Alternative to Toyota Matrix

I am considering buying a hatchback to replace a beat-up VW Beetle and I really like the Matrix, which,however, is now out of production.
Newish (2010 and onward) Matrixes are really rare where I live (NorCal) and I am open to other hatchbacks (used or new) comparable to the Matrix. I am looking for a reliable car with some trunk space (to hold a Bob stroller).
Can you recommend models comparable to the now defunct Matrix? I can think of: Fit, Mazda 3 Hatch, Impreza, Focus, Fiesta.

Pick up a Consumer Reports New Car Preview at your local bookstore. That’ll show you all the options available and provide good comprehensive comparative data. From that you can “tab” the ones that look interesting to you and set aside some weekends for test drives.

Everybody’s likes and dislikes are different, and every one of us is biased whether we like to admit it or not. You yourself can do a better job picking your perfect next vehicle than we can.

Happy hunting.

You might also look at a Mazda CX-5 Sport. Even though it is a small SUV, it gets great gas mileage with the 4-cylinder. My daughter bought one in June and is very satisfied with it. Her fiancé likes it better than his Mercedes Benz C250.

The Pontiac Vibe is the Matrix assembled by now deleted Pontiac.

Speaking of small CUV’s, the Mazda CX-3 is coming out too. Honda has the HR-V. The Honda Fit might be smaller than the Matrix, but still good. Scion has funky looking Hatches, not sure of the models (xA, xB?).

If budget allows, the Prius might be a good buy now, they are being deeply discounted since gas is cheap (& everybody is buying an F-150!)


If you like comfort, I recommend against the Mazda 3

It is tuned for a harsh ride, not comfort. It is low to the ground and has relatively low profile tires

With my bad back, I could not tolerate much time driving that infernal creation

The Focus is similar, as they used to be built on the same platform. However, build quality is lower, versus the Mazda

As far as the Impreza goes . . . do you really need all wheel drive?

Fiesta seems a little small, in my opinion

As some of the other regulars would suggest, spend some time driving those cars you mentioned. Rent different cars for some long weekends. check out the comfort, or lack thereof. And check out the cargo space

I would go with either the Mazda 3 or the Focus.

We have a Hyundai Elantra touring which has been a great car. We can fit Two toddlers and two big dogs with all gear in the thing and get 32 mpg

@db4690 how many posts on here about the harsh ride of the Fit?
The 3 I test drove awhile back felt comfortable to drive, but that’s been…wow… 5 years ago, now.
As far as AWD goes, if the OP is buying new, I’d recommend AWD; great for winter driving. If used, I’d be leery about it, and would walk away if there were mismatched tires on the car.


My brother has a 2011 Mazda 3 . . . and it’s got a bone jarring ride

If you don’t already have a bad back like I do . . . you WILL after driving that car

By the way, my brother’s car is bone stock. No modifications whatsoever. Stock tire size, stock rims, it’s not lowered. Nothing. The ride just plain sucks. But it’s an S model, if that makes any difference

I didn’t comment on the Fit, because I have no experience with it

If you are open to a hybrid design, the Prius is a hatchback I think. Of the cars you mention, just based on what they look like as I see them on the road, I’d lean toward the Fit or the M3. Me, if I were in your situation, I think I’d be on the lookout for a used Matrix or Pontiac Vibe, which are basically the same car. The only downside to the Vibe is that Toyota dealerships may refuse to sell parts for it, or service it. So if you are presented with a a Vibe deal hard to refuse, check on that before buying if dealership service and parts availability is something you value.

The “problem” with the Prius is that it has traditionally had very high resale value

I’m not sure if that’s the case, with the current low fuel prices

I put problem in parentheses because it’s relative. If you’re selling a Prius, it’s a good thing. If you’re buying a Prius, not so good.

Thank you all for your input. Indeed, the Prius is on our list, but the 2015 model has that funky bridge in the front seat that my wife put a veto on. So, we are waiting for the Prius 2016 prices (prob ~25k minimum) and looking at leather seats, with a kid on the horizon. We test drove today the Mazda 3 with leather seats: nice spacious car, though the leather seats come only with the most expensive trim;oh, and we don’t really care about ‘performance’ or zippiness (we already own a Prius :D).
All in all, the M3 is ~24k and for that money we can get a Prius with leather seats.
Any experience with the Impreza hatch?

For that price range you can get a Toyota Rav4 or Camry. More space and still good gas mileage.

Funky bridge in the front seat. What does that mean ?

@“VOLVO V70” I am referring to this:
The console that sits between the driver and the passenger seats.
@Marnet Good point on the Rav; the Camry’s trunk volume is a no go (though we haven’t test driven it yet)

@mondello20. Regarding trunk cargo room in the Camry or any sedan, they have far more cargo space than the numbers look like. What matters is how much vertical space you need in the cargo area for the items you regularly haul. At 15 cubic feet, the Camry trunk actually has more horizontal space (square feet) than the Rav4 or comparable compact SUVs or even many midsize Suvs. If you carry tall items that need room to stick up higher than the top of back seats and/or access to the load floor without the lip of a sedan trunk, then a hatchback or SUv configuration makes sense. But I easily load more stuff in my 15 cubic foot trunk with empty room to spare than I see other people loading in the cargo area of even midsize SUVs. I just can’t take the lawnmower in for service without removeing the handle and cannot begin to load the snowblower in the trunk. So a sedan trunk is roomy for groceries and flatter type cargo but hathbacks and SUVs will accomodate taller items. It is less about total cubic cargo capacity than about the shape of your typical cargo.

I will add that most sedans have fold down back seats to accomodate long cargo items. I have already done that twice in the camry without problem. But again, what suits your needs will depend on the shape, height and bulk of your typical cargo and how important it is to be able to slide items in and out the back versus lift them in and out of a trunk.

Most cars have consoles (bridge ? ) What with cup holders and storage and some have outlets for cell phone chargers I don’t see that as a problem.

Kia Soul, you know you can usually have high quality leather seats made less expensively
than you can upgrade to the model that comes with them.

i would go with the Fit