The Toyota Matrix is part car, part wagon, part minivan, part SUV. Toyota even calls it a CUV for compact utility vehicle. We're not sure whether the acronym will catch on, but the Matrix appears to have caught on. Matrix was introduced in 2002 as a 2003 model, and Toyota sold nearly 30,000 of the compact wagons in the first half of the 2003 calendar year. Matrix is based on the Toyota Corolla and is built in California at a plant jointly owned with General Motors. Matrix is targeted at younger buyers who want a vehicle with a sporty image and high functionality. Toyota claims the Matrix combines the style and performance of a sports car with the functionality of an SUV and the affordability of a compact sedan. It does, indeed, accomplish all of those objectives, if not to the degree that sports cars, SUVs, and compact sedans accomplish their respective missions. We found the Matrix offers peppy acceleration, particularly around town. It corners nicely yet offers a smooth, comfortable ride. Matrix is practical, with a big cargo area that can be expanded by folding down the rear seats. And it's certainly stylish. While the high-performance XRS model has drawn some attention with its high-revving 180-horsepower engine, we preferred the 130-horsepower models for their more relaxed, more pleasant demeanor.