The Hyundai Matrix is a true mini MPV. Unlike some of its peers it's not trying to live up to an image and the result is solid value for money, comfort and versatility.
The Matrix isn't Pinanfarina's most inspired work to date. That said, it looks better than many other MPV's on the road. The boxy design is functional, but dull. It's an honest people carrier that doesn't use flamboyant styling to pretend it's anything else.
Power steering, central locking, electric windows all round, leather seats and a radio/CD all make up an extremely decent package. The aftermarket radio doesn't look very elegant, but it works better than many pre-market sound systems. The instrument cluster is mounted in the centre of the dashboard rather than directly in front of the driver and once you're used to it, it's more comfortable than having to peer through the steering wheel.
The leather seats are comfortable and rear legroom is superb when the rear seats are moved slightly back. This still leaves ample packing space in the boot. The cabin is spacious while the large windscreen and high seating position result in excellent visibility.
The cabin is uncluttered and user-friendly. Everything is easily within the driver's reach while the centrally-mounted instrument cluster consists of large easy-to-read dials. It lacks the myriad interior storage spaces of some of its competitors, but still has enough room for all the necessities.
Hyundai is reaping in international quality awards and it's easy to see why. Although the materials used aren't plush, everything is sturdy. This vehicle has minor signs of wear, which is to be expected, but the interior is in excellent condition with hardly any scratches on the harder platics.
Designed to be used as a family vehicle, the Matrix boasts all the necessaries such as airbags, ABS and EBD.
The 1,6-litre engine is willing and frugal. On a daily basis it's fantastic around town and quickly gets up to speed on the open road. Considering it's size and capacity, however, the Matrix does lose some steam when fully loaded.
The Matrix feels solid, but it's still an MPV and therefore not an ideal candidate for drifting. The steering is light which reduces feedback but is a blessing in daily traffic.
The Hyundai Matrix won't bowl you over with its charisma at first glance, but this Korean is definitely worth a second look. Its high level of specification, build quality and practicality result in excellent value for money. The Matrix is a great all-rounder as it's an effortless daily commuter, but can act as a workhorse when necessary. Its strong selling point is its high level of specification.
Layout: in-line, transversely mounted
Cylinders/capacity: 4/1 599 cc
Bore/stroke: 76, 5 x 87 mm
Compression ratio: 10:1
Valve gear: dohc, 8 valves
Power: 76 kw @ 5 800 r/min
Torque: 141 nm @ 4 500 r/min
Specific power: 475 kw/litre
Fuel system: multi point electronic fuel injection