Notes: The Toyota Matrix is the mechanical twin of the Pontiac Vibe.

Both models were a joint GM-Toyota venture, manufactured together at a NUMMI production facility in Fremont, CA. Only the heating & A/C systems are different.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
170,667 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Toyota Matrix brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Toyota Matrix Owner Comments

problem #3

Jul 122015


  • 300,000 miles


I was slowly pulling into my garage (in the basement of my house), gradually braking as I had done many times before. I was stopping the vehicle in its usual position when the engine suddenly began racing and the car accelerated forward. It struck some shelves I had against the wall of the garage, crumpling both the shelves and the front of the car's hood. Everything happened so fast at that point that I am not sure just what happened, but I ended up with the car stopped up against the garage wall and the car in park. I believe I threw it into neutral, then applied the brake since it was still moving, then tried to back up, and finally put it into park. The car was declared a total loss by my insurance company. I experienced the same problem of sudden acceleration when stopping several times previously, but none of those incidents caused any damage. In each of those situations I was able to get the car into neutral, stop it with the brake, and continue on my way. In this instance there was not enough space ahead of me to do that successfully. I know that a number of incidents of unintended acceleration of a Toyota Matrix have already been reported for a number of different model years.

- Deerfied, MA, USA

problem #2

Oct 012014

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 182,000 miles
I was approaching a stop light and all of a sudden the engine started to accelerate; this has never happened before. I pressed on the brake as hard as I could but the brake wouldn't go all the way down and it was very stiff. Since I was going slow I was able to get the car to stop but the engine was revving as if I had the gas pedal to the floor. I decided to put the car in neutral so it wouldn't accelerate while I was at the stop light (the whole time the engine is revving to its max and the brake was stiff; I also used the hand brake. When the light turned red I placed the car in drive since I had to move and the car wanted to take off so I kept my foot planted on the brake this was at full strength. I was able to get the car into a parking lot and then home an hour later. I was driving the car locally so I was about one mile from home. I have never seen a car do this in my life. I did call Toyota about it and they said it wasn't sudden acceleration and said what do you want from Toyota which I thought was extremely rude. I feel if I was going faster say on the highway I would have lost control of the vehicle.

- Clarksburg, MD, USA

problem #1

Jul 012008

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
Parking brake doesn't hold vehicle on slope. Mechanic has fixed twice, but problem re-occurs in about two years. This is a safety issue since this is also the emergency brake and there is no warning when brake will start slipping again after repairs.

- Chaska, MN, USA

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