My parents are looking for a higher seating position car than their
Camry. We looked at the Toyota Matrix and they liked it but also like
my Focus. They drive a lot (35-40K/yr) and their Camry has been
unbelievably reliable and cheap to run. So we were leaning towards the
Matrix but we drove a 2005 Focus wagon to compare. As we like my 2001
ZX3 a lot, we were very let down. So much that was standard is now
optional (on the ZX3 too). I would have to get the $500 sport package
to get the alloys, tach, leather wheel, etc that I got with my base
car. Maybe one can't even get the rear sway bar that I got standard.
Add into this, the new blander/generic styling. I know it is subjective
and some may like it better, but we didn't. It lost its unique style
and blends in. Again, some may like this better. I also know that the
recalls are over that the early models had. Mine has had no service
needs so far. Just fluid and filter changes.
THe Focus may have ridden a bit better but they were quite close in
overall performance...maybe the Matrix was smoother. It definitely was
finished much better and felt more expensive. The main advantage of the
Focus was the current $3,000 rebate...otherwise, the prices are close.
The Matrix XR with a sunroof and most other power options is a bit over
$17K. They got a Matrix XR for $15K with their Camry (242,000 miles).
Anyway, these are just my thoughts and I would like to hear yours. I am
glad my ZX3 only has 60,000 miles and I do not have to look for a new
car for myself for a while. I would consider a ZX3 and maybe if I add
all I want, I would like it better (I'd miss my interior though). By
the time I need to buy, I hope that the current European Focus was
here. We need it NOW. Why do we (USA) always get/keep the older
designs? My guess is that small cars are the norm in much of the rest
to the world and Europe and you must have up to date/competitive
designs to make it. Here the small cars are for a relatively few and
the manufacturers CAFE numbers.