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:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
7 / 0
Average Mileage:
50,280 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.

2004 Toyota Matrix engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Toyota Matrix Owner Comments

problem #14

Aug 042016


  • 149,280 miles


I was backing down my driveway when my car suddenly accelerated-the brakes and steering also went out-I crashed into a bank on one side of the road, then the car swung around and I ended up suspended over a ditch. I was finally able to switch gears and turn the car off

- Salem, VA, USA

problem #13

Apr 192014


  • 108,800 miles
The contact owned a 2004 Toyota Matrix. While the vehicle was stopped at a traffic light, the contact heard an abnormal noise and the vehicle accelerated on its own. As a result, the contact crashed into two parked vehicles. A police report was filed. The driver sustained multiple bruises, a fractured rib, and pacemaker replacement that required medical attention. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 108,800.

- Poughkeepsie, NY, USA

problem #12

Mar 042014

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 34,200 miles
I was leaving a parking lot on an incline when the car accelerated without stepping on gas pedal. I applied significant pressure to the brakes and immediately put car in neutral. The car returned to normal operation. This is the third incident of this type.

- Templeton, MA, USA

problem #11

Jan 232014

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 34,300 miles


As I was leaving the highway via the exit, I stopped at the end of ramp leading to secondary highway. The vehicle's engine then unexpectedly accelerated while my foot was on the brake. The brakes seemed to barely keep it from propelling. I immediately put the car in neutral and the rpms returned to normal.

- Templeton, MA, USA

problem #10

Dec 312013


  • 32,500 miles
I was leaving a supermarket parking lot on an incline. The speed was approximately less than 2 mph. The vehicle suddenly revved loudly, attempting to lunge forward. I immediately applied brakes with substantial force, barely stopping the vehicle. I then put the car in neutral. The engine returned to normal rpms. I placed the car in drive without problem, returning home.

- Templeton, MA, USA

problem #9

Aug 052013

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 101,769 miles
During daylight on the above date, as I made a turn from small parking lot into a parking space, car suddenly accelerated and crashed into concrete building. As it was accelerating, that split second, I checked my foot to make sure it was on the brake, and not gas. I pressed hard on it, to no avail. It did not respond. It was totaled by insurance company. I had minor injuries: Bruised left chest and shoulder. Following day, a mild stiff neck. All of physical ailments gone, except mild sore neck, in 3 days. Note; I put speed at approximate speed in parking lot before acceleration occurred.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #8

Mar 222012


  • 54,000 miles


The contact owns 2004 Toyota Matrix. While driving approximately 30 mph, the vehicle accelerated on its own and the speed increased to approximately 50 mph. The contact shifted into neutral gear and then; the vehicle began to operate normally. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer who was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 54,000.

- Garrison , NY, USA

problem #7

Jul 092010


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Matrix. While the vehicle was parked with the engine running, the contact opened the front driver side door and attempted to exit the vehicle with her left leg extended outside of the door. Unexpectedly, the vehicle lunged forward. The brake pedal was engaged repeatedly and the vehicle would not slow down. The engine was turned off. The vehicle continued to rapidly accelerate causing the vehicle to crash into a mailbox and tree. The vehicle came to a complete when entering a ditch. The contact suffered torn ligaments to the left leg. A police report was not filed. The insurance company was notified; and they advised that the vehicle not be driven and be towed to an authorized dealer for further investigation. The vehicle sustained extensive damage to the driver side view mirror and front driver side door requiring replacement. The failure mileage was approximately 150,000.

- Geneva, FL, USA

problem #6

Aug 042004

Matrix 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Matrix. He stated that while the vehicle was at a stop sign with his foot on the brakes, it surged forward. He would had to apply pressure to the brakes to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was taken in to the dealer where they stated that they could not duplicate the problem and not to worry about it. There have been no repairs made to the vehicle. The vehicle had begun to surge every since the vehicle was purchased. The failure mileage was 200 and current mileage was 100000. Updated 05/10/10

- Cincinnati , OH, USA

problem #5

Apr 162004


  • 1,873 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Matrix xr. When the contact attempted to park the vehicle at 3 mph, it accelerated on it's own. The driver said that she applied pressure to the brake pedal and the vehicle continued to accelerate. She shifted into neutral gear in order to stop the vehicle. The failure mileage was 1,873. The current mileage is 15,000. Updated 05/07/10

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #4

Feb 122006


  • 20,000 miles


I owned a 2004 Toyota Matrix that was totalled in a car accident in 2006. I purchased the car new and was the only owner. At the time of the accident my sister was driving, and I was the passenger. Basically, we were driving on cruise control in the left lane of the highway, a semi cut us off, and when my sister pressed the brake pedal, the cruise control would not disengage and the car would not slow down. I witnessed her pressing the brake, and nothing was happening. My sister swerved into the right lane to avoid rear-ending the semi, lost control of the car, spun into the side of the semi, and then bounced off the semi and ran off the highway. The engagement of the engine, the speed, and acceleration of the car did not change throughout the entire course of the accident. When the police came out, both my sister and I described these events to the police officers. I also explained this to my insurance company. At the time, I believed so strongly that the car malfunctioned in some way that I tried to investigate further, but the insurance company was not interested. At the time I did some research to see if other drivers were having the same problems, but I could find nothing. Since the car was totalled, I could not keep the car to have it examined and I had little choice but to let the matter go. Now it is four years later and there is a massive Toyota recall, but the 2004 Matrix is not on the recall list. I feel obligated to file a complaint, not for gain on my part, but because I strongly feel that the mechanical malfunctions in Toyota cars have been going on far longer than Toyota will admit, and the malfunctions are much more widespread than the years and models currently listed. I also own a 2006 Matrix that is not on the recall list. I am begging that there be a widespread investigation to make sure that all the affected years and models are added to the recalls. This must be done to save lives.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #3

Jul 192005


  • 1,000 miles
I have a 2004 Toyota Matrix. When in drive, foot on the brakes, the car on occasions will lurch forward. This happens every day. I have taken it to Toyota numerous times and they keep telling me there is nothing wrong. I have this documented back to 2005.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #2

Jun 252006

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 0 miles
2004 Toyota Matrix - windows, door handles and surging electric windows rattle, grind and pop. Dealer could not address problem. Eventually the window fell out. Engine surges while stopped at light or in traffic. Dealer could not address problem. The door handles have a "metallic" finish that peels away. Occupants have cut their fingers on the edge of metal/plastic that was coming away. Eventually got worse to where you could see the white plastic handle underneath so I peeled away the remaining sharp edges and caution occupants. Dealer offered to repair at my expense. Contacted the Toyota customer service experience center and was referred back to a dealer.

- Pompano Beach, FL, USA

problem #1

Mar 262005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 miles
My 2004 Toyota Matrix has expereinced sudden acceleration while my foot was on the brake several times since I have purchased it; I have always been able to stop the car from moving forward by further depressing the brake. But on Saturday March 26 while at a stop sign, the sudden acceleration happened again and I was unable to immediately stop my car from lurching forward. It moved several inces into oncoming (perpendicular) traffic before I finally threw it into park and pulled the emergency brake to stop it. No accident occurred but it came close, and I had my toddler in the back seat, so I consider this a serious matter. I took it to my dealership (ourisman Toyota in chantilly, va) that Monday, and they kept it for two days. They ran all diagnostic tests possible and found no problem. Nothing was fixed because no test showed a problem but I am scared to drive my car -- the sudden acceleration happens only randomly and cannot be predicted. I drive with only one foot so this is not a case of two-footed driving and accidentaally stepping on the accelerator. In each case my foot was off the accelerator and on the brake.

- Herndon , VA, USA

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