The 2011 Toyota Matrix is a practical and reliable hatchback that has good fuel economy with its base engine and a comfortable rear seating area. Despite its practicality, few reviewers single it out as a favorite. Hatchback competitors such as the 2011 Honda Fit (Base MSRP: $15,100 to $16,860), 2011 Mazda3 (Base MSRP: $15,800 to $23,010) and 2011 Volkswagen Golf (Base MSRP: $17,995 to $19,755) are preferred by experts for their superior driving dynamics and nice interiors.
For 2011, Toyota has nixed the most expensive trim, the XRS, which offered a sportier suspension tuning and other features. A few more options are now standard on the remaining Matrix trim levels. Otherwise, the Matrix is essentially the same as the 2009 model. See our full report on the 2009 Toyota Matrix (*Est. $16,290 to $21,950) for more detailed information.
Fuel economy is good for the base engine but less impressive with the larger, optional engine. The base 1.8-liter four-cylinder gets an EPA-estimated 26 mpg city/32 mpg highway/29 mpg combined with the five-speed manual and does one mile per gallon worse in the city and in combined driving with the four-speed automatic transmission. The larger 2.4-liter four-cylinder delivers a less impressive EPA-estimated 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway/24 mpg combined with a five-speed automatic. When mated to the five-speed manual, the larger engine delivers one fewer mile per gallon on the highway but gets the same city and combined ratings. Finally, the 2.4-liter engine is available with all-wheel drive and gets a disappointing estimated 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined with the only available transmission for the all-wheel drive configuration, the four-speed automatic.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has tested the 2011 Toyota Matrix, and it does not perform as well as many other economy cars. While the Matrix is given the highest rating of Good for front- and side-impact protection, it is given the lower Acceptable rating for rear-impact occupant protection. Roof strength has not been tested by the IIHS. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has only rated the 2011 Toyota Matrix for rollover resistance as of this writing and gives the Matrix a 4-star rating out of 5 on that measure.
Standard safety equipment includes traction control, stability control, antilock brakes, active front head restraints, side airbags and side curtain airbags.
Base MSRP for the base 2011 Matrix is $18,545. The Matrix S with the larger engine starts at $19,265.
Edmunds.com sees the Toyota Matrix as a practical and pleasant four-door hatchback. The low fuel economy for the optional 2.4-liter engine is disappointing, though, and the styling seems bland relative to the competition, editors say.
Review: 2011 Toyota Matrix, Editors of Edmunds.com
ConsumerReports.org gives the Toyota Matrix a comprehensive overview. The publication reports on reliability, owner satisfaction and predicted depreciation.
Review: New Cars: Small Cars, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
3. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The 2011 Toyota Matrix does relatively well in IIHS crash tests, but many other economy cars perform better. The Matrix has the highest rating of Good for front- and side-impact occupant protection, but it only gets the lower Acceptable rating for rear-impact protection.
Review: Small Cars, Editors of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The Environmental Protection Agency rates nearly every new car sold in the U.S. The 2011 Toyota Matrix has a good EPA fuel-efficiency rating of 28 to 29 mpg in mixed driving with the base engine. The larger engine gets a lower 24 mpg mixed rating in the front-wheel drive configuration and a woefully low 22 mpg in mixed driving when equipped with the optional all-wheel drive.
Review: 2011 Toyota Matrix, Editors of FuelEconomy.gov
Many links to expert sources can be found in our report on the 2009 Toyota Matrix, which is essentially the same vehicle as the 2011 model. See what expert reviewers have to say about the driving experience, interior accommodations, performance and more.
Review: 2009 Toyota Matrix, Editors of ConsumerSearch.com, March 2009