When Toyota launched the Matrix in 2002, the advertising emphasized its technology features, including navigation and an AC power outlet, rare features for a car in this price bracket at that time. Since then, other inexpensive cars, such as the Mitsubishi Lancer and Honda Civic Si, offer advanced tech options, but the 2009 Toyota Matrix keeps up with the pack, updating its technology to include Bluetooth cell phone integration.
The funky shape of the Matrix also heralded Toyota's signature funky brand, Scion. The Matrix retains the odd body style, along with all the practical interior space that body design affords. Our test car was the middle S trim model with all-wheel drive. The car is also available in a base model and XRS top trim model. The S trim is the only version that Toyota lets you combine with an all-wheel-drive system, which also forces the choice of the larger 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic.