Toyota Matrix Discontinued In U.S. For 2014

The Toyota Matrix hatchback has been discontinued in the U.S. market for the 2014 model year. Toyota cites dwindling demand for the Corolla-based hatch, and says that the company will not sell a new Matrix-like vehicle based on the 2014 Corolla.

The announcement is hardly a surprise. Toyota Matrix sales have been falling for years, leading to rampant speculation that the car would eventually be phased out. Toyota's Bill Fay fueled the fires when he told reporters last December that, "If we don't have the Matrix, it won't be the end of the world." Toyota does not provide separate sales figures for the Matrix and Corolla, but a Toyota spokesman told us that the take rate has "dwindled" in recent years.

The first and second generations of the Toyota Matrix were twinned with the Pontiac Vibe, but Toyota didn't sell the second-gen car (2009 and newer) outside of North America. Not only was the car unpopular, it made little sense to sell a unique model in one region only. Toyota does sell a small hatchback called the Auris in Europe, but there are apparently no plans to bring it to the States.

The 2013 Toyota Matrix offered a 132-hp, 1.8-liter inline-four and a 158-hp, 2.4-liter inline-four engine, with a choice between a five-speed manual and four- or five-speed automatic transmission. Both front- and all-wheel-drive versions were available. Pricing started at $20,085, including an $810 destination fee.

Although it is done here, the Toyota Matrix will be sold for one more year in Canada. A Toyota representative tells us that all-wheel-drive versions of the Matrix are quite popular in Canada, so it makes sense for Toyota to continue selling the car there for 2014.

Source: Toyota

Totally unsurprising. They killed the Matrix with the second generation's launch. It was ugly, with poor fuel economy, cheap materials, outdated technology carried over or borrowed from other models (the Camry's larger 2.4 I-4), and was not inspiring to drive. Given all that, it is not surprising that it couldn't compete with wagons and hatchbacks like the Mazda 3, Kia Soul!, VW Golf, and the smaller Honda Fits and Nissan Versas of the world. 
It's a shame, because the original Matrix was actually ahead of its time, with diverse appeal brought about by sporty styling and good fuel economy in a practical, dependable package, along with its twin the Pontiac Vibe. If people weren't interested in the second generation, it's because Toyota didn't invest enough into the design and quality of the second generation. 
Of course, Toyota didn't have to do a quality redesign. People still buy their cars because of their reputation for dependability, whether the design is good or not. Unfortunately, the Matrix name doesn't have as much cache as Corolla or Camry, both of which received ugly redesigns prior to the 2014 and 2015 year models, respectively. 
It's a shame. I still own my 2004 Matrix, and I would've looked forward to seeing what a new Matrix looked like given the positive shift in design direction for Corolla and Camry.
This is one segment where the Japanese players, Honda (Element), Toyota (Matrix), and Nissan (LeCube) totally failed to connect with American buyers. One might be tempted to think it is just the compact MPV segment since Kia came in tried the near invisible Rondo with small success; Kia then readjusted their thinking and brought out the in your face sporty Soul. The rest as they say is history.

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