Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Jul 1, 2019

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Although U.S. News and World Report ranks the 2011 Toyota Matrix #5 on the list of affordable compact station wagons available on the market (out of 7).

Reviewers say that this low ranking isn’t cause to avoid it however and many auto critics are pleased with the Matrix’s excellent fuel economy. They say that its cargo space and interior are adequate, though not best-in-class.

Priced starting at $18,845 with a manual transmission and $19,685 with an automatic transmission, the Matrix is one of the best options in this category starting at less than $19,000.

The “Best Wagon for the Money” is the Hyundai Elantra Touring, U.S. News reports, but aside from it, the Matrix is the highest-rated budget option.

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All in all, the Toyota Matrix is a practical car in a class full of wagons like the Mini Clubman and the Nissan Juke that are both practical and stylish.

Its exterior design gets mixed reviews, and while U.S. News explains that the Toyota Matrix’s interior is perfectly serviceable, it’s not as comfortable or roomy as the cabins of competing wagons.

The 2011 Matrix offers up to 49.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity when it’s configured properly. This is plenty of space for most drivers, but it’s smaller than the Honda Fit’s 57.3 cubic foot cargo area or the Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen’s cavernous 66.9 cubic foot cargo space.

Reviewers’ main complaint about the Toyota Matrix involves its performance. Edmunds says that the Matrix is fine for daily commuting, but its base 1.8 liter 4-cylinder engine delivers “sluggish” acceleration.

The available sport trim delivers “ample” power, but Edmunds’ reviewer says that the reduction in gas mileage is just not worth it.

Car and Driver calls the Matrix’s handling “inoffensive,” but emphasizes that it won’t be a good fit for drivers who are looking for performance. The Jetta Sportwagen, the Mini Clubman, and the Nissan Juke all get better marks for power and handling.

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How much is auto insurance for the Toyota Matrix?

At $5,500 over five years, the estimated auto insurance premiums that the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) reports for the 2011 Toyota Matrix are high relative to other comparably-priced wagons on the market.

Compared to the Matrix, which is expected to cost about $92 per month to insure, estimated rates for Volkswagen’s Jetta Sportwagen are only $89 per month.

The average rates that the NADA predicts for Dodge Calibers are even lower, at approximately $86 per month. To insure the Nissan Juke, owners can expect to pay just $79 per month. Rates for Hyundai’s Elantra Touring are higher than the Matrix’s, though, at $97 monthly.

Repair Costs for a Toyota Matrix

The NADA reports that a Toyota Matrix should accumulate approximately $1,406 in repair costs over the first five years that you drive it. The Matrix’s warranty will cover most repairs during the first 36,000 miles or 36 months the vehicle is on the road.

The typical driver who puts 15,000 miles on his or her car each year will incur about $325 in repair costs during the third year of ownership, and over $500 in repair bills during each of the fourth and fifth years.

The NADA says that consumers who opt for the Dodge Caliber or the Hyundai Elantra Touring can expect to fork over about $1,500 for repair bills over five years, and those who purchase a Nissan Juke are likely to pay over $1,600 for repairs during the same time frame.

Expected repair bills for the Jetta SportWagen total $1,422, just a bit more than the Matrix’s repair bills.

It’s worth noting that the Predicted Reliability scores for the 2011 Matrix, as calculated by J.D. Power and Associates, are among the highest in the affordable compact wagon category.

The Matrix scored an 8.0 out of 10.0, a rating that’s second only to the Elantra’s score of 9.0. The Nissan Juke, Dodge Caliber, and Jetta SportWagen all earned scores of just 6.0.

Fuel Expenses for a Toyota Matrix

All of the vehicles categorized by U.S. News as “Affordable Compact Wagons” have reasonably strong fuel efficiency ratings. Even the Chevrolet HHR, which has the lowest city fuel economy in this category, gets 22 mpg, and the Elantra Touring’s 31 mpg is the lowest figure for highway driving.

The 2012 Mini Clubman unquestionably has the best fuel economy in this class, boasting 28/35 mpg. The Matrix gets 26/32 mpg, which makes it the third most fuel efficient compact wagon available.

Toyota Matrix Safety Ratings

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has only performed one crash test on the 2011 Toyota Matrix so far, a rollover test. The Matrix earned a 4-star rating, which is the second best one available.

The NHTSA reports that the vehicle has just a 13.6% probability of tipping over during sharp turns at high speeds. No other vehicles in this category have received such a high score for the 2011 model year, but not all compact wagons have been tested yet.

In crash testing conducted by the insurance industry, the Matrix earned top scores for its performance in side and front impact crashes, but only an average score in rear collision testing.

The Matrix has typical safety equipment like stability control, tire pressure monitoring, and an anti-lock braking system.

One feature that sets it apart from other affordable wagons is Toyota’s proprietary Smart Stop Technology. This system slows the vehicle down when the driver applies both the brake and the accelerator at the same time.

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