Here’s why you should steer clear of any 2009 Toyota Matrix S trim

Browsing Facebook marketplace earlier today and I came across a 2009 Toyota Matrix S in Radiant Red with 215,000 miles for just $3,800.

To the unassuming used car shopper, this Matrix might seem like a fair deal. The Matrix is just a Corolla wagon with a different name and Corollas are literally the most reliable car on earth. It should be a no brainer, right?

After doing a bit of digging (5 minutes on Google) I found out there’s an excellent reason you probably should swipe left on any 2009 Toyota Matrix, S trim in particular.

Let me tell you why.

But, before that, here are a couple more photos of the Matrix in question.

2009 is the first model year for the second generation Toyota Matrix. Matrixes came in three trims: Standard (base,) S, and XRS.

While the workhorse four-cylinder 2ZR-FE (138 HP) powered base Matrixes, S and XRSs found the larger ZAZ-FE (158 HP) under the hood.

Unfortunately, there was a nationwide recall and resulting class action lawsuit for the 2AZ-FE engine for excessive oil consumption affecting1.7M+ Toyotas, including 2009 Toyota Matrixes (16,000 affected.)

You can read the official recall notice here

…and the TSB here.

Toyota admitted to poorly designed pistons with ill-fitting piston rings which, if not corrected, caused excessive oil consumption.

Toyota defines excessive oil consumption as anything above 1.1 qts per 600 miles.

According to upset owners on CarComplaints, this had Matrix owners pouring two quarts of oil or more in between oil changes.

Ask any other Toyota owner and the phrase “burning oil” is not even an issue.

That should be reason enough to steer clear of any MY 2009 Matrix S or XRS. Any other year Matrix or a base model Matrix with the less powerful engine should be A-OK.

For Matrixes the NHTSA lists three recalls affecting the air bag and gas pedal so, if I was a potential buyer, I would be aware of those.

Back to this Matrix. If the owner has Toyota paperwork backing up repairs regarding said oil consumption or has official proof via a Toyota dealership this Matrix is not affected, we’re back in business.

Given a solid engine, doubling its mileage with regular preventative maintenance should not be an issue.

Mileage is high, but that’s to be expected from Toyotas and, because it’s in such good shape, it looks well cared for.

With no visible dings, dents or damage inside or out, this looks like a homerun of a daily.

It would be $3,800 well spent.

But, if you hear even a hint of oil consumption problems used car shopping among 2009 Matrix S and XRSs, run!

Do you have a 2009 Toyota Matrix S or XRS horror story? Share some deets about your ownership experience in the comment section below.

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