For 1974, it seemed to Car and Track host Bud Lindemann even American Motors was proud of their product, proclaiming "This is the Matador". According to this vintage road test, while the Matador's new styling was well received, the rest of the car still needed some serious improvement.

While American Motors was solely responsible for the styling of the Matador, they used a few parts from Ford Chrysler and Chevrolet while putting the car together. As Lindemann points out the Matador X featured a GM steering column, Ford carburetor and Chrysler Torque-flite transmission. The Matador X was powered by AMC's top of the line 401 V8, which was capable of propelling the car to a very respectable 16.75 1/4 mile.

According to Bud Lindemann "the best thing AMC had going for it on the pylon course was the padded steering wheel" calling the car's body lean "excessive". It wasn't much better when it came time to stop the big Matador, producing some great video footage of the big car making "wild high speed emergency stops."

The Car and Track complaints about the Matador X didn't stop there though. In Lindemann's words the Matador was "thirsty", averaging a dismal 11.3 MPG while Car and Track had the car. This road test ends with the host wondering why "in an era of shortages, of which fuel heads the list, that so much emphasis was placed on styling and so little on economy".