Matrix vs jetta

We are looking at new cars and have narrowed it down to a diesel Jetta or an AWD Matrix. Listing advantages and disadvantages between the two has been a wash, so the deciding factor will be longevity. Any opinions?

I would vote they both will last quite a long time and equally so.

The Matrix will likely be less expensive in maintenance/repairs. However the VW Jetta TDI will cost you significantly less in fuel over the same period compared to an AWD Matrix.

Have you considered a 2010 Subaru? They get significantly better MPG than a Matrix and are not so tiny if AWD interests you.

Please Explain A Little About Your Narrowing The Field To These Two Dissimilar Models. How Is The Vehicle To Be Used? How Many Passengers? Is It For Commuting?

What is most important to you . . . longevity, reliability, cost to own and operate, comfort, space, MPG economy, resale, etcetera?

What appeals to you about these 2 cars?


Thanks for the rely, Andrew - We did look seriously at Suburus. I am 6’5", and the Impreza was a poor fit. It also had about the same MPG as the Matrix. We liked the Forester (and the Rav4), but we want to keep it around $20000.

Take a peek at the 2010 Outback(wagon) or Legacy(sedan). Despite their larger size they trump they achieve 22 MPG/29MPG(Outback) and 23/31MPG with the Legacy AWD.

However not sure on how they price the base models. With hard bargaining/incentives maybe $20k is possible but not sure how they are selling.

If the Jetta Diesel is used given your budget contraints I would vote for the Matrix.

Hello CSA - Well, let’s see - We live near Syracuse, so snow is a factor. My wife commutes (a teacher). All the above except maybe resale are important, but the tradeoffs are always there - Ex. you can’t get AWD with good gas mileage. Also, I am 6’5", and we want to keep cost to around $20,000. The first choice is whether or not we need AWD (or 4WD), and we are undecided. I figure AWD Matrix would cost about $600-$700 a year more in gas than a Jetta diesel, so a question is whether it is worth that to have AWD. We are not sure, so the tie breaker may be longevity and reliability. We were very comfortable in both cars - the Matrix is small but was very roomy for me. They both seem to handle fine. The VW might be a little more fun to drive.

Narrowing the field - we started off looking for AWD and good MPG in a reliable long-lasting car that I fit into, around $20,000. It has come down to the choice between AWD OR good MPG. I was not thrilled with the hybrids, so the diesel Jetta is the high MPG candidate.

Thanks. The 6’ 5" Height Explains A Lot. I Can See Where The Dissimilar Model Choice Kicks In.

You are sure to get a lot of dissimilar advice, here. There are some tall guys that monitor this site. Maybe they’ll weigh in and help.

Is your wife going to being driving this new car most of the time? Is it possible you would mainly be a passenger? What are you driving, now?


Get the Jetta and budget for snow tires on the least expensive aftermarket wheels (or standard steel wheels) you can find. The Jetta with 4 good snow tires will handle the snow just fine and you’ll have the mpg savings all year long. If you get the manual transmission you’ll avoid one area where older Jetta’s cost money, replacing the auto transmission.

I have long thought that, in principle, it would be great to have a Jetta TDI - but I’ve never thought seriously about getting one. VWs don’t all have problems, but many do. And when they do they tend to be somewhat complicated and expensive.

That alone is not such a big deal except that as far as I know the typical VW warranty is 3yr/36K - so I’m always just thinking that if VW has such low confidence in their vehicles, why should I have any confidence in them?

I don’t know what kind of warranty period you’re getting standard out of either of these cars but I’m sure the Matrix wins hands down on that count. In this day and age 3/36 is out of line.

I am open to being corrected on the facts.

We are driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee and are trading in a PT Cruiser (big mistake buying that). We will keep the Jeep as a second car and to pull a boat. She will be the primary driver, but I always drive when we are together. We might eventually replace the Jeep with a 6 cyl Rav4.

VW warranty is bumper to bumper 3yr/36k and 5yrs/60k powertrain. That is pretty much industry standard for the big sellers like Toyota, Honda, Ford. There are better ones but usually gimmicks to help sway a buyer.

I think we may have come to the same conclusion about the Jetta and snow tires. However, that is another expense that dilutes the money saved on fuel.

The Jetta will get better mileage and probably has a more quality interior. As far as reliability it would appear the Matrix would be the better choice, even taking into account its more complex A.W.D. Speaking of A.W.D, that’s another point for the Toyota; given that you live in Syracuse, I’d pick the Matrix.

My vote if you fit into a Matrix after reading the full picture is the FWD Matrix with the smaller efficient engine. The 2.4L with AWD is a fuel pig.

Price a set of winter tires/rims from that you bolt on/off at each season. Unless school is private it will be cancelled anyway on days bad enough to warrant more than FWD. Remember the cost of winter tires is fully offset by the fact that your regular(3 season) tires do not wear during the winter.

Did The PT Cruiser Get Around Without Snow Tires? Maybe You Don’t Need Them. You Could Always Try A New Jetta Without Them. Get Them If It Becomes Necessary.

The summer tires will last longer while running the winter tires and help offset the cost.


winter tires - good point. The only real added expense would be having them changed twice a year.

I was fine in the snow with the PT Cruiser, her no. She drove the Jeep all winter. We would like to drive the Jeep as little as possible now (140,000 or so miles) to make it last

School doesn’t get canceled much here, Andrew, and she often has to drive early in the day on roads that have not been plowed yet. Good point about the tire cost. Definitely the smaller engine - that much has been decided.

Perhaps folks don’t realize that Syracuse and certainly some of the areas north of Syracuse get huge lake effect snow accumulations. And, it is very localized; you may have a few inches in downtown Syracuse and somewhere just 15 or 20 miles away could have 1 to 2 feet of snow.

Only the OP knows the situation where he lives. I know they don’t cancel school for a few inches of snow or else they’d never have school in the winter so a teacher will have to deal with snowy commutes.

I’d still go with the Jetta since you have the Jeep for really bad conditions. You’ll feel ok using the Jeep more when you are saving on fuel for the other car. Snows for the Jetta are your call based on the tires it comes equipped with, whose driving it and under what conditions.

I would go for the 2 wheel drive Matrix with the best set of snow tires you can buy. Many of us live in snow country, and many report that a front wheel drive vehicle with Michilin X-ICE or similar winter tires gets you to just about anywhere.

The overall cost of ownership is more important that just mileage. The Matrix will outlast the VW, and cost about 1/2 in annual upkeep over its life. The fuel savings of the Jetta will be quickly eaten up as the VW ages.

FWIW I have a 2004 Toyota Matrix XR 1.8L 130hp and average 34.6 mpg practically all year.

Taking into consideration I’m retired (6’4") and can pick and choose when I want to go out in the winter weather, my FWD with Michelin X-Ice get me anywhere.

It gets the Michelin Harmony’s back on in the spring. I find these tires make the vehicle corner fast without any looseness. Wet or dry surface, makes no difference.

I’m in the south central area of Ontario, Can. and we get ALL types of weather here.

There is a problem with AWD that puts me right off them (aside from less mpg) and that is the fact if you have used tires and one gets damage beyond repair, you need to replace all of them due to the damage different sized tires can do to the transfer case (center diff).

I’ve had this vehicle for 2 years now and am very satisfied with it.

Comparing the new vehicles against the older ones, I find the older ones (a little less hp) get better mileage.

I don’t know if you have used the car research link (Left side of page) but you can do a side by side comparison to help with your search.