NEW FOR 2008:

No changes from 2007

For 2008, the Toyota Matrix "tall wagon" undergoes no changes from the previous year. Prices are also unchanged. A new Matrix is expected for the 2009 model year sometime in 2008.

The Matrix uses a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic. Two trim lines are offered, the Base and XR, both in front-wheel drive only.

Features on the Base model include 16-inch steel wheels, CD stereo with four speakers, 60/40 folding rear seat, tonneau cover, tilt column, cargo lamp, floor mats, digital clock, manual remote mirrors, flip-up rear hatch glass, fixed intermittent wipers, and intermittent rear wiper/washer.

The XR adds 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, power locks with keyless entry, power windows, leather-wrapped wheel, illuminated entry, cruise control, map lights, power mirrors, side skirts, and variable intermittent wipers.

Option packages are available. The Base model can be equipped with a package that includes air conditioning, alloy wheels and power locks, and a TRD Edition including 17-inch alloy wheels, premium stereo, spoiler and painted front brake calipers. The XR can be upgraded with a "B" Package of 17-inch alloy wheels, antilock brakes, power sunroof and fog lamps.

Based on the Toyota Corolla, and built in Ontario, the Matrix is a sister car to the California-built Pontiac Vibe. It’s starting to show its age, with antilock brakes available only as extra-charge on the XR model, and front driver and passenger airbags only, but it’s still an extremely useful and versatile hauler, with loads of storage space, lots of headroom, a roomy interior for its size and good build quality.

Its cargo capability is enhanced with a hard plastic floor, and clever movable cleats that can be positioned on tracks for tying down items anywhere along the floor or the folded rear seats. Shop it against other tall wagons such as the Suzuki SX4, Chrysler PT Cruiser and Chevrolet HHR, as well as the Vibe.

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