Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Toyota Echo



  • I have been lurking around trying to find the 'ultimate' driving vehicle to commute from the Eastern Shore of MD to DC. Well, as you can image from me posting, the Echo seems to have won. I have invoked the 'autobytel' sword to get a blue one, 300 over invoice, with every option, cost, 13,741 (w/o tax, tags, etc.). I think for that price, you can NOT beat bang for buck. We have a Honda Ody (20 mpg) and a heavily modified Mitsu Eclipse GSX (26 mpg, but add synthetics, tires, etc. and it costs a lot). So....

    CReports observed mpg at 28/46 (manual). Is this accurate?

    Seems that the posts have been good about crashes/crash test ratings. Accurate?

    I am 6'5", seems to fit larger drivers well??

    Want to change a few things. seems to have a few parts that I could squeak out more performance and more mpg (intake, exhaust, etc.). Accurate?

    Insurance costs seem like they would be lower, considering its 10K base price tag.?! 55.89/mo from State Farm.

    I usually drive ~74, any issues besides a little wobble b/c of its height?

    I notice cruise control isn't there, anyone add one?

    Any other comments that you may think may affect my decision would be great! Thanks for the b/w.

    p.s. The other contenders that were eliminated (Golf TDI (diesel too expensive to justify 3K more, Civic (no ABS on lower models), Insight and Prius (why pay 20+ to get 5-10 mpg more??)

  • sluglineslugline Posts: 391
    Are you going to have a chance to test drive the ECHO? Piloting one is a bit of a departure from everything else out there, so it would be nice to know that it's a good fit for you personally. The way the car is constructed promotes a very upright driving position, like an SUV or van. I'm only 5'8", so I can't truly comment on the tall-person accomodations. I do find the headroom much more than adequate, though.

    This car's strengths are its small size and a motor that is both sufficiently powerful and a fuel miser. The small size, however, is also the biggest weakness. It will be more susceptible to crosswinds and it will be more vulnerable in a crash with larger vehicles. Stay alert and keep your hands on the wheel in gusty conditions, and you'll stay in your lane. The ECHO got nice government frontal crash-test scores, but those tests remove the weight factor out of the equation; this criticism applies across all subcompact cars, of course. I've also noticed that the short wheelbase amplifies all the little ups and downs in the road; probably not a big deal unless you were expecting a luxury-car ride.

    With all that being said, it is almost the ideal commuter car. Cost of ownership expenses should be very low, and there's an abundance of storage spaces for the detritus of everyday life. If Toyota would get a clue about Americans liking our road trips and get cruise control on the options list, this would be my ideal commuter car.
  • mralanmralan Posts: 174
    Hey, Jeff:

    You said 13,741 with every option. Does that include automatic?
  • sorry, no it does not. here it is:
    SRS Restraint
    All Weather Guard Package
    Upgrade Package #1
    Upgrade Package #2
    Upgrade Package #3
  • 4-door automatic
    All weather guard package
    Upgrade package #1
    Upgrade package #2
    Alloy wheels
    All weather floor mats


    I added: custom seat covers, Python auto-start/keyless entry
  • mralanmralan Posts: 174
    Just curious. Did Echo owners select their car over the Corolla mainly for mpg? From what I can tell the price isn't too different. I've seen base Corolla's with auto & air for $13k (02 models). I'm not making a judgement, just want to know what made you decide on the Echo.

    Being the Echo is assembled in Japan it may well turn out to be better than the Corolla, although I don't think it will keep as much resale value.
  • pulgopulgo Posts: 400

    I chose my Echo over the Corolla for the following reasons: 1) Easy entry and egress. I'm 6'4", 250 pounds, and there was barely enough room for me in the Corolla. 2) Price: There was about $ 1500 in favor of the Echo and better rate for financing 3) MPG: My average for 1 year, 27K miles is 42 mpg, about 4 mpg's better than what you can expect with the Corolla. 4) Crisper steering. I suggest you drive both cars the same day and find out yourself which one you like better. 5) Styling: Most people I know dislike the Echo's styling. I am not the average person and I have always liked driving cars that are different and I've grown to like my car's styling ( a few of my previous cars: Volkswagen 412 Variant, Chevrolet Caprice, Saab 9000)
    Finally, the fact that the car is made in Japan had nothing to do with my decision. I believe the quality would be the same if made in the US or Canada. I expect to keep this car for at least 200K miles, therefore I don't care about resale value.
  • Just wanted to let the person that was curious about Echo holding its resale value vs. the Corolla that so far, the Echo is doing much better than the Corolla in terms of resale value. I crashed my 2000 Echo (waiting to see it it's totalled) and was told by my insurance company that the resale value is $12,000. I only paid 12,225 back in 2000 for it (via the late, lamented Yes, the Corolla is similar in price, but I've noticed that 2000 Corollas are going for as little as $8,500 or so similarly equipped to my Echo. The situation may change as more Echos come into production, but so far, so good.

    The drawback of the Echo is yes, it is very susceptible to wind. I've been blown around in the wake of big rigs. I've been pushed into other lanes in extremely windy mountain areas (probably 50 mph winds or more), with little control of the car. But the same would probably be true of any subcompact. It is amplified, though, by the high position of the Echo. The Echo also feels a bit "tippy" when you go around a turn. But it is a cute and quick car. And much more legroom than the Corolla -- I'm a 5'8" female, and the Corolla was too small for me. It seemed even more cramped for anyone riding in back. No problem for me or back seat passengers in the Echo.

    Also, the crash I got into was a head-on, and while it wasn't high speed, I was pleasantly surprised that my little Echo absorbed the impact in front better than I thought. I don't know if it would do well against an SUV, but it kept me safe while being hit by a mid-'70s American sedan.
  • ml91ml91 Posts: 26
    The Echo is much more comfortable for tall people than the 1999-2002 Corolla (all 4 years are basically the same). However, the new 2003 Corolla has a larger interior than the previous model.
  • echo01echo01 Posts: 19
    Since I am over 6'5" and drive an Echo, I can tell you that it works for me - I have driven over 5 hours continuously with no comfort problems.

    You might want to see, though, if you can find a shop that will move the driver's seat back for you if you think legroom might be a problem. Shops that specialize in modifications like custom seats, sunroofs and trim, or else shops that modify cars for handicapped people, might be willing to do this. That way, you'd have the option of getting a few more inches of legroom if you decided you needed it.

    Make sure you take an Echo for a good long test drive before you buy - at least an hour - and make sure you're comfortable enough. And in particular, if you're going to buy one with a manual transmission, I'd test drive one of these, to make sure shifting and operating the clutch is comfortable for you.

    (The thing about the Echo is that its seating position is different than other cars, so it's particularly important for any potential driver to make sure it's going to be comfortable.)

    One last thing - your "wish list" has ABS brakes on it. According to many postings here, and also many dealers I've talked to, these are very hard to find on an Echo. I would have liked to get them, but I never saw an Echo for sale with them. My understanding is that these need to be special-ordered, and take at least several months to arrive.
  • wrgrahamwrgraham Posts: 112
    Thanks slugline and kneisl1,
    I am ready to change both the coolant and the air filter in my Echo. And I will use your info to help find my way. By the way, I change oil and filter every 6000 miles, so I have done about
    7 changes by now. And I dont bother to remove any of the plastic shielding stuff. All you have to deal with is the oil plug under the car, the cap on top of the engine for filling, and the oil filter itself which is rather difficult to get at. But I run the car up on 4x4 wood leftovers, and crawl under with one of these largish kinds of adjustable pliers. I can grab the filter and gingerly turn it enough to loosen it and then finish it off with my hands.
  • wrgrahamwrgraham Posts: 112
    Yesterday was my first day driving in heavy rain with the new Bridgestone Potenza 185/60 sized tires that I recently bought to replace the original ones. The originals were pretty worn by now. Anyway, the good news is that the new tires were great in the rain. I havent heard others complain, but I didnt like those original tires when the roads were under heavy rain. I often got slipping from the front end just under power and going straight. these are way better. I don't think the small increase in size could account for all the improvement, I just bet that the original tires were not of the same rain-quality as those sold on the market for replacement.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    You would not need to remove the front undercar plastic "nose" to change your engine oil, but youll make a mess if you drain the radiator without removing it. Also, on a manual trans, getting at the fill plug to both remove it and add the oil would be difficult with the plastic in place. It looks easy to get off, however.
    Now that you have 42 k on your car, its important to check the rubber boots on your drive axles each time you change the oil. If they go and you dont catch it for thousands of miles, youll need new axles $$$. Also time to get a feel for how much brake pads you have left. Fronts are easy, just remove a wheel and look at the calipers. Theres an inspection hole on the rear vrakes on the inside backing plare. Look behind the wheel at the part that doesnt turn. Good luck!
  • stragerstrager Posts: 308
    Now that the roomier 2003 Corolla is out, with higher seating as well as prices not too different than the Echo, does anyone know if the current Echo will be discontinued? I had read rumors several months ago that Toyota would bring the 2 door hatchback Vitz/Yaris this year to the US.
  • ml91ml91 Posts: 26
    As far as I know there will be a 2003 Echo, and it will be the same as the 2000-2002 models. I don't know what Toyota is planning for 2004 and beyond.
  • Wouldn't ECHO be up for a refreshening for 2003, based on the Toyota 5 year cycle. But, if it is going to be pulled, why spend the money on the slight changes?
  • ml91ml91 Posts: 26
    Several Toyota employees have told me that Toyota cars have four year "cycles"; 2003 will be year four for the Echo.
  • I have connections with employees of Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America. Toyota has used the 5 year cycle for AT LEAST the past 2 generations of Camry and Corolla. I can't think of a car that has followed the 4 year cycle in the last 10 years. Camry redesigned in 92, redesigned in 97 and then for 2002. Corolla redesigned for 93, then 98 and now 2003. At 4 years, a refreshing occurs. After 5 years a model change occurs.
  • I went to change the air filter in my ECHO and couldn't find on at my local SuperTrak. There's not even a listing for one in the 2001 AC-Delco parts reference book, nor in the Fram one. Jiffy Lube doesn't have them either. Have I entered a strange air filterless alternate reality, or what? Has anyone here purchased an aftermarket air filter for the ECHO? Help!
  • sluglineslugline Posts: 391
    I got a Purolator filter from Pep Boys. As a matter of fact, we hit this very topic a couple of weeks ago. Jump back to posts 2749, 2755, and 2757 for more.
  • sluglineslugline Posts: 391

    I spotted the new Corolla on the road for the first time yesterday. My first reaction was "Hey, that's a nice looking car!" While there are few nameplates that have such a well-earned reputation, I've never thought of Corollas as lookers before. From the outside, it looks like this car has more room inside. So as far as the marketplace is concerned, the ECHO could be in trouble. The base Corolla packs enough standard equipment (and offers optional eqipment) to eaily steal back sales that may have went to loaded ECHOs. It might be nice if Toyota re-balanced the playing field by building more equipment into the ECHO without raising the price.
  • Hey Slugline -- your summation of the 2003 Corolla was exactly my thoughts when I saw it at a local autoshow last week. WoW, what a nice looking vehicle, much more upscale than the Echo, and eeeek... the seating is also very comfortable and high. Had I waited 4 months, I would have bought the new Corolla afterall -- and this coming from someone who really loves her ECHO. Some things I would miss though would be the center mounted pod, and I still think there is more room in the back seat of the ECHO. I don't ever have a desire to *upscale* in the Toyota line and a good thing too -- IMHO, Camry's and above are still pretty blah looking. Is there a more non-descript car on the road than the Solara or Avalon?? Snoooooooze......
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    ....the Toyota air filter for my ECHO cost $11.99 and as it lasts for 30,000 miles you might consider it over the purelator.
  • I had the opportunity to crawl all over a Corolla when the dealership, where I bought my Echo, got a couple in. The build quality is top notch. I did not feel that I was sitting as high or as upright in the Corolla as I do in my Echo. The Corolla is definitely on my roommate's list of cars to replace her Galant, but the Echo also remains on that list.
  • My opinion of the new corolla is that it resembles the honda civic. certainly better looking than the older corolla model, but not as striking as the echo. The gray interior looked rather blah to me, no contrast as in the echo's interior. Again, better looking than last year's, and yet, it doesn't do anything for me.
  • wrgrahamwrgraham Posts: 112
    I think I am just a different market segment than many others who post here. I don't want more "options" made standard on the Echo. I dont want a car with power windows or automated door locks. I don't want a heavier car like the new Corolla. To me the Echo is minimal in that it weighs little, uses little gas, yet has the wonderful roominess that we appreciate. And it is a lively and responsive car with Toyota dependability.
    ...Maybe there are not enough people with my attitudes to support a major car model, or maybe the Echo just turns off too many people on the looks alone to be more successful.
  • I can certainly relate to your summation of why you chose the ECHO. I downgraded from a top of the line SUV (Blazer LT) and haven't looked back. The *only* things I found more appealing with the new Corolla was the wheelbase (I think it would ride better on the highway), and the upholstery -- looks a bit more substantial than the ECHO. As far as options -- I was thrilled to have NON-power seats in the ECHO. I hated, hated, hated them in my SUV because my husband and I are very different in size and to make the adjustments would take what seemed like an eternity. I love being able to just lift up the bar and zip into place. However, until the ECHO, I couldn't find a vehicle with seats high enough (kudu's to the ECHO again). And power windows -- bleeeech. Give me a crank window any day. Of course, I don't drive through toll booths so my tune may be different if that were the case. I live in North Dakota and cruise control is something that one can actually use because you only pass about 6 cars on the Interstate . However, if I lived in a place where traffic was heavy, I doubt I would miss cruise control. I "do" miss it, but can live without it. I am also happy to report that now that our weather is warmer I'm seeing much better gas mileage :-)
  • How much did you pay for your basic Echo and what year is it? We are very disappointed with our local Toyota dealer. They quoted $13,005 for a 2002 basic Echo w/o a/c or pwr steering and a 4 month wait. We offered $12K, which we thought was very generous; he basically laughed at us.
  • I paid #10,500 plus tax and license. I live in San Diego. This car is a 2001 Echo with air and power steering but nothing else.
  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    Anyone have an Echo with serious mileage on it like 50k or so? Curious to hear how they are holding up. Any word on any changes for 03?
Sign In or Register to comment.