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Discussion Starter #1
It has been a little over 3 months since selling the Celica and picking up the Matrix (one of the very first '05s, which have received quite a number of changes). Anyway, as the thread title says it all, here is what I have been up to. Enjoy...

You'll recognize some of the older pics...I needed to refresh some memories in here. :D


























Yes, I need to do something about those tires. :(

Here is the complete list so far:

http://homepage.mac.com/jpalmeda/cars_pc_matrix.html

In case you all forgot what my Celica looked like, browse through the NC.org gallery or in the above link, select my Celica from the list of project cars. :gap:


...and I like my low profile appearance. ;) Oh, and the tail lights - before you ask - are stock on the '05s.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
XR. I couldn't justify getting a XR-S considering how much time I spend stuck in traffic.

Handling sucks in stock form. I was one of the people who complained about the "minivan" feel. Hence, the suspension upgrades. As I stated in the previous post, I still need to upgrade the tires from the crappy stock ones (squeals a lot now on hard corners). I've gone canyon running with them - certainly nothing above 7/10ths with them - and they're a cheap, sad solution.

I should update my future plans list to say 215/55/16, as Yokohama does not make that configuration for the AVS ES100's. Other Matrix owners have found that the above size is the sweet spot. However, I could always go for the high-end Kumhos.


Dollar for dollar, the three aftermarket suspension components (TRD springs, TRD strut tower bar, Progress rear sway bar) was the best investment I made. Of course, you can say that about any aftermarket suspension upgrade, especially with a stiffer sway bar set. It definitely handles like a go-cart with the mods (somewhat better than my Celica's handling with springs). I'm sure that my Celica would have been a lot better with a STB and sway bar set (though I couldn't convince myself to do it, and I didn't know any better at the time).

However, the handling of a modified suspension in a Celica would still own a Matrix even with suspension mods. By mods I'm talking about springs, stiffer sway bars, strut tower bar, and speed-rated high-performance tires. We're talking about two entirely different classes here, and the Celica is obviously geared more toward performance than the Matrix.

So why only a rear sway bar? Progress was going to make a full sway bar set, but they found that the stock front sway bar was good enough. If you've had the chance to check out the stock sway bar, you'll see how cheap and hollow it is. I was surprised just how much body roll that crappy solution was causing after installing the Progress RSB and comparing the differences.

Comparing weights, stock for stock, the Matrix is still heavier than the Celica...2700 lbs and 2400 lbs, respectively, even with the same powerplants (1ZZ-FE for the base and XR; 2ZZ-GE for the XRS). Not impressive on Toyota's part given their latest marketing strategy.

As a daily driver, my suspension setup is complete and perfect. IMO this should have been the stock setup.


Unfortunately, it's still no excuse for Toyota to shaft those who truly desire a lightweight sports car under 2500 lbs without an anemic power plant. IMO the Scion lineup is laughable. The tC may have potential, but it's still a bit on the husky side. The Solara? Don't even try autocrossing or canyon running that sucker (4000+ lbs!).

They really dropped the ball by discontinuing the Celica. Granted, the Celica sucks in that there isn't much you can do in straight line acceleration when compared to the other sport compacts on the road, it had lots of potential as an autocrosser with a nicer aftermarket suspension setup.


As far as future plans go? Once TRD gets off their ass and comes out with an updated CAI, I'll be happy with a little extra hp and torque (they claim 11 bhp and 9 ft-lbs torque).
 

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Kumho MXs are awesome. I would love a set to replace my worn out tires. I am also looking at Falken FK 451 for something that will last longer than the Azenis.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Originally posted by Nu Concept
explain.
After 2003, Toyota stopped making automatics for XRS due to the crappy shift points and the fact that hardly anyone could stay in lift for long.

I test drove a 5 speed XR and immediately realized how much torture it would be day in and day out in traffic...constantly going back and forth between 1st and 2nd.

A stick would have been fun, but considering that 80% of my driving is in bumper to bumper, I did not want to bother.

Besides, in a straight line the Trix isn't that fast (mid 15's to mid 16's). Granted, a S/C or turbo could do wonders if you had the money, but I feel the car's strength, like the Celica, is in handling (of course, after modding the suspension). Remember, too, that even with a 2ZZ and 6 speed mated to it, the car is still 2700 lbs.
 
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