Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
Hyundai introduced the Matrix/Lavita MPV in 2001 on the same platform as the Elantra and sold them worldwide.
The minivan market was not very high in the beginning of the 2000s, but a few vehicles were able to attract customers. Hyundai believed that if the car was designed right and the technical platform was good, it could sell a minivan in high numbers. Thus, it hired Pininfarina Design Studio to create a unique shape for the Matrix. The result was far better than other existing small-segment minivans on the market.
Pininfarina managed to create a taller Elantra, but without making it look too tall or egg-shaped. At the front, the Hyundai-specific front fascia was followed by the short and ascending hood. The greenhouse featured the most distinct look on the market, thanks to the kink on the C-pillars, where the design company installed its logo. While the third window was shorter in height, it didn’t impend the driver’s visibility to the rear quarter. In the back, the carmaker installed the taillights vertically on the quarter panels so it could install a wider tailgate.
Inside, Hyundai made a roomy interior thanks to the high-mounted seats. At the front, the long dashboard featured a center-mounted instrument cluster slightly tilted toward the driver. Since it installed the gear-stick on the center stack, it improved the driver’s position, who didn’t have to reach too much for it. In the back, the carmaker installed a bench for three with a tilting backseat.
Under the hood, the carmaker installed a choice of three engines: two gasoline and one turbo-diesel. All three of them were paired to a five-speed manual, while the 1.8-liter gasoline was available with a four-speed automatic as well.