Elantra v. Matrix

I’m looking for a vehicle that has some ability to haul stuff like grain sacks or plywood. A dealer offered a great deal on a base model Hyundai Elantra Touring, but other people are saying go with Toyota Matrix because they believe Toyotas are more reliable and durable.

The Car Talk reviews on the Elantra are sparse. Any feedback from folks familiar with both cars? Also, if you were going with a small SUV, which one would you recommend?

My parents’ 92 Corolla was bought brand new and its transmission, which had been maintained religiously, failed at 110k. My Japanese built Scion required a power door lock and a harmonic balancer somewhere around 70-80k. The latter would have been covered by warranty were it built by Hyundai.

I am done with Toyota. If I am to buy a small wagon, I would add the Kia Forte to my list. The 2L engine gets higher mileage than the Hyundai

Plywood? I don’t think a 4x8 sheet will fit in either car.

I suggest you drive both and see which you prefer. Either will be reliable if you follow the maintenance schedule.

I don’t care for the styling on the new Matrix, but I like the Elantra Touring.

People who typically neglect their cars have gotten longer service from Toyota products in the past than from Hyundai products. Cars that were equally well taken care of tended to have similar issue crop up over their lifespans, making neither car more reliable, just they Hyundai cheaper to own over the long term.

Honestly, I would say to go with the car that you like more after extensive test drives of both cars, that are equipped with exactly the options you are planning on buying. Some complaints have been raised about people who test drove one model of a car, and then switched to a different model, and didn’t like the way that car drove after they signed the paper work.

One person with a Toyota Yaris comes to mind immediately on here, from the recent past.


Frankly I believe long reliable life of a car is 97% a result of proper maintenance and luck.

I like toyotas, have a 92 camry in the family stable right now, but I also very much dislike the stylig of the matrix. If you are talking new, I see no reason not to go hyundai. They have a longer warranty and offer unlimited miles roadside assistance for the first 5 years. IMHO, the hyundais built since about 2004 are just as reliable, maybe more reliable than their japanese counterparts.

That’s my two cents.

First off, you won’t fit a 4x8 sheet of plywood in either car. You will get significantly more material in the Elantra, though. The total interior volume (including passenger volume) of the Matrix is 114 cubic feet. The Elantra sports 129 cubic feet. In terms of pure cargo volume, the Elantra has 40% more than the Matrix.

Fuel economy is about identical between the two.

IMO, this is a no-brainer - the Elantra is the better choice. The Matrix is a poor excuse for a wagon, and the Elantra is the only game in town for new affordable compact wagons. If you could go used, a 2007 Focus wagon would have even a bit more volume than the Elantra, with nearly double the volume of the Matrix, but at a cost in passenger space. I believe its roof rack is more properly sized for plywood, so depending on its weight rating, you might be able to carry a sheet or two on top, properly secured.

Both are good technically, but I would get the Elantra. I rented a Matrix last summer on a holiday trip and found it to be noisy and cheaply finished; too much hard plastic.

The Elantra Touring is both better looking and better finished, but it has a timing BELT, whereas the small Toyotas now have timing chains…

Wow, I am surprised by the feedback, it’s so consistent. Elantra got good reviews in Edmunds but the people I know apparently are leery of Hyundai as a “newcomer” and are still relying on the Toyota brand reputation when giving me their advice. Sounds like Hyundai is a good company. As for the plywood hauling, I guess I’ll have to still depend on friends with pickup trucks occasionally. Buying a small SUV probably isn’t worth it in terms of purchase price and gas mileage.

Hyundai has been building cars since 1967. They have sold cars in the USA since 1990, and the Elantra has been available since 1992. Is that a newcomer? I don’t think so, but you might.

The difference between perception and reality is 10-15 years! For instance there are still a lot of Rip van Winkle types who believe Volvos and Mercedes are reliable cars! And Volkswagens are reliable economy cars! That was true once.

Hyundai sold its first cars in the 80s in the form of the Pony, a really bad car. But, like the Japanese, they put themsleves on an improvement track. Susequent cars got better and better, to where the Sonata was suveyed by J D Powers to be the most trouble-free car based on intial quality. That was 4 years ago!

So, you can trust an Elantra, and it has a better warranty than a Toyota. I almost bought an Elantra, but to get cruise control I had to buy $3000 worth of other stuff I did not need. That was in 2007. I bought a Toyota instead for that sole reason.

I don’t consider a Matrix as an SUV. It seems to be an awd, with option, Corolla wagon. It lacks the ground clearance and other features I would look for in a true SUV. It’s an Impreza wannabe and though I like many Toyotas in general, I find little use for the car. I recommend you consider a RAV/Escape/CRV upright, higher clearance car, which are minimal SUVs, and a utility trailer for bulky or “dirty” items. I went from a truck to that combination and I couldn’t be happier with the choice.

I have a 2007 Corolla and while it has been “fine.” I wouldn’t recommend it as there are better options out there. If you’re looking for value: try Hyundai. If you’re looking for more fun try a Civic or a Mazda3.

Avoid the Corolla.

Didja know that the new Hyundai Elantra gets 40mpg highway?

Well there you go! Hyundai’s Elantra is a good deal. Practical and reliable. Thank you!

To most people, Hyundai is still a newcomer… and that is a VERY good thing for Hyundai, because if people remembered what garbage they sold in the US back in the early-mid 90s, Hyundai wouldn’t be able to sell a thing in this country. :slight_smile:

Not the Elantra Touring, which is what the OP is looking at. The Elantra Touring is rated at no better than 23/31…

Only the new sedans are rated at 40 mpg.

"…if people remembered what garbage they sold in the US back in the early-mid 90s, Hyundai wouldn’t be able to sell a thing in this country.>

You might say that about Toyota and Honda, too. Just add a decade or two to the time frame.

Elantra hands down. They are impressive and Hyundai has come a long way.

I have a 2006 Matrix that I bought brand new in Sep '05 loved it from day one and still do. I don’t really like the styling on the current Matrix line. My '06 has been rock solid, I mean not one problem whatsoever in 5 yrs. plus and almost 50K miles. I don’t know where u live but mine has the AWD and with it I slap winter tires on it and it’s great here handling the Chicago winters.