The Toyota Matrix is an affordable compact hatchback that can seat as many as five passengers as well as haul up to 61.5 cubic feet of cargo with the second row and front right seat folded flat.  The Toyota Matrix is notable for offering a comfortable and composed ride with plenty of interior room for all occupants, and it also features forward airbags, front side impact airbags and side curtain airbags that extend along the entire length of the passenger compartment to go with its standard electronic stability control and traction control.

The 2012 Toyota Matrix L (MSRP $18,845) represents the entry-level edition of the hatchback, and it comes with a list of equipment that consists of power windows and door locks, cruise control, 16-inch wheels, a CD player and heated mirrors.  Moving up to the Matrix S (MSRP $19,565) expands the features available with the vehicle to include a louder stereo, fog lights and nicer trim.  Options packages offered with the Matrix shows as the Sport package (aero-oriented body kit, fog lights, 17-inch wheels) as well as the S Premium package (sunroof, satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity).

The Toyota Matrix starts out with a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine under the hood that can be counted on to produce 132 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque.  Fuel mileage for this engine is rated at 26-mpg city and 32-mpg highway, and buyers can choose between either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.  The Matrix S benefits from the installation of a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder unit that delivers 158 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque and adds a five-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive to the options list.  Fuel economy for the larger engine checks in at 21-mpg city and 29-mpg highway in front-wheel drive trim.

Similar cars to the Toyota Matrix include the  Subaru Impreza, the Mazda3 and the Ford Focus.