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One of the cool features of my Toyota Matrix is how its gauges are invisible until you turn the car on. I think the display looks especially cool at night.

Astute readers may be curious as to why my car’s redline is so high, 7,800 RPM. It’s a feature of Toyota’s 2ZZ-GE four-cylinder engine, which was designed by Yamaha and built in Japan. It’s the go-fast engine in Toyota’s ZZ engine family. You’ll find versions of this engine in several Toyotas and, surprisingly, one Pontiac and two Lotuses.

Revving the engine past 6,200 RPM activates a second camshaft profile that boosts speed suddenly and considerably. It feels like turbo and is great fun. Unfortunately, my Matrix is hobbled with an automatic transmission, making it hard to reach the revs necessary to have this fun. If you ever buy a 2ZZ-GE-equipped Matrix (it will have the XRS badge on the hatch), go for the six-speed manual transmission.

I’m still talking about this car in the present tense because I haven’t disposed of it yet. It still has the front-end problems that aren’t worth fixing given the car’s market value. It’s days remain numbered. But with everything else going on I haven’t found time to deal with getting rid of it yet.


single frame: Speeding


14 thoughts on “single frame: Speeding

  1. DougD says:

    OOOHHH, I’ve never driven a Matrix at night. Like me, you are keeping the gas gauge below half for when you sell your car for peanuts.

    By the way, if anyone is put off by the automatic in Jim’s almost-free Matrix my Focus has a 5-speed and is similarly priced :)

    • That is a very real problem with this car. It leaks a tiny bit of oil anyway and unless it is topped off, reviving north of 6000 rpm lights the CEL. The code points at oil and the VVTi system.

  2. Steve Miller says:

    BTW, that’s not speeding, but do watch for radar the you’re north of 100 on I-865. Signed, Reckless SAAB driver.

    • I see cops on 865 all the time in the median trolling for speeders! It’s enough to keep me to reasonable speeds. Which is probably their point.

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