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Along with the 2009 Corolla‘s debut came the Matrix. The Matrix is a much younger member of the Toyota family and a very successful type of vehicle in much of the world. Many of us want a small and inexpensive vehicle but need space, so raising the roof and adding some style is an answer to the Corolla-haters.

Only the mid-range Matrix will offer all-wheel drive, meaning the added weight penalty can’t be overcome by the more powerful 2.4L engine that’s also seen in the Corolla. 2.4’s mate with the XRS badge, while base and S models use a 1.8L. Fuel economy for the 1.8L four-cylinder should be over 30mpg whether you choose (and choose you should) the automatic or manual transmission. The larger four-cylinder mates with that manual or gains an extra gear in automatic versions.

Toyota enhanced the style quotient of the Matrix, but it won’t be to all tastes. Who cares? Desire ye a Corolla which nobody will even take note of as “the new one” or a car that actually challenges your inner design palate. Besides, whether you enjoy the appearance of the shovel nose and funny rear window shape, the Matrix makes its best and biggest statement when the rear hatch is opened.

It’s been 50 years since Toyota opened up shop in the USA, but a present-day Corolla could only dream of showing the progress displayed by the next Matrix. Expect to see plenty (especially you, Canadian readers) on roads come late winter.