Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011 Toyota Matrix Freshens up for Chicago Auto Show

Toyota has chosen this week's Chicago Auto Show to stage the reveal of the 2011 model year Matrix. If you're having a hard time finding the styling differences between the 2010- and 2011-MY versions of the Matrix, that's because the revisions are barely noticeable.

On the outside, the subtle refresh is limited to all-new front and rear bumpers with integrated front and rear underbody spoilers and a large mesh front fog lamp bezel. The newly designed 16-inch steel wheels and 17-inch, five-spoke alloy rims plus the introduction of a new Spruce Mica color round off the changes.

Inside, the instrument-panel gauges feature new silver ornamentation, while there are also new metal-plated rings around the air conditioning vents, and the audio unit has a new flush surface. The updated model also gains a fresh choice of seat fabrics, while there's also a newly designed leather-trimmed steering wheel with spoke-mounted audio controls and hands-free Bluetooth capability for the Matrix S.

For 2011, the Matrix is available in two grades, the base model powered by a 132HP 1.8-liter engine paired with a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic, and the S version which gets a 158HP 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine linked to a five-speed manual or automatic transmission. The S model is also offered with all-wheel-drive (AWD), in which case the 2.4-liter engine is matched to a 4-speed automatic transmission.

According to Toyota, the base Matrix 1.8L has an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with the manual gearbox, and 26 mpg city and 32 mpg highway for automatic model, while the 2.4L S version, 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway with the stick shift, 21 mpg city and 29 mpg with the automatic transmission, and 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway for the AWD model.

Pricing for the 2011 Matrix is expected to be announced at the Chicago Auto Show.

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