Thursday, October 26, 2006

Field Report : Hyundai Matrix 1.6A

It's a week since i got the car, The Hyundai Matrix 1.6A

Fuel consumption
Clocked almost 700km and fill her up twice.

First tankful got me to 515km on 50liters of petrol. That works out to about 10km/l or almost 20sens/km.

For comparison sake, my kancil used up 14km/l.

It's not the most fuel efficient car i've ever had but the Aveo which wifey drives aren't any better at 1.5A, which would go about 380km on 35liters of petrol.

Stated fuel consumption is 25.4mpg, or it would works out to about 8.99km/l (assuming UK gallon). So that's pretty ok from what i tested and obtained in real life for a mix urban/suburban drive!!!

Fuel consumption aside, The Matrix is one hell of a comfy car.

Large interior, huge legroom behind, high point of view for driver and easy to drive.

I was expecting i would have a hard time adjusting to driving something larger than a small car like my Kancil. But it was ok, to say the least.

1.5liter PET bottle used as a relative comparison for space

This car was a 2005 model, meaning, the huge discount i got was for the depreciation of the car. I do not mind though, as i'm still getting a new car. Surprsingly, the interior still reeks of new car smell and all fittings were good. No rattling of loose parts and no improper adjustments of the headlights and alignment.

The car come with a single cd player, which failed to play any CD from day one. A quick drive to the authorised accesories dealer had it changed with no question asked. Normal for electronics to fail if it wasn't used for a long time i guess.

The aircond was super cold even on a hot day. I would say it's like being inside any Proton cars. Yes, that's about the only other thing that Proton did right for their stables of cars! So, to find that the aircond in the Matrix could match a Proton, i was happy. Gone are the days when the air blower blow only hot air from my kancil in traffic jam (which i managed to improve by installing a second fan on the aircond radiator)

The car, like my Wife's Aveo, comes with heater. Turn the knob to red mark and you get hot air blowing. Useless as i don't think we'll ever use it...OK, maybe to warm the baby's milk in the near future!

The Aveo

The rear seats is split 60/40 and could be move back and forth like the front seats. This effectively allows the boot space to be bigger, and still allows us to carry 2 adults, but with lesser leg room of course. Well, alternatively, they could sit crossed legs should that happens!

The rear seats too could be folded up and instantly the whole boot space would turn monsterous. Well, compared to my kancil and Aveo of course.

With the seats at it's original position, the boot space is a good 345liters and when the seats are all folded up, it transform to a huge 1284liter monster. Assuming that i do not stack up the stuff until roof high, i still have a minimum of 600liters to play with. Good enough as Honda City only has 500liters in total.

Standard inside the interior was a colour coded seat and panel covers which goes well with the black and grey dashboard. It comes with courtesy lights in the middle of the car roof and front auxilary lights for the driver and passenger. Control knobs are within reach and easily understood and used.

Extra was the cruise control, which was wireless and could be detached from the car steering when needed. Wireless?

It runs on one unit of CR2032 battery which will come in handy when my chest strap runs out of battery. With only 2 buttons on the autocruise control, it's easy and simple to use. No extra additonal switch to be activated before the cruise control could be used. Furhtermore, as a safety precaution, the cruise control only works for speed exceeding 50km/h and since it's wireless, we do not need to worry if any itchy hands were to press on it if it's detached as it has a distance limit to it, ie, if it leaves the driver's area, it would not work.

We settled for the Navy Blue Matrix. Rarely found and oftenly mistaken for being a Black Matrix. We did not actually thought this would be the colour and still thinks that we will get a lighter shade of blue, much similiar to my Kancil. But we were pleasantly surprised.

We thought it was this Blue...

But it's this blue...

Look wise, it still has the "designo Pininfarina" badge. From the side, it looked like it has a low Cd for a MPV. Sleek enough and fluid enough. Front the front, it looked like a grown up Getz. From the back, it looked like a grown up Getz too.

The wording on the Inokom CKD version would peel after some time, CBU won't!

Frankly, i've not been a fan of Korean cars. But not wanting to get anohter sedan car and with limited budget, Matrix fits just right in where size and value are concerned. We did, initially wanted the Chevy Nabira, but it stopped production. SO, perhaps, it's a blessing in disguise. With wifey driving a Daewoo in disguise as a Chevy, i guess that is enough assurance when it comes to Korean build cars, CBU units i meant. Perhaps that just goes to show how much faith i have with our local assemblers of all the national and pseudo national cars!

The Matrix comes with a 185/65/R14 5-spoke alloy rim with Kumho tyres. Furhter evidence that this is a pure Korean Import. Being a CBU, it comes with good and consistent exterior fittings. Doors are easily closed without any slamming action. The gap around the car's doors are consistent on both sides, meaning that the factory does a decent job, unlike some Gen.2 that i seen on the road with doors that looked as if it wasn't closed properly.

The exhaust pipe was nicely hidden and there was not a hint of it sticking out. There wasn't any stickers on the car which some manufacturer call as "body stripe" and could charge you more for "sporty look".

Road Test
Performance wise, this car is classified as a MPV by some and a Mini MPV by others. Pick up is expected of a car this heavy (at about 1.8 tonne) but the 1.6 engine surprisingly rev pretty nicely to compensate for that when needed. Of course getting the 1.8A model would be the better ideal case, but with heftier road tax and higher maintainence where tyres, for example are concerned, we decided we don't need the 1.8 and settled for the 1.6 instead.

The 1.6 has 102Bhp (which is about 102hp) under the hood powered by a 1599cc 16 Valves DOHC 4 inline multipoint injection engine. That's a mouthful compared to my 849cc carb Kancil!.

It's rated with a slow 14.2 seconds for 0-62mph (or 0-100kmh) acceleration.

Crusing at 80km/h and the RPM doesn't exceed 2000. At 60km/h city driving, it's a low 1500rpm. With torque peaking at 4000rpm, this car does promise to be able to haul it's heavy ass up Genting decently.

I'm no road bully...

NVH factor is good with very little wind noise when i drove it at 110km/h on highway. It shows little or no virbration as well over the range of speed i drove over the past 1 week and as for harshness, it could be a lil rough when going over those small lil yellow speed breaker....perhaps the suspension is set a bit stiff to compensate for the heavy body weight?

Taking corners with this car was nothing dramatic, at 80km/h it doesn't really makes you feel as if you will understeer and goes into the ditch near the big loop which join Jalan Damansara with Jalan Duta, or would you feel threathen when you go through a pseudo S-Corner is some of the notorious KL flyovers.

We felt safe, which is very important. It's nice to know that The car do come with one unit of driver's airbag and ABS (which is a real ABS, as in AntiLOCK-Braking System) and EBD, and not some Advance Braking System on some national get my drift la!

The onboard speedo and information display was sufficient, with the main cluster placed in the middle and angled towards the driver and a smaller console right infront which tells the driver which gear, low fuel, engine check, ABS, SRS, Doors ajar warning are placed. The centre consoles reads the Speed, RPM, Engine temp, tripmeter (A and B), Odometer and the fuel gauge. Nice touch without being overly crowded in the middle.


The car pull strongly from 60km/h to 110km/h with very much ease, thanks to the body weight, momentum at work i guess!

One thing notably missing was the ability to adjust the dashboard's light. Not that it is important, as i would had set the lights to maximum anyway. The steering column could be height adjusted though, unlike the Aveo. Then again, there is no need to bring the column down any lower as it would not be comfy to drive in that manner anyway.

Electric window on driver and pasenger side takes 3 seconds to wind down and 4 to go up. With auto down function only for the driver side. Hardly useful when it comes to paying toll/parking. My old kancil has auto UP and DOWN on the driver side, so, once i finish paying the toll/parking, i could just let it wind up automatically and keep one hand on the steering and one more to tuck away the receipt. I guess this is one more adjustment i need to make!

The only other grouses i had was the LED 3rd brake lights, which has 5 leds burnt out from time of delivery, that too, will be replaced as they offered to change the whole spoiler for me. How's that for customer's satisfaction where after sales service is concerned???

In the end, i guess buying anything in life all boils down to expectation. If the expectation is sky high, anyone would be dissapointed with their choices, even if you are a multimillionaire (then again, if you are one, you most probably wouldn't be bothered about buying this RM69K MPV anyway).

As for me, this is definately a great change and improvement where comfort, space and safety is concerned from my old trusty Kancil. I sure hope it would serve the new owner well.

On the plus side, Hyundai Matrix has a 4 star rating where NCAP is concerned (but i can't find the link to this test though!), and it showed loads of improvement in the JD Power 2006 survey where Hyundai brand is concerned. With only 102 defects per 100 cars, it scored pretty well above the industry average of 119, coming third after Porshe and Lexus!

The owner's manual has every single details inside if anyone cares to read (i did) and the car specs as per what i wrote above are all from the manual.

Am i happy? well, for now, you bet.

I just found out that Matrix is also known as La Vita, the NCAP was done in-house to Euro NCAP specs. It did score 4 stars. Here is the link : Hyundai Matrix/LaVita NCAP


  1. Hello...... I just bought a matrix. Nice car/MPV. Anybody has the operating manual that can be shared? I don't need the service/repair manual (otherwise mechanics can't cari makan), just something to explain the gadgets and whatnots of the car. Thank you

  2. The car should have. maybe check with the local authroised car service centre?