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Toyota Echo



  • kaz6kaz6 Posts: 331
    I had my life changed by motorcycling and what it made me appreciate most was simplicity. The Echo's straightforwardness and good power/weight ratio convinced me to buy one. Motorcycles and the Echo have a center mounted pod! ;)
  • babyboomerbabyboomer Posts: 205
    Why is the Ford Focus popular (5th best-selling car, behind Accord, Camry, Taurus, and Civic) when safety is an issue? The government (NHTSA) has begun six investigations this year, the latest (technically in the preliminary inquiry stage) concerns engine stalling suddenly and the suspension can collapse. That may be a record number of investigations for one vehicle at the same time. Focus has already had eight recalls.

    On the other extreme is the Echo. I don't think the NHTSA has had any inquiries on the Echo. So why do people buy that Focus?
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    Government must be broadcasting subliminal messages over public airwaves - "buy american, buy american".

    And it works admirably.
  • mdrewmdrew Posts: 32
    Don't pay attention to all those NHTSA warnings about the Focus (which I also read about in the paper). Edmunds says the "award winning Focus" is "wonderful...inspires confidence"; they even give it great marks for safety--no mention of any problems in their review. But then, they also recommend the "superior offering from Kia" over the Echo. (On second thought, I'd put more stock in the NHTSA.)
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    Yeah, listen to the editors of Edmunds instead of actual owners who respond to surveys from Consumer Reports. The editors over at CR compiled the results and found the Echo is the most reliable [new] small car. What do the people who actually own the cars know? ; )
  • sluglineslugline Posts: 391
    1) In the economy car class, it's all about "bang for the buck" for many buyers, and the ECHO simply doesn't compete in a straightforward comparison of feature/price ratios, due in large part to Toyota's option-package structure
    2) While both are tall-profile cars, the Focus has a styling closer to mainstream tastes; I have seen few people give "unattractive appearance" as a reason for not buying a Focus.
    3) Ford is manufacturing and shipping hordes of "Foci" to dealerships. (How many ECHOs are on the lot at your local Toyota dealership?) You can only sell a lot if you make a lot in the first place. . . .
    4) At least in my area, the Focus is advertised more frequently, usually with the lure of low financing or rebates.
    5) Hatchbacks are re-emerging as desireable cars, and the Focus is now available in ZX3 and ZX5 styles.

    I don't necessarily think the Focus is a better car, but there are reasons why it sells. . . .
  • babyboomerbabyboomer Posts: 205
    Good answers slugline. Now please give me your best five reasons why people should buy the Echo.
  • sluglineslugline Posts: 391
    Five reasons to choose ECHO over Focus:
    1) The KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly) Principle: If you don't need all the "toys" that have become standard features in most cars recently, it's may still be possible to come away with a truly cheap car.
    2) "I can always find my car in a parking lot.": The styling isn't goofy to YOU, and you don't mind having a different car from everyone else.
    3) High-tech engine: Despite giving up half a liter of displacement to the Focus, lack of acceleration doesn't even come close to being an issue, largely thanks to VVTi. One of the payoffs is. . . .
    4) "Honey I shrunk the minivan.": Boxy styling doesn't generate much emotional passion, but it does generate interior volume. The smaller engine (and engine compartment) also helps leave more room for passengers and cargo. The ECHO even ends up with a larger trunk than a Focus sedan. The other payoff of the 1.5-liter engine is. . .
    5) Ultimate commuter vehicle: This Toyota is more ECHOnomical on gas than any other new car out there that doesn't get battery assistance. At a 45/55 highway/city driving ratio, the EPA projects that the ECHO will have a 20-25% advantage in this area.

    That's five, and I didn't even need to touch any quality/reliability issues.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    1) Comfort
    2) Space
    3) Style
    4) Fuel economy
    5) Safety
  • echo01echo01 Posts: 19
    All I can figure about the Echo's poor sales is that the car just for some reason lacks "snob appeal".

    The car is after all reliable, performs well, made by a manufacturer with a very good reputation for quality, is more comfortable than other small cars (and many larger ones). AND the people who own them love them. The problems that owners report are minor.

    I think that the Echo appeals to people who think for themselves and are looking for good, objective value in the cars they buy. Not all of these people will or should buy the Echo, but it's the kind of car that would appeal to the person who thinks independently and makes up his own mind about things.

    But there are quite a few people who don't do this. Their first thought about buying a car is "what will other people think of me?". They are probably buying a car to make some sort of fashion or "lifestyle" statement. It matters to them that other people think they are "successful" or "cool" or whatever.

    The original Edmunds review is a perfect example of this second-hand mentality. For instance, the guy thought it was really important that one's future in-laws approved of the car one drove.

    I've read other negative reviews in car magazines which shall remain unnamed, and without exception these were filled with comments that were not based on anything except that the reviewer didn't think the Echo looked like what he thought a car should look like. No objective facts, just the rantings of a car-snob. Or these people will take what is a *great* feature of the Echo, such as its center-mounted pod, and make up reasons why this is a bad thing, without giving it much thought.

    I've always ignored what people like this have to say, but I am sure plenty of people won't buy an Echo because they've read some self-styled expert say it's no good, and after all "he must know".

    Why doesn't the Echo appeal to car snobs? I haven't a clue, other than if someone's first thought is "what will the neighbors think?", he is unlikely to do anything in life but follow the crowd.

    As for the Echo-vs-Focus, the thing that amuses me is that before I owned an Echo, I used to regularly mistake these cars for each other when I saw them on the road. (I don't any more of course.) They really do have a very similar profile when I look at them.


    The best source of information for potential car buyers is a forum like this, where one can read what the experience of actual owners is. One can then look at facts, such as "I had problem X".
  • krakatokrakato Posts: 30
    I have a 2000 automatic 4 door ECHO and absolutely LOVE it! I've only got 8600 miles on it because it's a commuting car and I live fairly close to work. After I'd owned it less than a month, I was hit in the left rear door in a multi-car collision caused by an irresponsible driver in a Nissan. It was in the bodyshop for over a month. All that is background -- although I doubt it is relevant to the problem I'm having -- my very FIRST with this wonderful car!

    Here's what happens. First thing in the morning when I start the car up all is well. The blue "cool engine light" is still on as I back out of the driveway and drive down one block -- everything operates as normal. But after stopping at the corner and beginning to turn right, when I press the pedal to accelerate through the turn, there is a significant pause with little engine power and I have to pump the accelerator to get the car through the turn and accelerating normally again. It seems to happen primarily when I am making a turn -- although once I had trouble getting full power after stopping at a stop sign and then going straight. This only happens after the car has been sitting overnight or for a long time and the blue cool engine light goes on when I start it up.

    Has anything like this happened to anyone else in your ECHO? I'm going to take it into the dealer to check it out, but wondered if anyone on this great board has any ideas or suggestions about what is going on?

  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I would tell the dealer about it. Leave the car with them overnight, then go yourself in the morning and drive the car with a rep. It might be a throttle position sensor or something like that.
  • sluglineslugline Posts: 391
    The expected feature set in a new car is higher than it has ever been. Many "value-priced" models roll off the lots with gizmos that were only expected in luxury cars not too long ago, e.g. air bags, remote entry, etc. I think some people looking over the ECHO notice the lack of standard power locks and suddenly think they are in a car designed for 1982, not 2002. There are folks who don't expect features like these in their cars (some of them are nice posters here), but I really think it will never be possible for the ECHO to be a strong seller with this price/feature structure.

    The feature-laden competition isn't even just limited to cars like the Ford Focus or Kia Rio. Look at the recently introduced '03 Toyota Corolla. In CE trim, the Corolla is roughly $2000-$3000 more according to Edmunds TMV. However, that base Corolla includes air conditioning (with micron filtration), power mirrors, power steering, tachometer, clock, external temp gauge, and CD player. You'll also get the same hallmark quality and reliability of Toyota in a larger car that gets virtually the same fuel economy, at least with the automatic transmission. And isn't the optional cruise control nice for road-trippin'?

    When it comes to buying a new car, I think the typical American is OK with spending the extra cash for those benefits. As it stands, the ECHO is a good fit for the mission of economical commuting within dense urban areas. The size of that niche is evidenced by the sales figures.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I like my Echo because it is a model of efficiency - outstanding gas mileage, incredibly efficienty use of space, comfortable and quiet, and cheap to maintain. On top of that, it out-accelerates and out-handles the 1960's sports car my college roommate had, and sure is a lot safer and quieter than the (non-airconditioned) Beetle I had back then. Just because the "bar" has been raised so high these days, by cars like the Miata, Celica, Z3, it is easy to forget just how good the Toyota Echo is compared with the choices of the the last 50 years of motoring. This car is a lot closer to what the original Mini was, in function and market aim, than the new Mini, and a lot cheaper.

    The problem is, current drivers like monster trucks (which they replicate with Monster SUV's) more than sportscars, and most of the rest want more prestigious vehicles. That leaves so-called "economy car" drivers as the likely market choice, and they "upgrade" to Corollas and Civics....

    Hasn't anyone checked out what European drivers have to choose from? The "stock" US version of the Echo is closer to the "high performance" Yaris over there, than to the "commuter" Yaris.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I kind of understand what "slugline" was saying about the equipment levels. I think the Echo is the only car out there that doesn't have power steering or a clock standard. I think they should at least make these features, as well as a CD player, standard. Also, remote mirrors would be cool as well.

    Alot of people need economical cars now, but they are willing to pay more to have the luxuries (power accessories, remote entry, etc.) that used to only come on bigger cars. Also, more small cars have these features as well. I think it would be a smart move to make at least some of this stuff standard-fare.

    As far as styling, I don't think they should change a thing. I like the Echo myself, and would have bought one except that it doesn't have enough leg room for me to sit comfortably in. The styling is unique, and that's cool in a world of mostly cookie-cutter designs.

    And if you ask me, the new Corolla's tires look like they are too small or something. They make the car look funny. The Echo is cool though.
  • echo01echo01 Posts: 19
    After almost a year of owning my Echo, I finally got two small rock chips on the hood. So I went out and bought the Toyota touch-up paint and painted over them.

    And... I don't think I did a very good job: the brush that comes with the touch-up paint is just a little too big for these small chips. I covered the area where the paint had chipped off, but ended up overlapping the undamaged paint too.

    I've heard of these "paint pens" also - does anyone have any experience touching things up using them? Are they well suited to touching up small chips and avoiding applying an excess of paint? Or, is touching up rock chips just a matter of more practice, or is there maybe some kind of buffing that should be done after the touch-up?

    Thanks for any advice.
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025

    And it looks like they've learned the lesson.

    Look what is coming to your freindly "TOY" dealership: (it's not funny anymore)

  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    Just checked the Toyota site.
    These things are ASSTEK ugly:
  • sluglineslugline Posts: 391
    Hey echo01, you got your touchup paint from a dealership, right? How much did it cost? I need to pick up a bottle of Black Sand Pearl for the SO's ECHO -- the front of the hood has been taking quite a beating.
  • geegee1958geegee1958 Posts: 29
    and echo01 is right, the brush is not so good at doing small chips. My car is alpine silver, and I also have several rock chips, and I touched them up with the paint from the dealer.
  • sluglineslugline Posts: 391
    On another non-Edmunds forum, I read that a toothpick makes an ideal tool for touching up small spots of chipped paint. . . .
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I small artists' brush from an arts and crafts store also works pretty well too. The brushes with the touch-up paints are frequently too big for little chips, so you improvise. :)
  • echo01echo01 Posts: 19
    I paid $5.99 plus tax for my Toyota touch-up paint. They also had the touch-up paint pens there, but not in my color (red) - I don't know what their price is.

    I will say that the paint matches exactly, and at this rate, the little tube of paint will last me for years. I think the brush that comes with it is more useful for big scrapes and dings; I'll get a smaller brush for rock chips.
  • lynnann1lynnann1 Posts: 85
    the bbX looks like a Fisher Price toy -- the ccX isn't as bad - maybe something one could possibly grow to sorta kinda like given time....
  • wrgrahamwrgraham Posts: 112
    I really enjoyed reading the bunch of recent comments about the Echo's overall value and appeal, or lack thereof. Seems to me that the comments were well thought out. I just want to also point out that I was set to buy a Corolla in 2000 when I bought my Echo. Or a Civic, alternatively. But my daughter and my wife wouldnt have any part of those two because there wasnt room enough in the back seat. And they were dead right. So it was Accord or Camry versus the Echo. With the great $$ savings from buying an Echo we made the choice and spent some of the savings on things that we also really wanted at that time. We all love the Echo now. What a good outcome! (Maybe a Mazda Protege would have been a good alternative. Unfortunately Mazda dealers and salespeople are terrible around here.)
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    The Echo has not succeeded well in the marketplace for several reasons. The first is styling-it just looks cheap and ugly to most people. Styling does sell cars. The second was the center of dash mounted speedometer. I don't care how much you try to justify that location, people view it as just too strange. The above reactions were what mine were the first time I saw it as a new model at an auto show. My first impression was, "Boy, Toyota really screwed up with this car, it will not be a winner in the marketplace." Guess I was pretty much right, huh?
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    The center mounted speedo sure doesn't seem to be hurting the sales of the Mini.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Since styling is purely opinion of buyer, then one car company can't please everyone. If they could, there wouldn't be so many cars to choose from.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Well,I wouldn't buy a mini either, as I prefer not to overpay for a tiny vehicle. However the mini is being marketed as a nostalgia revival, just like the new Beetle. It will likely create a stir among a small audience, as has the Beetle, but will likely never generate large numbers of customers. The Echo, on the other hand is up against a lot of small economy cars-Corolla,Civic,Focus, etc etc..... As such, it is not going to succeed in penetrating this more mainstream market.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Well, Toyota must have missed their expected market size on this one, otherwise they wouldn't be discontinuing the model.
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