The estimated annual car insurance premium for a Toyota Matrix for 2012 is around $1,364. For the Matrix S model with its larger engine, you can expect to pay an average of $1,410 as an annual premium. While auto insurance rates have tended to increase around the United States year-by-year, the 2012 premium estimates for the Toyota Matrix are slightly lower in 2012 than for 2011!

Where did the Matrix originate?

The Toyota Matrix is a family oriented hatchback model originally developed as a body style option for Toyota’s Corolla Sedan. It was offered for the first time in the 2003 model year.

The Matrix began as a 5-door hatchback that more resembles a station wagon than a sedan. When the rear 60/40 split seats are folded down, the Matrix has an enviable 49.4 cubic feet of cargo space. With the seats up in passenger mode, almost 20 cubic feet of cargo space is still available. So popular and versatile was this new roomy wagon, the Matrix became its own brand after several years of manufacture in the United States under the Corolla Matrix name. It was also marketed for several years for General Motors and sold as the Pontiac Vibe.

Why is the Toyota Matrix economical to insure?

One of the main reasons the Matrix is such a good value is because of its safety record and high crash test ratings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In 2010, the Matrix was awarded NHTSA’s five star ratings for front crashes on both the driver and passenger sides as well as for front side impact crashes. The Matrix earned four out of five stars for rear side impact crashes and rollovers.

Standard safety features of the Matrix include Toyota’s patented star safe system, which includes anti-lock brakes on all four wheels and electronic braking distribution. The Matrix handles all road conditions like an old pro with automatic vehicle stability and traction controls.

The Toyota Matrix features smart stop, which turns off the engine if the gas and brake pedals are pushed at the same time. There are numerous other safety features including front head restraints, side door impact beams, daytime running lights, and six airbags.

What different Matrix models are available?

There are two Matrix models available for 2012. The base Matrix model, with a sticker price of $19,685, comes with a 1.8-liter, 132 horsepower, 4-cylinder engine, and either a 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission.

The sporty Matrix S model, offered at just $20,755, features a larger 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder 158 horsepower engine with a 5-speed manual or automatic transmission.

Both the Matrix and Matrix S come standard with cruise control, air conditioning, power door locks and windows, and tilt and telescoping steering wheels. 16-inch wheels with covers come standard but 17-inch alloy wheels are an option, as is all-wheel drive for the sport model.

The S model also comes with fog lamps, a rear spoiler and optional chrome tipped exhaust pipes.

What optional packages are available?

Standard features include color match door handles and side mirrors, a rear window wiper, and an in-glass radio antenna to provide a sleek silhouette. Special options for the S model include Bluetooth streaming audio and moon roof.

Other S option package choices include the Premium Package for $1,410, which features the above-mentioned audio system and moon roof, plus six speakers, satellite radio and overhead consoles!

Need a bit more style for your drive? The S Sport Package, for $1,240 enhances the look and curb appeal of your Toyota Matrix with sporty17-inch alloy wheels and spoilers on the front, rear, top, and bottom of the Matrix hatchback.

Your Toyota Matrix can also include a remote security syste, remote engine starter or a roof rack that not only adds utility, but blends perfectly into the Matrix silhouette.

What is the warranty for the Toyota Matrix?

Toyota has four different warranty programs that cover four different component portions of their Matrix automobiles.

The basic warranty is a traditional 3-year or 36,000 mile whichever comes first package that will cover most parts of the Matrix except for items, which are usually not covered and can be expected to wear out and be replaced periodically. These items can normally be expected to include filters for air and oil, brake pads and windshield wiper blades.

Batteries and tires are also usually excluded from a standard vehicle warranty since the manufacturer of these items guarantees them separately.

A special drivetrain warranty that extends for five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first, covers the drivetrain, which consists of the engine, transmission, axles and driveshaft. This warranty typically does not cover hoses, belts and other items, which are termed consumable parts.

The Matrix is covered against damage from rust for a period of five years, during which an unlimited number of miles can be driven. Toyota also provides emergency roadside assistance for its new Matrix vehicles, for the first two years or 25,000 miles of ownership.

Is the Toyota Matrix a good value?

Yes! Motor Trend Magazine, taking into account the total costs of ownership, consistently rates the Matrix as an excellent value. It’s important to factor in all the costs of car ownership including insurance, interest and finance charges and registration fees, as well as repairs, gas and oil and routine maintenance.

By adding together estimates of all of these items, the average cost to operate a Matrix over the first five years of ownership is $28,572, which is more than 10% less than some similar vehicles.

If you’re looking for a dependable, roomy, and economical family vehicle, make sure you visit your neighborhood Toyota dealer and look at the Toyota Matrix for 2012.