Practical and reliable, the Matrix is a Corolla-based small wagon available with either front- or all-wheel drive.
Practicality reigns here, with very easy access, a roomy rear seat and a large and flat load floor, once the rear seats are folded.
Performance is modest from the standard 1.8-liter four-cylinder, which drones loudly under acceleration.
XRS models use a more powerful engine, but you need to use the six-speed manual transmission to rev the engine hard to wring out its power.
Handling is fairly nimble, and the ride is compliant if a little jittery.
The optional AWD system works well, but hurts acceleration and fuel economy.
Limited left foot room and a long reach to the steering wheel combine to hurt the driving position.
Stability control was a rare option through the years.