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Aaron Gold

Photo galleries: 2009 Toyota Corolla and 2009 Toyota Matrix

By November 2, 2007

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2009 Toyota MatrixToyota chose this week's SEMA show to unveil their all-new 2009 Corolla compact sedan and Matrix compact wagon, which will go on sale next February. (For those not familiar, SEMA is the Specialty Equipment Market Association. The SEMA show is basically the Mecca of automotive customization, and a place where auto manufacturers often reveal custom show cars. Introducing a production model at SEMA is unusual -- and rather interesting.)

So let's talk about the cars. For enthusiasts, the big news is that the hot-rod XRS versions of both the Corolla and Matrix will return. While the old Corolla XRS and Matrix XRS used souped-up version of the Corolla's 1.8 liter four-banger, the new versions get some real teeth -- the 2.4 liter engine found in several other Toyotas including the 2008 Scion xB. It makes less horsepower than the old XRS, but a lot more torque. Very promising.

2009 Toyota CorollaStyling-wise, the new Corolla reminds me a lot of the current Corolla with the addition of styling cues from the Yaris sedan. It's conservative, but I like it. As for the Matrix... Well, I can't say that I'm a fan. The proportions are odd -- especially when viewed from the rear -- and the wheels look too small. It kind of reminds me of a cross between the Suzuki Aerio hatch and the 2001 Hyundai Tiburon. Maybe it'll look better in person.

Take a closer look at the new Matrix and Corolla:

What do you think of the new look? Click the "comments" link below and share your thoughts. -- Aaron Gold

Photos © Toyota

Comments
November 2, 2007 at 7:41 am
(1) Eric says:

I can’t say that I’m all that impressed. Toyota is famous for their conservative and bland styling. The Yaris is an ugly car in my opinion, and the adoption of it’s styling cues into the Corolla doesn’t do it any favors. I certainly won’t be buying one.

The “so called” new Matrix doesn’t look all that new to me. It’s a styling update to the current model. It does look a little cleaner, but nothing impressive. I will also admit that I’m not a fan of 5-door hatchbacks, so the Matrix doesn’t do much for me anyway.

I don’t care what their quality and reliability ratings are, Toyota is going to have to do some very major styling mods to draw my interest.

November 2, 2007 at 11:20 am
(2) Will says:

They look fine. I’d buy one. But what worries me is the bigger engine. Gas was $3.09 this morning, and my next car is going to need to get well over 30 miles per gallon on the highway, preferably it will be up around 30 in the city. Given the gas price issue, are ANY car companies thinking about smaller, more efficient engines? I also worry about rear visibility in the Matrix, which is the one I’m most interested in. I will probably be comparing this car to a Saturn Astra, a Mazda 3, and a Nissan Sentra when I’m looking in a couple of years. I look forward to the review.

November 2, 2007 at 4:42 pm
(3) Rick says:

I am a true Toyota fan and have owned several. I currently own a 07 Matrix XR and I am glad I did not wait for the 09 Matrix. The look is rather odd, although Toyotas are not known for style. In my opinion, the new Corolla is an improvement, but the new Matrix is a disappointment.

November 2, 2007 at 11:23 pm
(4) hawaiian don says:

That’s it? That’s all Toyota came up with? When Honda came out with the new Civic it was cutting edge: stylistically, ACE crumple zones,etc…all kinds of cool new stuff, especially that star wars dash!!! The new Toyota has virtually nothing to stir the soul.The only thing that will draw people into the showroom will be the word “new” and the brand…sound a little like GM in the 70′s? They’re laying back on their laurels, not spending time and $ on development just like the Big Three have been doing in past years. The “bean counters” have taken over and greed seems to be leading the way for Toyota’s future. I am really disappointed. It must be tough to become #1 and rich…it also changes a company’s original mission statement. The next sound you may hear could be Toyota’s crash!!!

November 3, 2007 at 1:44 am
(5) Johnster says:

I like the styling of the new Corolla and Matrix. The Corolla looks very much like a miniature Camry. The blind spots caused by the wide C-pillar of the Matrix is a bit off-putting, though. I liked the little window in the pillar on the first generation version better.

The choice of engines is a bit disappointing too. The base four is a bit underpowered, and the optional four seems kind of large and it is suprising that it doesn’t produce more horsepower. It should produce decent torque for an automatic transmission, though.

In the previous generation Corolla and Matrix both suffered from an awkward driving position, where the steering wheel seemed to be too far away from the driver. I wonder if they’ve corrected this problem?

November 3, 2007 at 11:36 am
(6) Eric Young says:

The Corolla doesn’t look much different from the current line. Some improvement in the interior along with navigation and bluetooth. Not much more!

November 3, 2007 at 3:06 pm
(7) Andre says:

I went to the SEMA show and saw the new Corolla and can say it was an underwhelming venture to see. The funniest thing about it was that Toyota delayed the launch of the new Corolla a year for this redo!?!?!?! The car uses the same engine tweaked for 6 more hp and uses the same gearboxes! I guess Toyota doesn’t get enough flak for putting out 4 spd slushboxes because…….. I have to admit that Fords redo of the Focus was better applied than Toyotas redo of the Corolla. The new resurgence of the small car looks as though the “Big3″ and even Euros automakers have reloaded with better offerings, even Honda upgraded the Civic. This car just seems like they threw it together.

November 6, 2007 at 3:32 pm
(8) Hsa33 says:

Andre– that’s cool you got to go to the SEMA show.. I have been looking at pictures and videos on the SEMA insider site to try to keep up. Did you see the Matrix in person as well? I like that it has the option of All-Wheel Drive and a 2.4-liter engine…

November 12, 2007 at 8:01 pm
(9) jeff bishop says:

you know guys i must admit the new corolla is nothing more than a carryover from the 2008 models and i do not see what the excitement is over the ’09 model anyway.the Matrix looks like a girly car from the sides,it just looks hideous,but remember folks,people buy toyotas simply because they are affordable and very reliable,not just for their looks.now if i were to buy the new 2009 corolla or matrix, again let me stress this,i would buy one because again they are afforable and something i can keep for at least 10 years or more.

November 13, 2007 at 11:56 am
(10) Hsa33 says:

Jeff– You’re right, the selling point of the Matrix and Corolla is the reliability aspect. My next door neighbor had a Corolla that lasted almost 12 years and never had a problem with it. I don’t think either looks hideous, but I agree that their appearance isn’t why people buy them.

October 10, 2008 at 3:04 pm
(11) Mark says:

I own a 2009 Corolla sport and base Matrix I love them both, We like the base engine for fuel economy. Both cars have plenty of zip,
My Corolla has been up to 100 mph with ease on the highway. I think the Matrxi is cool looking and it can take a roof rack for a surfboard or whatever and seats folded down can take some large items. The engines are smooth and quiet.
Plus I know toyota’s are reliable I own one way back in 1989, never had a problem. Then we owned a ford Explorer (sensors were expensive to service and we also owned a Mazda Mpv (noisy) very expensive service repairs and hard to work on, as was a maza protoge. Now we (wife and I decided to get toyota’s for their reliability and gas economy. On the hiway my s Corolla I have been able to get 43.3 miles per gallon so far at 55 mph. The head room in the Matrix is amazing!

October 10, 2008 at 3:05 pm
(12) Mark says:

I own a 2009 Corolla sport and base Matrix I love them both, We like the base engine for fuel economy. Both cars have plenty of zip,
My Corolla has been up to 100 mph with ease on the highway. I think the Matrxi is cool looking and it can take a roof rack for a surfboard or whatever and seats folded down can take some large items. The engines are smooth and quiet.
Plus I know toyota’s are reliable I own one way back in 1989, never had a problem. Then we owned a ford Explorer (sensors were expensive to service and we also owned a Mazda Mpv (noisy) very expensive service repairs and hard to work on, as was a maza protoge we owned. Now we (wife and I decided to get toyota’s for their reliability and gas economy. On the hiway my s Corolla I have been able to get 43.3 miles per gallon so far at 55 mph. The head room in the Matrix is amazing!

October 10, 2008 at 3:18 pm
(13) Mark says:

Responding to this Comment from Andre:
This what is wrong with Ford they try and perfect something before it is ever perfected.
and may Auto makers.
But Toyota tweeks their cars no huge changes that could end up producing a lemon, Their changes may appear minimal but they are always a little better.
I owned a 1989 corolla and now a 2009. The 2009 Corolla has way more power absolutly no vibrations even at 100mph and more miles per gallon.
*********Andre’s comments below******
I guess Toyota doesn’t get enough flak for putting out 4 spd slushboxes because…….. I have to admit that Fords redo of the Focus was better applied than Toyotas redo of the Corolla. The new resurgence of the small car looks as though the “Big3″ and even Euros automakers have reloaded with better offerings, even Honda upgraded the Civic. This car just seems like they threw it together.

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