside from routine maintenance, and the split rear hatch is a god send that is no longer made on Toyota's or most cars, I use it a lot, and thus cannot find a suitable upgrade with a similar feature. One minor annoyance are the poorly made plastic wheel covers, the OEM are $50 each, at 5 years they popped out literally almost at the same time. You can buy aftermarket or Walmart type for $20/4 but alas, the all also lose grip and have fallen off after a few years, but I zip tied them and they are now 100% secure, but a bit ugly when people notice it up close. Another minor annoyance but a free repair is the Takata airbag recall which takes 2+ hours to fix. All of my other repairs were quick while you wait including major maintenance items like the spark plugs and the timing belt, however the recall and CC repair require the car to be dropped off as it will take half a day to a whole day of time, including a lengthy diagnosis of the CEL code [ to insure other items in the emissions hasn't also failed, like the 02 sensors.]


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Response from Daduce

11:07 am November 15, 2015

Hi RCOE67 and Thank you for taking time to write your thoughts on your Matrix. I wrote and posted a similar 100% POSITIVE review for our '06 AWD model back in 2012, we're now at 103k miles and still are abvsolutely, 100% happy with our little car. I wonder why Toyota dumped the car from their line up last year. Perhaps it is because the Matrix is an inexpensive, 100% dependable and wonderful little car and the dealerships need cars for their maintenance staff that require their services - something they're NOT getting with the Matrix. In any event, it's a shame more people will not have a chance to experience the joys of ownership we Matrix owners enjoy. No, the Matrix is not a full on luxury sedan, but in the overall value, "bang for the buck" sand trouble free driving we enjoy - I doubt there's many others out there that will compare with these little Matrix.


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Response from Member3236

12:48 pm November 16, 2015

While the Matrix is reliable, its not been attractive to the market at large to sustain sales growth. The link is only Canadian, but it mirrors US sales trends too. The US stats merge Matrix and Corolla sales together. What you can see is sales decline began even redesign [2009] and even before Toyota announced it was discontinued [2012].


Compare the sister car, The Pontiac Vibe:


Finally compare against the Toyota Corolla which outsells the Matrix 2:1



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Response from Daduce

5:33 pm March 31, 2016

Thanks for your thoughts "member in pennsylvania". I can't say anything negative about the Corolla as it is apparently an extremely dependable and well liked car. The Matrix is only an exension model of the Corolla but for our needs the rear hauling area, AWD and ease of entry/exit were what sold us on the car. We weren;t looking to spend alot when we bought our Matrix and weren't knowlegable about the car, only that it was a Toyota, it was of a design we felt fit our needs and most importantly that it fit our new car budget. Since we've owned the little car we've come to appreciate the dependability and economy. Yes, even with changing the tires to a softer compound there is more road noise than in higher priced cars but we're still happy with this model. In our Pacific NW area near Seattle we see every day there are many, many, many of these Matrix on the road so the poor sales Toyota see must be based on other areas of the world, this is not the case in this area. In any event, it's too bad for others but the decision by Toyota is set in stone so as they say - it is what it is.


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