The Toyota Matrix combines the style and fun of a sport coupe with the utility of a small sport utility at the price of a compact. Matrix was designed for people who want a vehicle with a sporty image and high functionality. 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 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. Most popular is the mid-grade Matrix XR. Minor styling revisions freshen the appearance of the Matrix for 2005. More important, side curtain airbags have been added as optional equipment and come packaged with seat-mounted side-impact airbags ($645). Also optional on 2005 models is Vehicle Stability Control, or VSC, which virtually eliminates skidding. This is in addition to optional anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, designed to help the driver maintain steering control in an emergency braking situation. Matrix is based on the Toyota Corolla and is built in California at a plant jointly owned with General Motors. Matrix was introduced as a 2003 model. It has proven to be a popular vehicle: Toyota sold more than 67,000 of them during calendar year 2003. Pontiac sold nearly 57,000 Vibe models during that same period.