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Toyota Echo



  • I was planning to drive up to the Buffalo, NY area and go over into Canada to get the hatchback. The recent orange alert has me worried about delays at the border, so now I am thinking of the US version again. Is the US Echo supposed to be phased out to make way for the Scion? Maybe I need to make a decision on this one soon. I don't want the Scion. It is heavier, more expensive, and gets less gas mileage than the Echo.
  • which was made by Suzuki and which, in the ER model, got up to 60 US mpg. That was 17 years ago. Admittedly, it is a small, lightweight car, but the technology that created it seems to have foundered. For those in the US wanting an environmentally sound car at a reasonable price without all the bells and whistles, there is nothing offered today to compare to the Sprint.

    The complaint I have about the hybrids is that 1)they are not inexpensive to purchase initially, 2)the batteries, which surely have a finite life, are extremely expensive: I have heard a figure of $US 5000 to replace the Prius batteries, and 3) the environmental cost of producing them cannot be small.

    The Echo might be considered the heir to the Sprint. However, the Echo's mileage is considerably less, the car is somewhat more expensive and (in the US at least) cannot be purchased without a number of pricey extras. It is not available in the US as a hatchback design, which is the only sensible design for such a small car.

    It appears that the relaxation of the CAFE standards in the US has sent unfortunate signals to the economy: that it is not important to save fuel, that it is OK to indulge in massive environmentally damaging cars and trucks, and that the current price of oil accurately reflects all the external costs (such as war, global warming, pollution, and the problem of finding a substitute when this diminishing resource becomes scarce).

    A small, simple, and relatively cheap car which gets high mileage could be (and should be) available to US consumers today, but it is not.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    I recently wrote a piece on hybrids in the Prius section. With the $10,000 you save buying an ECHO over a Prius, you can buy enough gas to drive the ECHO 16k miles a year for ten years. For $4000. That saves you $6K. I agree with you entirely about the unsuitability of hybrids. Its time they were revealed for what they are. A colossal waste of money and resources.
      PS if you want a stripper ECHO, try a dealer which is in an out of the way location. Big city dealers wont trouble you get you a stripped ECHO, but a hungrey one in podunk usa might. They might even have one in stock.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    I wonder how much of the weight difference is due to safety design and equipment.

    Were the Sprints built to last, like a Toyota is? (I truly don't know, I'm asking here.)

    How much does safety equipment add to the cost?

    And I wonder how much the price difference would be in inflation-adjusted dollars. (Seventeen years is a long time.)
  • My Sprint has 201,000 miles on it and still runs fine. It has some rust; for that reason I think it is important to replace it. How much does it weigh? I am not sure, but I would guess less than 2000 lbs, empty. It is powered by a 1000 cc 3 cylinder, OHC engine thru a 5 speed manual transmission. I do not consider it underpowered, because it goes down the freeway quite happily at 70 MPH.

    How much weight does safety equipment (mainly airbags) add to a car? I would guess not much. Anti-lock brakes? Again, I would say not much.

    The Sprint cost me $US 6000 and change in 1987, not including taxes. That was a stripped car: no air, no power windows, no radio even. The 2004 Echo I got a quote on was $11,500, at a dealer in Maryland. This Echo had the usual package with air and other stuff, so it is not a perfect comparison to the Sprint. I would guess that, if one were to adjust for inflation, the air bags, and the (not optional) extras, the price would come out much the same for the 2 cars. But then, the Sprint comes out way ahead because of its phenomenal gas mileage.

    I often hear the argument that light cars are not as safe as heavy cars. From the standpoint of physics, I would have to agree that if everything else is equal, the heavy car, when it collides head-on with the light car, will be safer to be in than the light car. To counter that gloomy realization, I offer this point of view: it is true that I am exposing myself to a slightly greater danger of dying or being injured by driving the light weight Sprint. (I try to offset this a bit by driving more defensively.) But I feel that our nation, partly due to its obsession with huge cars, is dangerously dependent on oil imports. This dependence in part has caused us to engage in war, thereby costing the lives of our young men and women. One might by extension argue that by driving small cars and accepting a bit more danger as drivers, we could collectively lessen our nation's oil addiction, and the wars that are fought (and the lives that are lost)to sustain that addiction.
  • Babyboomer and sfecho: thanks for the updates. If I find out anything more specific about the situation, I will post it here.

    - Matt
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    Wow, great miles, especially out of a very small engine (1000cc, 3-cyl).

    In the 201k miles you put on the Sprint, did you need to do anything other than routine oil & filter/fluids maintenance, such as timing belt, water pump, tranny, suspension, etc?
  • I have had to put about 4 new exhaust systems in it (down stream from the catalytic converter). These were after-market systems and I put them on myself. This is a great argument for a stainless steel exhaust system!

    I have had perhaps 3 timing belt replacements. They are fairly simple and cost about $120 each. For comparison, the local VW dealer quoted me $640 to replace the timing belt on a VW Golf diesel.

    I replaced the rear axle due to rust problems near a welded joint. This cost about $300.

    I replaced the carburetor with a rebuilt one. I don't think it really needed this; rather I think the mechanic did not know how to work on it.

    I have been religious about oil changes, which I do myself. I replaced a thermostat once. Except for that, the cooling system has never needed attention.The clutch is still holding up fine, as is the transmission. I have been very gentle with the clutch and I don't detect any significant wear on it.

    I get about 80,000 miles on a set of tires. I always buy the best tires - usually Michelin.

    That is about it. It may not be quite as hardy as a Toyota, but it has been a very reliable car over the years.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    Good stuff. Thanks.
    60 mpg from a carburetor (not f.i.)? Wow.
    Sounds like original clutch? Wow again.

  • m4ethm4eth Posts: 101
    Quote from prior message...The Yaris in Europe comes with a 1.4 liter diesel, 75 hp, with a rating of 46 MPG city, 63.5 MPG highway. I'll bet you would like it. 0 to 60 is about 12 seconds, top speed is 106 mph.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    The Prius is alrready out of business but people unable to do the math arent paying attention. It makes no sense to buy a car that costs $10k more than a gas ECHO, when it will only save a couple of thousand dollars in fuel over the life of the car. Its amazing the excuses Prius owners have for thier car. Like, it seats five people whereas ECHO seats four. Duh! Hybrids are an incredibly expensive way to save on gas. But I would love that diesel Yaris.
  • I did a little investigation into the Yaris. See my posting here on Dec 10, 2003. I think that the reason that the Yaris cannot be imported has to do with emissions (mainly the fine particulates). The Europeans have decided that it is more important to save fuel than it is to have clean air, so they have gone for diesels in a big way. Here in the USA our fuel has historically been much cheaper than Europe, and we have decided that clean air is important (I agree). There is some work being done to clean up diesel emissions, and we may (eventually) be able to have the fuel efficiency of the diesel cycle along with clean air. If the US car-buying public insisted on fuel efficient cars, then this whole process would move along a lot faster, in my opinion.
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    If you succeed in importing a Canadian model vechicle, I'd be interested in hearing about it. Is it still worth it after duties and government fees? How will you insure a car that the insurance companies know nothing about (or register it). Do you still get a warranty?
  • I have done a bit of research on this. See my postings here dated Dec 10 and 11, 2003. I am told by the import agents that, for the Toyota Echo, there would be no problem getting the car registered. It takes about 10 days, and the agents will help with this. They charge about 300.00 US. There is a modest import duty for a Canadian Toyota Echo, because it is built in Japan. When you add it up you can still get an Echo hatchback for about what you pay for a sedan here in the US. The real reason for doing it is to get the hatchback, not to save money.

    Toyota US apparently will honor the warranty on Canadian Toyotas; at least that is what they told be when I called the corporate headquarters in California several weeks ago.

    The hatchback looks better, and is, in my opinion, a better design for such a small car. It is a shame that Toyota USA does not offer it. I think they are hoping that US consumers can be persuaded to by the Scion instead...
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    I have looked at the Scion and I can't understand why the mileage numbers are so low compared to the Echo hatchback. Also, Scion does not offer cruise control or a sunroon.

    I'm going to contact my insurance company to see how they can figure the premium and if they give me a rate comparable to an Echo.

    It says on Toyota's website that the US warranty is valid in all of North America... I'd imagine that should hold true for Canadian and Mexican.

    Are you still considering this option?
  • dgecho1dgecho1 Posts: 49
    Can somebody with a 2003 echo that has a tach get the rpm's at 60-65-70 mph?
    Don Gillespie
  • mazamamazama Posts: 5
    I read in a review of the Scions that their transmissions have a lower gear ratio than the Echo to help with performance, due to their heavier weight. That and greater wind resistance (particularly with the boxy Xb) explains the fuel mileage difference.
  • wrgrahamwrgraham Posts: 112
    My sister had a 1984 Honda Civic, which she got new for slightly over $5000. It was a 4 speed with a 1300cc engine. And it definitely got better gas mileage than my Echo. I drove it quite a lot, it got a bit above 45mpg, while my Echo has been holding steady at 42mpg.
    My 2000 Echo has 95K miles on it now. Like new.
    Regarding the tach or absence, from prior Road test magazine specs I can pass along that for 1000 rpms in the 5 gears you get almost exactly 5, 10, 15, 20, 25mph. All the actual numbers are within a half mph. Hope this helps.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    We're getting lots of snow here in NJ and Im getting lots of oppertunities to drive in it. Last night after 4 inches of snow I drove home in roads that were not plowed. Its amazing to me how the car is very similiar to my old VW beetle in snow. It most sincerely wants to swap ends at every chance it gets. We have few hills here, but it does not seem to get very good traction. Id hate to have to drive it on real hills back in New York. I have the Potenza tires and I wonder if getting a better tire would help.
  • pulgopulgo Posts: 400
    Well, I have been driving in snow the last few days and I am surprised by how good the car handles. I have a set of dedicated snow tires and it makes a world of difference. I got the cheapest snow tires available from Walmart and this is the third season I use them. If the right tires save your hide just once they are definitively worth the investment.
    Yesterday evening the driving through freezing rain was horrible for most everybody in my neighbourhood except me. Of course common sense dictates slowing down and adapting your driving to the weather conditions.
  • I am wondering if the Canadian Echo hatchback does better or worse than the sedan model in the snow...

    I think that the main factor in traction (for 2 wheel drive cars) is the percent of weight distribution on the driving wheels. Like Kneisl1, I too noticed phenomenal performance in my 1967 VW bug in slippery conditions. And my 1987 Sprint is maybe even better. (And that is without benefit of snow tires)

    I have not been able to find data on weight distribution for the Echo, or for any new cars, for that matter. I asked the Toyota dealer, but I think I just got a b.s. answer. Does anybody know a source for this information?
  • m4ethm4eth Posts: 101
    I have a set of Nokian Tires from Finland on my 2001 Echo..they work great!!! The orginal Potenza tires are rated only average in snow...see the Tire Rack for ratings. I still don't know why dealers sell dry climate tires for all regions...

    It would be nice to have a pick of the tire as an option for all you could get the tire you want for the driving you do.

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    Its amazing the excuses Prius owners have for thier car. Like, it seats five people whereas ECHO seats four. Duh!

    You are so right! That is one of the most ridiculous reasons I have ever heard for favoring one car over another--that it seats five while the other seats four (comfortably). I want to thank you because you have saved me from a costly mistake. I am going to call the Toyota dealer first thing tomorrow and cancel my Prius order. Then I'm going to buy an ECHO, a 4-door with automatic, power everything, heated mirrors, ABS with traction control and EBD, automatic climate control, alloys, voice-controlled navigation, side air bags and curtains, HID headlamps, VSD, steering-wheel controls for audio/climate/phone, cruise, Homelink, and the PZEV emissions option. Then whenever my entire family of five needs to go someplace, I'll just explain that someone needs to stay home. I think that is a small price to pay for the money I'll save buying the ECHO.

    Question for all the ECHO owners out there: has anyone done a hatchback conversion on an ECHO? I really like the versatility of the hatchback configuration, and the Yaris isn't available here unfortunately, nor are the Scion xA and xB--closest things to an ECHO hatchback in the States. If you did the conversion, what did it cost and what did it look like afterwards? Can you post a photo? Thanks.
  • dgecho1dgecho1 Posts: 49
    I have had a 2002 and now a 2002 echo and so a few comments......
    Mileage on the 2002 prius was always in the mid to high 50's under any reasonable conditions. Same conditions for the echo mid to high 40's.
    Both cars good in the snow and ice with regular tires.
    Prius is a litle bigger but you are not going to have 3 adults in the back with alot of room in either car- Incl. the 2004 upgrade prius. Size is size but I have sen a lot of mid-size SUV's with no more room than this.
    Prius price new=$21500 22000 out the door.Price for the echo @9000 miles was $9150 out the door. Echo has remote keyless entry, ac, auto, split/fold seats, 3-in-1 6 speaker sound, cc, trunk and stroage spots all over the car incl. under the passenger seat, heated mirrors not needed here nor an alarm, safety ratings better than prius. Go the thing off e-bay and it is the best echo ever owned /tested.scion xa was cramped and had less room small trunk,and cost a lot more than a new loaded echo [dont see the advantage-utility/economy is the gold standard for this class...]
    So, you have to test drive-lookat-resaerch- make up your own mind.
    Under BEST mileage conditions I got 60 mpg in the prius on a long trip and 55 mpg in an echo.
    Don Gillespie
  • dgecho1dgecho1 Posts: 49
    scion xb does look like a great choice for room to haul and economy relative to function!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    I dont want to be forced to pay twice as much for a car that gets 5 or 10 mpg more than my ECHO. The price of even a car like the Honda Civic is over $15,000 and heading UP. Where is it all going to end? The Prius is a car wealthy people buy so they can drive alone in the HUV lane in rush hour.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    I dont want to be forced to pay twice as much for a car that gets 5 or 10 mpg more than my ECHO.

    Who's forcing you? Keep your ECHO and drive happy!

    P.S. With the average price of a new car at around $25k now--which is what a fully-loaded Prius costs--there must be a lot of wealthy people in the U.S. Also I think very few states, Virginia for one, allow hybrid owners to drive in the HOV lanes with only the driver. So that's not a factor for most hybrid owners.
  • I recently read that the average new car price has exceeded $30,000.
  • pulgopulgo Posts: 400
    I happen to agree with kneisl1.

    The motivation for many to buy an Echo is frugality. I am one of those that want to drive a car that is inexpensive to by, to maintain and operate, excellent on gas with a low impact on the environment.

    To buy a Prius arguing that it get's outstanding mileage is in my view misguided. If you want to save, don't spend an extra $15k and buy an Echo. The extra mileage and savings achieved compared to an Echo is impossible to justify economically.

    If you have the $$ and want a car that get's very good MPGs, has a little bit more room, better ride and is at the cutting edge of technology, go ahead and get a Prius. But don't tell anybody you do it because you want to save money.

    Thank god we have plenty of choices when it comes to buying cars and I support freedom of choice, please don't misunderstand my comment.
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