The car industry is crossover crazy at the moment and every manufacturer is coming up with new and exotic variants to add to the mix. There are SUV and saloon crossovers along with saloon and MPV mixes. This isn't all just marketing hype though. Some of these cars offer much greater flexibility to motorists than traditional saloon and hatchback models and as such this is to be welcomed.
The mini MPV sector is particularly competitive and the fact that Hyundai was the last of the big three Korean manufacturers to make a move in the sector was not a promising start. It seems that it was worth the wait though, as the Hyundai Matrix is definitely the pick of this Korean bunch. It offers a more stylish option that Kia's Carens
or Daewoo's Tacuma and is priced reasonably. It has good looks and decent engines with even a three cylinder unit for the frugally minded. Even so, it sold slowly, with most new buyers parting with a little more cash to get a Vauxhall Zafira
or Citroen Xsara Picasso
. For used buyers, this only means that there are a few bargains to be had.
Bang for your buck
The Hyundai Matrix for sale was launched in 2001 with 1.6 litre GSi, 1.8 litre CDX petrol and 1.5TD GSi diesel models. The car was designed by Pininfarina and features a distinctive low window line of the Marmite, love it or hate it, variety. The front end is more anonymous looking but the rear is a return to form with some edgy looking angles which reflect the light in an attractive way. Inside the cabin, the instruments are centrally located, although angled towards the driver a little.
There are loads of the storage spaces and cubby holes that we expect to find in a car like this but only five seats. The rear bench has a 60/40 split though and can be folded away for more luggage space. It is a bit Tardis like inside and although it doesn't look it, the interior is bigger than a Renault Scenic. Not bad for a car that is 11cm shorter than the Scenic and more than a foot shorter than the Vauxhall Zafira.
What you'll pay
Although quite scarce, you can still pick up a used Hyundai Matrix at a bargain price. A 1.8 CDX model from 2002 on a 02 plate and with 90,000 miles covered should cost around £800. At the other end of the scale, you will pay around £7,800 for a 2010 (60 reg) Hyundai Matrix 1.5 CRDi Comfort with just 12,000 miles under its belt. Insurance groups are pretty reasonable too, ranging from 6 to 8.
What to check
Clearly the older cars from around 2001 are getting pretty long in the tooth now and will display the kind of issues that advanced age sadly brings. The approved used Hyundai Matrix was a pretty reliable motor though, as we have come to expect from Hyundai. A few problems have been reported, such as some issues with the throttle sensors that result in a racing engine at idle speeds. The paint work wasn't the greatest, so do check for signs of rust. The interior trim is better and more durable than previous Hyundai's though and is holding up pretty well. The original Kumho tyres were none too clever but they are unlikely to still be around on the older cars.
Looking at a used 2001 Hyundai Matrix 1.8 CDX as our benchmark, a clutch assembly will cost around £140 and a starter motor will be something like £125. Brake pads for the front and rear are about £45 and £40 per pair respectively. A replacement headlamp is around £145.
How it drives
The driving position on the Hyundai Matrix is good and the cockpit well thought out with properly spaced pedals. From the upright driving position you get a good view of the road and the car feels pretty planted. The smaller 1.6 litre engine couldn't pull the skin off the proverbial custard though and the 1.8 is a lot better. The diesel makes a lot of sense for those for whom economy is uppermost. This is a car that is extremely comfortable around town, with a tiny turning circle and good urban road manners. Overall, a used Hyundai Matrix is a great choice for a little family runabout.