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Toyota Echo

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  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,691
    I heard they allow them to do that in California. Also in California the law forces automakeers to sell so many cars a year that get very high mileage. So the automakers come up with outlandish cars like the Prius that they charge a fortune for. If ECHO is discontinued we just might be stuck with something like the Prius. Hybrids are an idea whose time has come...to die!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,746
    I agree that if the ECHO can meet your needs, it's economically a better choice than a Prius. But the ECHO doesn't meet everyone's needs. For me, the alternative to a Prius is not an ECHO or a small car like it, but a minivan or a mid-sized station wagon. At best, those vehicles will give me 20 mpg in city driving. My Caravan is getting 13 mpg right now in very cold weather. I'm no dummy. I've done the math. For me, for my needs, the Prius is lower cost than the alternatives. I don't see why some people are in such a snit about a midsized car that gets high mpg, has super-low emissions, seats five, has hatchback versatility, lots of safety features, and some fun high-tech gadgets too--all for a price that is less than the average new car price these days. If the ECHO is the right car for you, that is great. It's just not the right car for everyone. Neither is the Prius. Live and let live.
  • sfechosfecho Posts: 26
    I was in Costa Rica last week and it was an Echo paradise! Very few Hondas, BMWs, Fords etc. Without exaggeration, one in ten cars was an Echo. The Costa Rican cars are called Yaris, but they weren't the European version of the Yaris with the hatchback, just an American Echo with a different name. Costa Rica is a great travel destination, great scenery, a huge variety of plants and animals... cheap prices.
  • pulgopulgo Posts: 400
    I agree with you. A Prius is a great car and I'm sure its fun and rewarding to drive.

    I just think it is hilarious when people say it is so economical.
    Excellent mileage: YES.
    Economical: NO.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,746
    Economical compared to an ECHO--no.
    Economical compared to a minivan--yes.
  • This is for the host. Why is it that a search within this Echo discussion goes through 2 million posts? It ties up my system and I end up exiting the search because it takes too long. It never used to be like this. Why the change?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I don't know why the display says that. If you say Search This Discussion, that's all you are searching. I find the search feature to be remarkably fast, actually.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    According to the Associated Press, via the Philadelphia Inquirer, NHTSA has a new rollover test.
    The Echo was one of the early test vehicles, and did well.

    "Earning four stars were two SUVs, the Volvo XC90 and the Chevrolet Trailblazer 4x4; two station wagons, the Ford Focus and the Subaru Outback; the Chevrolet Silverado 4x4 and 4x2 pickups; and the compact Toyota Echo. Four stars means the likelihood of rolling over in a one-vehicle crash is 10 percent to 20 percent."

    http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/business/7877299.htm
  • It must be this antiquated webtv system that's hanging up. I tried the search option within this Echo board again and it still takes too long. Another reason to junk this system.
  • Hi all. I still have my ECHO and I still love it. I've had it almost 4 years now and have put a little over 60,000 miles on it. It still runs brilliantly, with no maintainence issues to report. As an aside, I was driving home the other night and saw an ECHO taxi-cab. Pretty cool. There is also an auto parts business around here that uses ECHOs as delivery vehicles.

    I hope you all are well and happy!
  • btr76btr76 Posts: 2
    the sales record of Echo in 2004. I found the drastic sales drop of Echo.(3,691 in Jun but only 339 in Dec.) I wonder why. Does it have anything to do with Scion Xa? Please let me know about your smart analysis. Any news article or report that explains Ehco sales in 2004 will be more appreciated. Thanks in advance, Echo drivers.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,691
    Where did you find the sales figures?
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I bought a Scion xA in September of 2003. I bought it from Longo Toyota, probably the nation's largest Toyota dealer, in El Monte, just east of downtown Los Angeles.

    I also bought an Echo from Longo, in April of 2002.

    When I bought the Echo from Longo they had about 20 or so in stock. When I bought the Scion, they told me they had no Echo's in stock, they would sell them if they could get them, but they aren't available. I asked them if this had anything to do with Scions and Echos coming off the same assembly line, and Toyota gearing up to sell more Scions than Echos. They just smiled.

    Anyway, last week I checked their website and they actually had about 6 Echos in stock.

    Certainly the days of stipper, under $10k stick shift, no power steering no aircon Echos seem gone forever.

    You might try Enterprise. They have been running nicely optioned Echos as rental cars.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I posted this to the Scion pages, but it may be of interest here. I may rejoin the Echo owners, since my mom is interested in keeping the car I loaned her while I worked on the Echo:

    Here is what I posted:
    I currently own a Scion xA with stick shift and 5,000 miles, but in 2002 had an Echo with automatic for 7,000 miles. It's been my mother's car for about 14 months and now has only 10,000 miles, but it needed some warranty work from Toyota, so I loaned her one of my cars and brought the Echo back north. While I have it, I can't resist upgrading the Echo, partly for the fun of it, and partly before I do anything to the Scion xA which I might regret, and some of the upgrades are pertinent to this discussion (and to the xA discussion, which is mostly moribund).

    I am surprised how responsive the Echo is, even with an automatic. I guess that is the benefit of being about 400 pounds lighter than the Scion xA. Likewise, although I don't have a tachometer to confirm it, the engine seems a lot less "busy" than the Scion xA. One person posted an rpm calculator which indicated 75mph is about 3,000 rpm, which may be right and compares favorably to the 3,750 rpm on the Scion xA.

    The Echo seems a tad - but only a touch - noiser than the Scion xA, which is surpising considering a good portion of the 400 pound weight differential on the Scion supposedly went into sound proofing. At highway cruise, the main difference in noise is some wind buffeting of the driver window. Engine noise is low on both cars, noise up through the tires is similar. That having been said, the Scion feels much better - solid, quite, deluxe. The Echo feels a little "tinny." But I can't put my finger on why, because the radio test - how loud I have to turn the radio on to hear it at highway speeds - indicates both cars are similar.

    Anyway, I dropped in a K&N air filter on the Echo (also fits the Scion) to see if there was any performance increase, and swapped out the factory muffler for a Dynomax Super Turbo, the 17709 verions which is 7" round and 18" long. This is supposed to breathe much better than factory stock, but is very, very quiet. Truth is, I don't notice much difference in pep after the changes, but the motor doesn't seem to "roar" as much when it throws a downshift on a freeway onramp. In other words, the factory system is not "choking" this motor. I will say this though: the Echo took a long time to break-in, and now the motor and tranny are much more responsive. Also, since I am not worried about thrashing the car, I am driving it more aggressively - getting on the throttle to force downshifts instead of pussyfooting it. Driven this way, the Echo is surprisingly sporty. I wish the Scion were 400 pounds lighter!

    One piece of curiosity when the Echo, muffler was removed, is that there was no electrical plug into the muffler. The Echo brochure and website indicate that there is supposed to be an electrically operated "cut out" in the muffler that opens and closes based on engine load and rpm, to allow better breathing when performance demands it. In fact, there is NO electrical lead to the muffler. Maybe it's in the resonator - the resonator before the muffler is about as big as some Civic sport compact mufflers, and almost as big as the stock muffler, and in fact the car wasn't that loud with the stock muffler off altogether (the muffler shop tried Flowmaster and Magnaflow mufflers before I settled on the Super Turbo).

    So why am I reporting this? Because on my xA, I get a boom/resonating noise between 65 and 80. It's about the only thing I don't like about the xA (other than the laughable "trunk") and I'd like to get rid of the droning noise. My bet is a Super Turbo will do the job, at a lot less cost (and possibly less noise) than the TRD aftermarket muffler. The overall increase in exhaust noise will be less, and in fact the Super Turbo has a nice "sound" to it.

    I paid $165 for parts and installation - $120 of that was a parts charge for the Dynomax 17709 muffler which is no longer current stock (the 17710 is the same size, slightly larger input and output, but easily adaptable to the Echo's tiny pipe size). I found out after the fact that you can mail order Dynomax's for considerably less - the 17710 mail order is only $67!

    Any one else done intake or exhaust work yet?
  • Hello!!

    My 2001 ECHO's Scheduled Maintenance Guide states that at 30.000 Miles or 2 years spark plugs need to be replaced, which is required under the Emission Control Warranty. I would like to know if there are any newer model owners that can share with me if this is the same guideline for their models.

    I am puzzled by the fact that it seems to soon to change spark plugs. The Corolla 2004 I just bought requires the same change but at 120.000 miles or 96 months.

    Any ideas?

    THANK YOU!!
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    As you can tell from the immediately prior posting, I am driving my mother's (formerly my) Echo for a few weeks. It has 10,000 miles on it, 195-60 x 14 Bridgestone 950's, a new Dynomax performance muffler (Super Turbo, ultraquiet) and a K&N airfilter. No service work except oil changes every 3,000 miles; currently running Mobil 1 0W-20 oil.

    I got rid of this car due to instability in crosswinds and "dartiness" at highway speeds.

    Curiously enough it felt plenty solid on the drive home no the interstate; hummed along at 85 mph with nary a complaint, though I tried to keep it down to 76 so I wouldn't get a ticket (posted 70 mph, and the California CHP are in a "write a ticket, raise money for our broke state" mode).

    I have ordered Monroe Sensatracs, which are made for European Yaris's but are sold here by Monroe for Echos. The tech support line told me they should be much firmer than American stock and I will let you know when I get them on. However, quite frankly I find stock fairly firm. On my Scion xA, the stock struts and shocks are WAY too harsh, to the point where I was going to dump the car, but after 5,000 miles they have softened up considerably. On the Echo, my goal is to hit midway between stock Echo and stock xA - firm enough to lose the susceptibility to crosswinds, not as firm as the teeth juddering xA.

    My interest in the Echo has been rekindled by the Scion. Although the Echo isn't as nicely styled as the xA, it has a certain character and, much more importantly, a TRUNK. The xA has a laughably small space behind the rear seat. The xB has much more passenger space, but the luggage space is equally small. Both the Scions can, of course, fold down their seats and gain lot of luggage space, at the cost of rear seat passengers.

    The xA seems more solid, but not a lot quieter, than the Echo. I am wondering why the xA is 400 pounds more than the Echo!

    BTW, for the life of me I couldn't get the air filter in. The clearance on the Echo is so tiny unless you disconnect a bunch of hoses. I had to have a shop put in the new air filter.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I don't understand this either, but Echo owners are not alone, Dodge Neon owners use conventional spark plugs (not iridium or platinum) and require replacement every 30,000 miles). Apparently some Echo owners have iridium plugs that go 100,000 miles.

    Keep in mind that the iridium plugs apparently sell for $11 each on the internet, while the conventional plugs are 1.20 each. Also, my mechanic cautions against leaving plugs in for 100,000 miles, he says 50,000 miles is enough, or they will be too hard to get out of the cylinder head, in bad shape etc. So maybe the economics of the cheaper plugs in the Echo is not unreasonable.

    My dealer doesn't charge extra labor for the 30,000 mile service on the Echo, just the parts for the replacement plugs. Rationale is, service charges on their "packages" are flat rated for cars with or without longlife plugs. However, my dealer told me to wait for coupons to come in, get it done cheaper.

    Since my mother's Echo is approaching its two year anniversary, but only has 10,000 miles, I may do the plug change and other 30k services early, at 15,000 miles, just so the car has a good going over before the warranty (bumper to bumper) expires.

    Sure is nice to have an additional 5 years, 60,000 miles on the power train. Honda doesn't offer that.
  • Thanks Mr. Webber. It seems your mechanic is on the right track. What did you pay for the 30.000 mile service. Did you also change the engine coolant?

    Later and thanks for your help.
  • sluglineslugline Posts: 391
    I'd be a little surprised to hear that an '01 ECHO came loaded with conventional plugs from the factory. My girlfriend's '00 was equipped with Denso Iridiums.

    I'm not sure why it would be necessary to change them any sooner than necessary. If I was just worried that they may be hard to extract after 100k-mi, then I'd just take them out after 30k-mi, slip a little anti-seize grease on the threads and torque them back in. Assuming that they aren't fouled or worn, why throw out working iridium plugs?

    On the topic of sales: There's hardly any marketing, so it's not surprising that the car is not selling. A few months ago we went to a Rockets game in Houston's new Toyota Center. During the game the arena-encircling scoreboard would periodically scroll ads for every Toyota model -- except the ECHO. On the concourse, there are showroom-like displays of every Totota model -- except the ECHO. I get the impression that Toyota would't mind seeing this car just fade away.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I put the Monroe Sensatracs on the Echo this afternoon. These are the shocks and struts made in Belgium presumably to European Yaris specs.

    The first thing I noted was more noise from the body of the car. The new dampers are sufficiently "stiff" to transmit more noise into the body. However, the ride doesn't feel appreciably stiffer. Like the Scion, though, it is now a little "choppy."

    I will report back on whether handling has improved and wind resistance has improved (the goal by going to replacement dampers). The stock Echo is an excellent handler on the street, its deficiencies only come out at higher speeds, where the body rolls a bit and doesn't dampen out fast enough in transitions (left-right-left).

    Quite honestly, on this second visit to the Echo, I am impressed by what a good little handler it is, in stock form.

    I'll let you know whether the Echo has been "scioned" and is now too harsh, or is just firmer enough to eliminate the cross wind issue I had with it last year.

    BTW, I like the muffler and K&N filter a little better now. Noise level is not up from the air box or exhaust, but the engine seems to rev easier and not sound as thrashed when it downshifts on hard acceleration (it sounded like it was working pretty furiously, before).
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,691
    As you know, your reviews of ECHO have not been as positive as they could be. This in spite of almost nothing but good vibes about the car from us, the owners. I would like to ask you to revise your estimate of ECHO. It seems to me that there is a catagory of car which you do not appear to recognize. That is, a practical, economical, and durable car which is inexpensive. In the past this mantel was worn by the VW Beetle. Thirty years ago, Beetles were bought by the millions by Americans who appreciated being thrify and getting a good value. Also, the car was a symbol for those who valued preserving our ecology. Clearly this mantel has passed onto the llittle ECHO today. Unfortunately the buying public, probably reflecting your negative comments, has not taken to ECHO the way they did the Beetle. As is all too apparent in your reviews of cars, todays public wants bigger, more expensive and wastefull cars. The benefits of large segments of the populations owning cars like ECHO would be huge. It would allow us to dictate oil prices to OPEC for one thing, instead of the other way around. (I understand they are brazenly raising oil prices again, cashing in no doubt on the greed of American consumers) For another it would greatly help to conserve natural resources. How long is it going to be before we will reap the bitter consequences of our out of control consumtion habits? It gives me a great sense of well being to be driving my ECHO and not being a part of this wastefullness and making ourselves slaves to others. Couldnt you stress that a little more in your review of ECHO? You would be doing a great service to our country and its people to push cars like ECHO instead of panning them. Thankyou.
  • Hey everyone, I've lurked on this board a while and learned a lot thanks to all of you but this is my first post. I've just got a few questions.
    1) I've got a 2001 Echo with 25K miles. I changed spark plugs at the request of the dealership at 2yrs (only 15K miles). Should I change plugs every 2 yrs regardless of mileage? I do a lot of city driving in cold weather.
    2) My Echo has been mechanically perfect but now the horn failed? Any ideas? Luckily still under warranty but I've gotta make time to get it into the dealership.
    3) My Echo has Goodyear Integrity tires. When did people first have to get new tires? Are Michelin X-Radials from a warehouse club any good?
    4) Once the car is off warranty, I was going to do even more of the maintenance. Other than "inspecting" a variety of components, anything that I should replace other than oil (mobil -1 synthetic every 5K) and oil filter (puralator-pure one) and the air filter every 2 yrs. Is there anyway to do more work on the Echo without lifting it up on jacks? I'm afraid of the thing landing on me. I've seen some bad accidents.
    5) Anyone found any decent wiper blades for the Echo in the appropriate sizes that don't sqeak? I've never replaced wiper blades myself, any advice on how to go about it?
    Thank you all for your help!
    I fully agree:
    MORE ECHOs in America = fewer GIs in Mid-East
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,691
    If you drive in the city probably not a bad idea to change the plugs. But I tend to leave them in because they last so long these days. Check the condition when you take them out. On my motorcycle long cross country trips they last 25k miles. Around town 8k is more like it.
      I check the cv joint boots every tinme I change the oil (three times a years) I use ramps to get the car up in the air. Theyre probably good for many years and miles but if they go the axles will have to be replaceed. Check the fuses for your horn I suggest. I would also change your oil at least three times a year since you ride in the city. Good luck!
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    It is very likely that the editors will not see your post about their reviews in this discussion.

    The best thing to do is to submit your comments directly to the editors using this link: editor@edmunds.com. Alternatively you can click on one of the Help links (at the very bottom of the page and also on the left sidebar) and then click on "Contact Us" and convey your comments that way.

    Let us know what response you get!
  • I agree strongly with your plea for more favorable reviews of cars like the Echo.

    Someday, one hopes, fuel efficiency and economy of ownership will again become marketing points. To get to that point more quickly, it surely would be helpful for the automakers and the commentators (like Edmunds, like Click and Clack)to realize the dangerous dependence of this nation on oil imports, and to take the lead in helping to educate the public about it.

    But I believe that what Pogo said (We have met the enemy and it is us) is very applicable, too. We, as a nation, do not bother to educate ourselves about the true nature of the oil problem, and we, collectively, install decision makers (of both political parties)in government who will not or cannot address the issue.

    Crisis can often motivate democracies to act on tough problems, and the events of 9/11 might have been used by leaders to put into place new fuel efficiency standards or other policies to reduce our dependence on oil. At that time the public was ready to make some sacrifices; one modest sacrifice could have been a gasoline tax to help pay for the war against terrorism and at the same time help to reduce fuel consumption. History aches for such acts of leadership.

    In the meantime, until the next crisis, please continue your campaign for the Echo and for small efficient cars. There are many people who are cheering!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,691
    Thankyou for your comments, fuelmiser. I have a bad feeling there arent a lot of people cheering. But nuts to them. Heres to frugality!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,746
    We need more good, small, inexpensive cars like the ECHO. Fortunately some automakers, including Toyota, are realizing this and there are a number of new inexpensive, fuel-efficient models that have recently debuted or will soon, including the Scion xA and xB, Aveo, redesigned Spectra and Rio, and an updated Focus. The Honda Jazz is slated to come here in a year or so also. If Toyota decides not to continue selling the ECHO in the U.S. that would be too bad, but at least buyers will have the Scions, which IMO are better values than the ECHO.
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    While I'm a big fan of small cars, I do find a disurbing trend emerging. The engines are getting bigger and bigger and the fuel economy is going down. This is at least true for the Ford Focus, Scion tC and certain Honda models (reduced city MPG but better highway MPG).

    It will always be better than an SUV, but when comparing a Camry with a tC (for example) you get the same mileage and at that point if you want a lot of room you go for the bigger car.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    The dealer was probably ok to change the plugs at 15,000 miles. The warranty booklet requires service on a "time or mileage" formula, so to preserve your warranty, if you drive less than 15,000 miles a year, you need to do the 30,000 mile service (spark plugs) at the 24 month moment, not wait until you hit the 30,000 miles. As a side benefit, a major service like the 30,000 miles service is where the dealer is likely to spot problems while still under warranty (although the power train is warranted for 5/60,000).

    As part of the "major" 30,000 mile service, you should have also had the coolant replaced. Recommended, but not required by the warranty booklet, is brake fluid replacement (which you can usually defer to 24-36 months of service - it's a moisture contamintion issue, not a usage issue). My dealer also likes to do a "minor" auto transmission service, which is to drain and replace a portion of the tranny fluid (even though it is currently a synthetic). At 60,000 miles they recommend a full flush of the tranny. This is not required at all by the warranty booklet, but is generally considered a good idea to keep the tranny free of problems.

    I agree with Kneisel that plugs usually have a longer life, even the conventional (non-platinum) plugs "most" Echos come with (I have heard that some came with iridium plugs - mine are conventional). The way to know whether you have conventional or longlife plugs is to read the sticker under the hood, which indicates what kind of plugs your car has. Also check your owner's manual.

    A non-demanding driver can usually get 30,000 miles from conventional plugs. This is due to the high voltage electronic ignition systems in these cars. However, conventional electrodes begin to wear around the edges - they don't "go out of gap," but the square edges get softer, and sparkplugs rely on "sharp" edges to discharge most effectively (the platinum/iridium coatings don't prevent deposits, they just prevent the "edge wear"). Neon enthusiasts (of which I guess I am one, since I have a Neon too) also have conventional plugs, and the recommended "performance upgrade" is NOT to change to platinum plugs, but to change out the conventional plugs at 10-15,000 miles, to keep them at optimal performance.

    I would follow the dealer's recommendations to keep the warranty (including the extended power train warranty) in place, but don't hesitate to shop for other dealers' prices, and make sure you are on "coupon" mailing lists. Most dealers will also match coupons from other Toyota dealers, so a good strategy is to have your car serviced at the same dealer, so you have a friend to negotiate warranty repairs for you from Toyota, but use their coupons or have them match other dealer's coupons to get the cheapest service price.

    The only thing I don't like about my local Toyota dealer, is they offer oil additives and other fluid additives, which are a big "no no" from the oil companies etc. However, these extra price additives are optional, and my local dealer does great work otherwise.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I used to resent the "down grade" from Edmunds and other reviewers of the Echo. I think the bad reviews are not because the Echo is a bad car (though it is sensitive, in stock form, to crosswinds) but because the Echo is grossly overpriced when properly optioned. For example, the year I bought my Echo (2002) even power steering was an option. When you add the packages necessary to bring an Echo up to, say, Corolla comfort levels, suddenly the Echo is very pricey vs. a Corolla. Yet, Echos used to be advertised under $10,000 by dealers as loss leaders, with no air, no powersteering, and those miserable little paddle mirrors you can't even adjust with the windows up.

    I like the Echo, and even have my mom's Echo back on loan. However, to put things into context, you need to compare it to the Scion. I checked the purchase paperwork on my Scion against the Echo, and the Scion was only about $1,000 more than my stripped Echo - yet the Scion has power windows, power locks, power mirrors, luxury upholstery, a stunning dash, and "aftermarket" sound system ---and the car magazines all love it, rave about it, etc. Why? Because of the price/value ratio. Essentially, under the skin, they are the same car, I can assure you, and the Echo is even more practical, with its very large trunk, bigger than the xA OR the xB. The only "measurable" Scion advantage is the xB has more rear seat legroom due to an extended wheelbase.

    In short, if the Echo had been properly packaged and priced (with a stiffer suspension to get rid of the "windy city blues"), it probably would have gotten rave reviews. But after 7,000 miles of driving the Echo myself, and revisiting it for 1,500 more miles a year later, I have to say...

    EDMUNDS WAS RIGHT.
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