The 2003 Toyota Matrix, introduced in February 2002, was a crossover utility vehicle (CUV) that combined the style and fun of a sports coupe with the room and utility of a small SUV for the price of a compact sedan.
Toyota designed the Matrix at its Calty Design Studio in Newport Beach, Calif. Designers call the theme ’street performance utility.’ Unique ’edge-web’ detailing blended sharply creased surfaces with rounded web-like contours to create strong, flowing character lines. The three-window side profile gave the Matrix driver excellent outward visibility. The interior was as sporty as the exterior, with Optitron gauges set in cylindrical, chrome-rimmed instrument housings.
There were three model grades – standard, XR and XRS. A front spoiler with integrated fog lamps, rear underbody spoiler, side rocker panels, and 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels gave the XRS an even bolder street performance look to go with its high-power muscle.
Both the standard Matrix and the Matrix XR were powered by a 130-horsepower 1.8-liter engine and came in front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive (4WD) configurations. The 4WD drive system added all-weather versatility, using a viscous coupling to send power to the rear wheels in response to slippage at the front wheels. The XRS was front-drive only. The standard Matrix and Matrix XR were powered by a double overhead-cam 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with VVT-i that produced 130 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 125 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,200 rpm.
The Matrix XRS provided a high-performance driving experience with its 1.8-liter, four-cylinder DOHC engine that came from the Celica GT-S, along with that model’s six-speed manual transmission. The engine produced 180 horsepower at 7,600 rpm and 130 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 6,800 rpm.
The 2004 Matrix carried over with minor enhancements. Two new exterior colors, Phantom Gray and Super Yellow were added, while Desert Sand is discontinued. The 115-volt and two 12-volt power outlets were discontinued on the base grade model. 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels with all-season tires became available and the XRS model is available only with a six-speed manual transmission.
For 2005, Matrix featured freshened front styling with a redesigned grille, bumper and fog lights, as well as new tail lamps. VSC became available on base and XR models with the automatic transmission. Various upgrades included an engine immobilizer system, a low tire pressure warning light (with the optional ABS), shift-linked door locks (4x2 automatic only) and optional curtain airbags. The base grade gained a height-adjustable driver’s seat, and a 6-disc in-dash CD changer was added to the XRS option list.
The Matrix remains unchanged for 2006 with the exception of an available JBL premium AM/FM stereo with in-dash 6-disc changer for XR models.
The Toyota Corolla Matrix, a crossover utility vehicle (CUV), uniquely combines the style and fun of a sporty coupe with the room and utility of a small SUV at the price of a compact sedan. Matrix models provide exemplary fuel efficiency, with EPA estimated mileage ratings as high as 30 MPG city and 36 MPG highway in the standard and XR models with the five-speed manual transmission.
The Matrix was first introduced as a 2003 model and received freshened styling and dynamic handling upgrades for 2005. Reflecting its appeal to younger buyers, the 2006 Matrix XR adds a JBL premium AM/FM stereo with in-dash 6-disc changer to the option list.
Matrix is available in three distinct model grades – Standard, XR with enhanced content and the unique XRS that provides a high-performance driving experience from its 170-horsepower engine and six-speed manual transmission. Both the Standard and XR models come in front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive (4WD) configurations. The high-performance XRS is front-drive only.
Toyota designed Matrix to appeal to younger buyers who enjoy customizing and personalizing their vehicles. At the same time, Matrix appeals to all types of buyers looking for a practical, yet fun-to-drive and easy-to-afford vehicle.
"Matrix has been very successful at reaching younger buyers because it provides such a compelling value in a spirited and uniquely styled package," said Jim Lentz, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager. "If you miss any one of those elements, you can miss this dynamic market."
Toyota designed the Matrix at Calty Design Research, its design studio in Newport Beach, Calif. "Edge-web" detailing blends sharply creased surfaces with rounded web-like contours to create strong, flowing character lines. The three-window profile gives the driver excellent outward visibility. Inside, Matrix presents a sporty environment, highlighted by an instrument panel featuring optitron gauges set in cylindrical, chrome-rimmed housings.
Buyers of all ages will appreciate the advanced safety features that Matrix makes available. The 4WD drive system available for the Matrix Standard and XR models adds all-weather versatility, using a viscous coupling to send power to the rear wheels in response to slippage at the front wheels.
Passive safety technology in the Matrix includes dual-stage deployment front airbags, pretensioners and force limiters for the front seatbelts and side-impact door beams. Front seat side airbags are optionally available for all model grades.
The Matrix XRS comes standard with an anti-lock brake system (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), which can be added to the other models as an option. When equipped with the optional automatic transmission, the Matrix Standard and XR grade models offer an optional Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system. The VSC system helps maintain direction during cornering by manipulating engine torque and individual wheel-braking influence when it detects tire slippage.
The VSC option includes a traction control function that helps reduce tire slippage during acceleration. Brake Assist, also included, is designed to determine if the driver is attempting emergency braking and, if the driver has not stepped firmly enough on the brake pedal to engage the anti-lock brake system (ABS), Brake Assist supplements the applied braking power until pedal pressure is released.
All Matrix models feature a tire pressure monitoring system with a dashboard monitor light. For security, all models also feature an anti-theft engine immobilizer. The rear seat is equipped with three top-tether child restraint system attachment points and the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) uniform child restraint anchorage system. Models with power door locks (standard on XR) and the automatic transmission feature a shift-linked system that locks the doors automatically when the shift handle is placed into "Drive" and the car is driven a short distance. The system unlocks the doors when the shifter is placed in "Park" and the ignition is switched off.
Versatility and Room Without Bulk
The Matrix provides the versatility of a small SUV, including ample room for five passengers and high seating points that provide easy access and a command view of the road. The XR and XRS grades add a driver’s seat height adjustment. The rear seat provides a generous 36.3 inches of legroom, which is on par with many midsize cars.
For cargo carrying, Matrix provides 21.8 cubic feet of room behind the rear seat, which expands to a maximum of 53.2 cubic feet with the standard 60/40 split rear seatbacks folded down. The high roofline of the Matrix makes it easy to carry bulky items, such as outdoor gear or large electronics. The load floor is perfectly flat and has a durable, washable surface. Tie-down hooks and two cargo nets are standard equipment, and customers can outfit Matrix with available accessories, including a cargo mat, and even a pet screen. Toyota dealers offer an accessory roof rack and rear bumper step cover.
The front passenger seatback folds down, to either serve as a table for other passengers or enable the Matrix to carry long objects. Adding to the versatility, the rear glass hatch can open separately using a dash-mounted release or the keyless entry remote control on models so equipped.
Matrix Standard and XR models are powered by a dual overhead-cam (DOHC) 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 126 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 122 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,200 RPM (118 horsepower/115 lb.-ft. of torque in 4WD models). Toyota’s advanced Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) optimizes power delivery throughout the engine speed range. The engine produces at least 90-percent of its peak torque from just 2,000 RPM to the 6,000 RPM redline, giving the Matrix especially good low- and mid-range response.
A four-speed electronic automatic transmission is available on the standard and XR models and equipped on all 4WD drive models. So equipped, the front-wheel drive Matrix models have excellent EPA city/highway estimated mileage ratings of 28/34 MPG (26/31 MPG for 4WD models).
The Matrix XRS provides a driving experience more in line with sport coupes than utility vehicles. Its 1.8-liter, four-cylinder DOHC engine produces 164 horsepower* at 7,600 RPM and 125 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,400 RPM. The Variable Valve Timing and Lift with intelligence (VVTL-i) system boosts power by increasing the intake/exhaust valve lift from 6,000 RPM to the redline at 7,800 RPM. This engine is teamed exclusively to a crisp-shifting six-speed manual transmission. Sport-tuned suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and available 215/50R-17 tires support the high-performance potential of the Matrix XRS.
A front spoiler with integrated fog lamps, rear underbody spoiler, side rocker panels, and 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels give the XRS an even bolder street performance look to go with its high-power muscle. Both XR and XRS grades offer 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels. The standard Matrix rolls on 205/55R-16 tires.
Toyota Value and Peace of Mind
Because it is based on the Corolla, Matrix gives the customer the peace of mind of driving one of the world’s most reliable and durable vehicles. Cutting edge in form and style, Matrix is also aimed at keeping with the Toyota tradition of value and low cost of ownership. All buyers will appreciate the generous standard equipment that includes air conditioning with air filter, an AM/FM/CD sound system with four speakers, power mirrors, tilt steering wheel, intermittent wipers, a tachometer and a digital clock. Matrix even features a standard digital outside temperature gauge, a feature generally seen on more expensive vehicles. The XR grade adds power windows and door locks, a sport steering wheel, remote keyless entry, height-adjustable driver’s seat, variable intermittent wipers and a rear wiper. The Standard model can be optionally equipped with many features from the XR grade, individually or in packages, so customers don’t need to step up to a higher grade to get more features. The XRS grade features standard fog lamps and cruise control.