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Toyota Echo



  • Hello, everybody.

    My wife and I (no kids) are thinking in terms of fuel efficiency and reliability, i.e. of buying an ECHO, or a Corolla. I was actually considering the Civic Hybrid, but it is way overpriced and, I believe, more subject to fast obsolescence due to changing battery technology.
    Not to mention that there are increasing claims as to inaccuracies in EPA mileage estimates (although I think this applies across the board to many "economy" cars).

    I was wondering, as I was on a dealer's lot last week I noticed sticker info to the effect that the ECHO is entirely made in Japan (100% sourced parts AND final assembly). This is not the case with the Corolla, or with other models.

    My question is: do ECHO owners feel that this may make a difference in the long run to the fit-and-finish quality? Was this a consideration in your purchase? Have you been proven right? The dealer (he would, obviously) stated that all Toyota plants are the same, yadda yadda...but the sad fact is that people often end up disappointed buying cars they think were assembled in, say, Germany (like the VW Jetta), only to find out later it was in Brazil or Mexico. Having lived in South America for many years, I know what that can mean.

    I have read recent posts about declining quality in the appearance of Corollas (and Civics), crappy paint, assorted rattles, and so on. Not to mention dealers and manufacturers being in total denial. I would like to hear your views as regards the ECHO. I have a 2-yr. old Accord, and have had only one problem (bubbling up of chrome finish on interior front door handles!, which was taken care of, but other than that, fine). So, it can happen to any car, really.

    Also, does anybody here feel that Corollas and ECHOS (Toyotas and Hondas in general) are overpriced? An optioned ECHO retails for around $16K (!!!) here in Orlando, although of course you can try to cut a deal.

    Fianlly, when are the '04s due out, and are significant changes expected?

    Thanks in advance.

  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    I was definately happy to see the ECHO was made in Japan when I bought it. That was on my list of reasons to buy it. My ECHO is 2 1/2 years old now with 0 problems and that is reflected also in consumer magazines. I have previously purchased a Brazil made car (VW Fox) and although it was a nice car it did have more problems than I expected.
       I think if you go back and read previous posts in this forum you will find that the ECHO was been extrodinarily pleasing to us. Perhaps moreso than any other new car. It is a well loved car.
       I would look around for a price. Here in NJ one dealer still advertises 2002 new ECHOs for 10499 which have the ps, 3 in 1 cd player and ac. Not a lot of options but a nice car nonetheless. Personally I prefer the first ECHO style over the 2003s but it doesnt matter you get used to anything.
      Good luck ECHO hunting!
  • As stated by kneisl1 above, the Echo is a well loved car. I just love my Echo, in fact, if I had oodles of money I'd adopt all the Echos still on the lots and give them all good homes. Like kneisl1, I also prefer the earlier '00-'02 version, but as long as it is an Echo, I love it. They are zippy little cars, very roomy, great gas mileage, require little maintenance, and just exude personality plus. I get carried away talking about Echos, Echos do that to me. :)
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    My buddy's ECHO (a used 2000 base model 4-door) has about 52K miles on it right now with no problems at all. He said it's darty in crosswinds on the highway sometimes, but nothing worse than the 1997 Sentra he had before it. He said he likes the car alot, and will run it into the ground.
  • gaiffemgaiffem Posts: 11
    Have had my Echo since 2/2000. No mechanical problems whatsoever. Yes, its being built in Japan was a factor. Was told by an auto detailer and mechanic friend (years ago) that the primary reason Japanese built and assembled cars tended to have a better finish was that EPA restrictions here in the states precluded use of the same paint formulas as are used in Japan. If true, the bad news about that would be getting a good match if body work was ever needed. Also, that in Japan, Toyota's mechanical subcontractors tend to have long-term relationships with Toyota whereas here, subcontractors (and parts) vary. BTW, you might want to check with Lakeland Toyota. I live in Brandon, and found Lakeland much more willing to deal than any dealer in Brandon or Tampa. I paid 2% over Edmund's invoice price after some hand-wringing by the sales folks. Good luck.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    I was looking at the axle boot when I had the ECHO up on ramps for its recent oil change. I noticed the boots on the outer part of the axle (near the wheels) were of a harder material than the inner ones. This is good because these wear out faster than the inners. On my 1980 Subaru these were soft rubber like the inners and I had to change them about every 60k miles. I did it twice and its a tough job. So Im expecting they will last a lot longer. My wifes Saturn is ten years old with 106k miles and has similiar hard outer boots, and they look origional. I still recommend you look at these boots at least once a year...better still is every oil change. If they burst and you drive for a few thousand miles before you catch it, youll need new axles $$$. Before going altogether they develope cracks down in the valleys of the boots which can be seen and felt.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    The NY Times, in an article comparing the IOn with the ECHO, is quoting Toyota that the center mounted instrument cluster was selected for ECHO because it makes production of right and left hand drive cars easier. They really have a problem printing the truth at the Times, it seems.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    I am not sure why Toyota chose to do the center cluster and not sure it really matters. It makes it really easy for my roommate and I (who are two very different body types) to find a comfortable driving position without worrying about trying to see the instruments through the steering wheel spokes.
  • I was wondering, wouldn't it be great to have someone design an Echo t-shirt so we Echo lovers could wear them proudly. I'd like to see a design similar to the Polo shirt, just a small Echo on the upper left breast of the shirt, simple and clean. I'd do it if I were creative, but I'm not. :(
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Im wondering if Toyota sells them. A baseball hat with vented sides would be nice too.
  • wrgrahamwrgraham Posts: 112
    Kneisl, its very welcome that you talk about front axle boots. My sisters 91 Mazda 323 is getting the front axle replaced because the boot leaked for too long. I checked mine and they look good as new. And I am feeling sorry that I didnt keep a closer eye on my sister's car, since I am always doing the oil and filter changes for her. On another topic I was talking with friends about the Prius and such, and got to wondering how much gas a car (an Echo perhaps) burns when it is sitting at idle? If we get 40 miles a gallon while traveling 60 mph then we are burning a gallon every 40 minutes. With that as a benchmark I would think we might get 3 hours on a gallon at idle. I really have no idea. Anybody ever seen anything written about this? I suppose you could idle your car that long and the fan would run and it would not overheat. But I am not of a mind to try it.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Consumers are not liking the expences incured in repairing the axles of front wheel drive cars and I think thats led the manufacturers to improve them. So your boots "should" last a long time. The same is true for belts that drive camshafts. They are expensive to replace every 90k or so miles and if they break its really expensive to deal with.
      Three hours to a gallon of gas at idle sounds about right to me for a car like ECHO, but it might be even better than that. Perhaps on a not too hot day you could fill up your gas tank, let the car idle for an hour and go back and fill it up again to see how much gas was used. The car wont overheat under those conditions.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    My friend's Echo is an 00 4-door with no options but auto and AC, the car has 54K miles on it. I rode in it the other night for the first time in awhile, and it rode pretty well. The only thing was, we hit a couple large bumps and the entire dash rattled! It was kinda scary to me. The back package shelf also rattled some, but that's to be expected.

    Anyone else have a rattling dash like this?
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Are you sure it wasnt something in the dash cubby holes that was ratteling? Once in a while a cassette squeeks in mine but thats all it is.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    It sounded like the entire dash was loose or something, I was really shocked. I don't know if anything was in the lower part, but this sound was definitely louder than just some CD cases banging together.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Probably something in the air control system under the dash loosened. You could remove the glove box which is easy and look around there. If you dont find it youll get used to it though. My gearshift knob is loose and I always meant to fix it but never did. It used to drive me crazy but now I dont even think about it. Also the clutch pedal hits a piece of carpet and I thought something was seriously wrong with the clutch. Now Im used to it. Its like its part of the car experience.
  • Hi Everbody- I just bought a new 2003 ECHO. First I was looking for a used Turcell,But they stopped making them in 1997. I was shocked at how they retained their re-sale value when I shopped for 96 Turcells with over 100K on them and asking 5-6K for them. So I decided to buy New and the Echo with the 1.5L engine was the closest to the Turcell. I paid 14K out the door. The car has a Cd/cassette radio with 6 speakers, rear fold down seats Auto trans 15inch Wheels and AC. I AM IN CAR HEAVEN. I have 400 miles on it and finally had to fill the tank up for the 1st time. I clocked 35.5 MPG. I would like to correspond with any ord all of you Echo owners out there
  • pulgopulgo Posts: 400
    Congratulations on your new Echo!
    Your mileage will only get better. I have a 2001 with similar options -no 15" wheels though- and just reached 64k miles. Not one complaint or repair so far. My average mileage for those 2 years presently is 39.8. Not bad at all. It doesn't even use oil between changes. I've been on long trips and I other than the outstanding mileage I get on those long drives there are only two minor complaints. The seats are not very confortable and bother me after more than 3 hours of driving and during windy days the car is a little bit more unstable than heavier cars. But you will get used to that.
    Good luck with you Echo and safe driving!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Specifically, what are the things you like best and worst about your new ECHO?
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I need to test drive an Echo with the 15" wheels to see how it handles the road. My friend's, with the 14s, gets thrown around alot on the highway. I don't know if that would change with the larger tires though, as the rental Suzuki Aerio I have now has 15s on it and is still tossed about on the highway by crosswinds occasionally.

    What do you all think?
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Yes sometimes you get a little buffetted in my ECHO by winds or passing trucks. Im thinking the larger wheels wont help as the buffeting is probably caused by ECHOs light weight and high profile. If you cauld take a test drive of an 03 ECHO I think I understand they have a 15 inch option now.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Coming home from work Saturday night I got sandwiched in between two SUVs. I was on a two lane road in the right lane and signaling to make a lane change to the left. I should have looked again before merging left but I didnt. Suddenly there were horns blaring and headlights right behind and beside my ECHO! These two SUVs were racing each other and tried to go each one around my car to the right and left! I ended up in the left lane and the two other drivers were behind me with horns blaring and headlights flashing. I made the left hand turn onto a residential street I was going to make and the two trucks followed me. I wasnt going very fast at that point and one of the suvs passed me and slammed on his brakes! Lucky for me there was a T intersection to my right which the SUV tried to back up into to cut me off, but I shot through the gap before he could close it! ECHO do your duty! I put pedal to the floor and tore up a winding street making left and right turns to try and lose them. The SUVs could not catch me! Neither however could I lose them even when I turned off my lights. (later on I figured they must have seen my brake lights) That engine was screaming like a Formula One engine! I was going about 50 in sencond gear at times, but not for long as I braked as hard as possible every few streets to make left and rights. I was thinking of driving to the police station, but I remembered going there on a weekend and it was closed. Also, its in the basement of the municipal building and doesnt look like a police station at all. I didnt want to go home, but I was afraid I would have an accident if I kept driving like that or might go down a cul de sac of which there are many in that area. Eventualy I crossed my street. I was about a mile from home at that point. I tore off down the street and the SUVs were about two hundred yards behind me when I reached my house. I park on the street and in all the excitement I couldnt find my key! Fortunately the SUVs seemed confused were I went and that gave me enough time to get into the house and call 911. It took SIX rings for them to answer! The drivers were milling about my front yard yelling threats and insults. I told them the cops were on the way and they eventually left. The cops arrived about ten minutes later.
       Well I have another reason to be completely satisfyed with my ECHO!
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    OMG! Where do you live, Beiruit? That is just plain crazy. Goes to show how out of control road rage is. I wouldn't have gone home with those nuts following me though. They could always come back after you at a later time.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Camden NJ. Youre right the cops told me the same thing. But I was afraid they would catch up to me at some point. Also, there are many cul de sacs in the area. Its like Russian Roulette...go down one of those and youre trapped. I had no desire to be sodomized by all the tools in my tool least if I could get home Id be safe inside! But stay tuned!
  • I would suggest the next time something like that occurs, pull in front of a house, make sure your doors are locked, and hit that horn with all your might, making a continuous loud irritating noise so the residents call the police for you. I'm pretty sure those idiots in their SUVs would not hang around. Also, they would not know where you live. Hopefully things will work out for you. Good luck!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    All quiet so far.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    The 2003 freshening makes the Echo look much nicer and more upscale. We have a '02 Corolla and looked seriously at the Echo since it was nearly the same size in terms of interior space and trunk. However, my wife did not like the appearance as much as the old Tercel. The new car however looks great and I saw the hatch version at the Toronto auto show - I really liked it.

    We wanted a Tercel when we bought her first car in 1994 but it was too expensive and ended up with a Hyundai Excel. The Hyundai served us well but we still wanted a Toyota and decided it would be an Echo or Corolla. Corolla won due to its appearance and the fact that in Canada the Corolla is so aggressively priced - with auto, air, and the CE plus package its about the same price as a comparable Echo.

    Any Echo owners out there with really high mileage on your cars?
  • kaz6kaz6 Posts: 331
    There is a huge difference in 15" rims but only if the width is upgraded as well. While I don't have my ECHO anymore, I drove 20k+ miles on 205/15's and never had a problem with wind. My mileage did suffer a couple of mpg's on the highway, however, due to the increased drag.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    What happend to the Echo and why did you part with it if we may ask?
  • kaz6kaz6 Posts: 331
    I may be moving to NYC area later this year and I plan on moving my stuff in the car. I loved my ECHO but wanted something with bigger carrying capacity for my move. The car I have now is an Elantra GT hatch and it has a lot of cargo space and equipment for the price. It also has heated side mirrors and more weight for snow conditions.
    My ECHO was not equipped with cold weather package and the rear defroster had a hard time dealing with fogging-tood very long to clear it.
    The rear seat of the GT is actually less comfortable than that of the ECHO as the seat cushions are lower in the GT.
    MPG in town is much worse with the GT (23mpg vs. 32mpg) but highway mileage is not too different (33mpg vs. 35mpg). Keep in mind my ECHO had high performance/low profile tires; not good for mpg.
    If I were not looking at a possible move, I would've held onto my ECHO. If the Scion Xa were roomier behind the back seat, it would've been considered.
    The GT stickered almost the same as my ECHO so monthly payments are about the same.
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