put down a deposit on new AWD Toyota Matrix

Pipersville_CarolJune 28, 2005

I bit the bullet last night and spent almost 20k on a new car. I'm a real cheapskate, so this decision has been difficult. The goal was finding a reliable 4x4 that got good gas mileage, to replace my '95 Honda Accord (with 145k miles on it). It's still running strong, but I've got a new job with a hilly back-road commute and wanted AWD for the winter.

I test drove:

Honda CRV (new and used)

Honda Element

Toyota RAV4 (new and used)

Toyota Matrix

Mitsubishi Outlander

Lexus RX300 (used)

The Lexus was fabulous, but I worried about fuel economy. I decided to go with a brand new car rather than used to get side curtain airbags. The Matrix won because it got the best MPG, cost about $4000 than the other cars, and my husband thought it was more comfortable than the Rav.

I got it (loaded) for $500 over invoice, and they gave me $2000 for the Honda trade-in. Seemed like a pretty good deal to me.

Wish me luck, I pick it up tomorrow!

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nice car! my neighbor has one in 2 wheel drive, he has the pontiac version the vibe. but its the same car. he has had it a yr now and been very happy with it.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 6:25PM
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I've had my Matrix XR 5 speed for 3.5 years now and it's been virtually trouble free!Not a whole lot of torque,but these engines are screamers that love to rev.I got 34 mpg on my last fillup.Good luck and enjoy your new ride!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 8:59AM
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Thanks! I did give the torque/engine power issue some careful thought, but the great mpg makes it all worthwhile. I'm sure it'll have plenty of oomph for me. I saw one on the highway this morning going really fast... it looked cool. I think I'm going to call mine The Batmobile.

It's silly, but I'm a little bit sad about giving up my old Honda. It's been a good car.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 10:24AM
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Congratulations, Carol! It's always exciting to get a new car!

One suggestion if you really are concerned about your winter commute: snow tires. I'm sure your Matrix came with all-seasons on it, but talk to people who've used radial snows and they won't go back. There are some all-seasons out there which are surprisingly decent on snow; I have no idea what the Matrix comes with. I realize you just put 20 large on a car, but for another $500-600, your 4WD can be absolutely sure-footed. And wasn't that the point?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 10:53AM
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I picked the car up last night, and so far I love it. It looks HUGE in our garage, almost like a small van rather than a car. The seating position is high, too, which I like. Lots of fancy bells and whistles.

Steve, the snow tires are an interesting idea, I didn't realize they still made them. I remember my father changing over to snow tires each winter when I was a kid.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 11:29AM
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Oh, they still make snow tires. Some are the "old-school" type, but more modern snows are designed to be quieter, better-performing on dry pavement, and capable of high-speed travel (within the realm of reason, that is).

I use 'em partly because they let me keep my nice alloy wheels out of the road salt and sand (the snow tires are mounted on the steel wheels the car came with) and partly because they're the right tool for the job in a place in which it can freeze six months out of the year. Frankly, it amazes me that people won't blink an eye when spending more than a grand on a snowblower -- because they live in the snow belt -- but they won't spend a grand or so on tires that optimize winter traction and quite likely can help them avoid an accident.

I understand that swapping snows can be a pain; there are some good all-seasons out there. The ones that are best for snow have a snowflake symbol on the sidewall. I can highly recommend Nokian's all-season tires; they are, in fact, one of the few all-seasons that qualify for the worst snow service.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 11:00PM
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Steve_o, I wasn't aware that anything like that existed. I've heard many good things about Nokian tires, but thought they were strictly snows. Do you have any model names? Are they crazy expensive? I wanted snows as an early Christmas present:)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2005 at 12:16PM
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I've been using Nokian Haakapeliita Q ice and snow tires on my last two Jettas. Nokian has other models better adapted to deep, unplowed snow (which I see only rarely) as well as "summer" tires which are not snow-rated. They also have their WR all-season tire, which is one of the very few that meets the severe-snow service rating I mentioned above. If you Google "Nokian WR" and look at the ratings, you'll find most people like them for their performance as snow tires when it's carppy out and for their dry-road performance as well.

My Qs were about $105 each, on the wheel. They've lasted three seasons and could have lasted through most of a fourth, but you know what it's like to find snow tires in February ...

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 10:56PM
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Thank you very much!!! Val

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 7:59AM
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Just keep it in mind that the more aggressive tread pattern of a full on snow tire will cost a car in fuel economy.Maybe only a couple of miles per gallon ,but with the 4wd Matrix and I'm guessing an auto transmission fuel economy average will most likely be less than 30mpg to begin with.I'd take them off in the spring for the stock rubber if you decide to go that route.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 10:59AM
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The sticker said 26 city/31 highway, which makes me happy considering it's AWD. I'm hoping to average just under 30 mpg on my commute after the break-in period.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 4:15PM
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Pipersville, now that you have gone thru a winter with your AWD Matrix, how do you like it? We just ordered one.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 12:23PM
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