Last post on Dec 09, 2013 at 2:58 AM
You are in the Toyota Echo
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Toyota ECHO, Sedan
#2675 of 5822 Satisfied Echo Owner
Jan 04, 2002 (10:10 pm)
I bought a new red Echo around the middle of 2001 and am very happy with it so far; I've managed to put about 8000 miles on it. Here are a few comments and my impressions.
First off, I must say that this is a fun car to drive, and has plenty of power. 108 horsepower is obviously plenty for a car that weighs only a little more than 2000#. During the breakin period it was not easy keeping it below 55 mph. The engine also seems smooth and quiet to me for a 4-cylinder one.
There is lots of interior room in this car for the driver: I am rather tall and have more than enough headroom. That is not true of very many other small cars for me. The legroom is also adequate, though at first I wasn't sure it was going to be enough. It takes some getting used to, since the seating position is different: more like maybe a small van or SUV, I think. However, I've driven several trips during which I drove for over 5 hours non-stop, and felt comfortable the whole way.
I probably got one that's on the "light" side as far as options go: manual, two-door, power steering, a/c and the standard 4-speaker radio with a tape player. I would just as soon have had manual steering, but that would have meant no air conditioning, which I absolutely wanted.
I elected to get one without the plastic body trim; I think the red ones look better that way. This is a matter of personal taste: I looked at them each way; I actually think the trim enhances the looks on some of the dark colors like the black and dark blue.
I can always easily find my car in the parking lot; I think it is a nice and distinctive looking car.
Everyone asks about gas mileage, though gasoline is so cheap right now that this doesn't matter much with a car like the Echo. But anyway, mine varies from about 35-36 if I just do in-town driving, up all the way to 44-45 if I go on a long drive and don't need to use the air conditioner.
I like manual transmissions, so of course my Echo had to have one. Some have commented that it has a "notchy" feeling, and I agree, but I don't think this is a problem. I've never had trouble "finding" a gear, and it shifts smoothly; it's just a little different than other cars I've driven. One odd thing is that the engine revs stay up at first while shifting, but I was told by the service department that this is the way they're supposed to work. Just sounds different.
I am used to driving small cars, so the Echo was a natural choice for me. I've never had any trouble controling it, nor has it ever felt like it was going to "tip over". And those "narrow" tires are really not; at 175mm, they are 10mm wider than ones I had on a previous Toyota. I've had it in moderate winds, and it just handles like a small car - no problems. (I imagine lots of the reviews and comments on these things are from people used to driving cars that are much bigger.)
I think the Echo is a good value for the price. And I like the fact that you can get it without things like power windows and doors if you don't want them.
It didn't take me any time at all to get used to the "center" speedometer. In fact, on my old car, I had a clock and radio in the center and was always glancing over, so this is no different.
Now that I have an Echo, this position seems like the best place for the speedometer; it is actually easier and faster to take a peek at versus the traditional position. (And since buying my Echo, I've driven other cars with "ordinary" positioned speedometers; there is no problem re-adjusting.) I've concluded that this issue is a big red-herring.
I have a few minor complaints, which I'll post later, but overall I am very satisfied. And thanks to the people on this message board for all of the information, which helped me in my decision on what car to buy.
#2676 of 5822 ....minor complaints...
Jan 04, 2002 (10:33 pm)
My summary of my Echo experience really wouldn't be complete without mentioning things I wish were different. None of them are enough to make me less than satisfied, but anyway.....
1) I'd like an engine temperature gauge. The lights are fine as long as everything is working right, but when the engine is overheating, you need to know when it is _getting_ hot, not when it has _already_ overheated. So in five or so years down the road, I'll probably add one, so I don't have to worry about overheating on a hot summer day driving over a mountain pass. (By contrast, I don't miss a tachometer at all; these always seem superfluous to me anyway.)
2) Thicker sheet metal would be nice. The front fenders in particular are very thin - just tap them with your finger and you'll see. I would imagine these will dent easily. I think they went too far in saving weight; an extra 50 pounds in the sheet metal would give a more durable body and not add much to the cost, nor detract much from the gas mileage.
3) Having something more than cardboard (I think!) separating the trunk from the back seats would be good. I think that the way things slide around in the trunk, that cardboard separator will not hold up that well. (I do not have the fold-down rear seats; this might not be an issue in that case.)
4) Maybe this is inevitable because of the car's shape, but when I roll down a window in the rain (e.g. to get the mail) I get _lots_ of rain in the car. I've seen little aftermarket rain-guards for above the windows; I need to investigate.
And.... I can't think of any more right now!!
#2677 of 5822 echo01
Jan 04, 2002 (10:59 pm)
Congratulations! I have had mine for a little more than a year and have the same comments as you. I don't know why the car magazines made such a big deal about the tire size...so many small cars share the same size. I don't miss a tach either because if you're accelerating, you don't have time to look at the thing anyway.
Jan 06, 2002 (6:23 am)
BusinessWeek Magazine, January 14, 2002, page 87:
"2002(will be)one of the most difficult years carmakers have faced in a decade."
"Toyota is definitely on a roll, thanks to its expanding lineup, a reputation for quality, and solid, if unexciting, design."
"Toyota probably won't nabe the No.3 spot in 2002 unless Chrysler stumbles badly."
"...one thing is certain: The momentum in Motown clearly lies with the foreign carmakers."
Jan 08, 2002 (10:07 pm)
It has been my obervation that the 2002 4-dr Echoes have a more slanted back roof than the 2000-2001 models, resembling the 2-dr models more. I personally prefer the squarish look of the previous two years.
#2680 of 5822 Re: shape...
Jan 09, 2002 (6:52 am)
It shouldn't have. It must be the way the car looked or something. There were no styling changes for 2002 like that, otherwise it would have neen mentioned in the press already.
Jan 09, 2002 (7:24 am)
It's amazing how different the Echo looks depending on the color and options. A lot of people think mine is different, i.e. longer, because I have a rear spoiler and pinstriping that visually stretch the car. I saw a white 4-door without cladding and it too looked like a different car.
#2682 of 5822 Misc stuff
Jan 09, 2002 (9:05 am)
Man I actually found a board that like the Echo. The C&D board hates it (styling) except for those people who actually own one.
Too bad I axed the Echo off the my shopping list (mainly Luxury features).
#2683 of 5822 Gas mileage question and sundry
Jan 10, 2002 (9:20 am)
In Oct of 2001 I traded in my SUV Chevy Blazer for an 2002 ECHO. Most people thought I was insane, but they weren't paying to fill my gas tank up either. I absolutely love this car and have no regrets about unloading what I considered the most unsafe vehicle on the road, but there are several things that I am a bit disappointed in. I just found this sight last night and have gleaned through most of the 2000+ posts to see if the problems were addressed (they were), but of course there is always two sides. Since I have not had my ECHO when the weather has been very warm (I live in North Dakota), and especially now that winter is really here -- I am quite upset about the gas mileage. I did take it back to the dealer and they did drove it with an instrument that was to accurately measure the mileage. They told me they got nearly 50 mpg on the highway and 31 in town. Fancy instrument or no, that is definitely NOT what my calculations are coming up. I'm *lucky* if I get 25 mpg in town. Highway mileage I have no problems with. We have had a very mild winter (of course, still much colder than what most people drive in), but I shudder to think what the mileage will drop to when the temps actually go below zero. I have not had to let the car warm up very much (I have an auto-starter), and I do realize that letting the car sit and warm up does use up gas for which no miles are being clocked. I'm hoping to see much better gas mileage come warmer weather. If anyone out there lives in the very cold climates like I do -- are you seeing this 25 mph or <gasp> less, in-town mileage? Unfortunately, most of my driving is around town, averaging about 6 miles a day. I was hoping to at least get 30 mpg.
I can also smell a rotten egg smell occasionally. The dealer told me this was *normal* and had something to do with the catalytic converter. It is only intermittent. I was told to use a one-step better grade gasoline. I'm now using Amoco Silver. I still get a whiff now and then of this odor so I'm not convinced that was the fix.
The other thing I've noticed, and I haven't read about it here is a weird hesitation sensation when I drive in the 25-30 mph range. It's kind of hard to describe, but it's as though the engine isn't getting enough fuel and it slows down and speeds up without me doing anything to the gas pedal. It's not jerky, just slightly noticeable -- sort of like the feel of a cruise control adjusting speed by auto adjusting the flow of fuel. It does not happen if I go over 35-40 mph. Again, the service people explained this away as due to the *low torque*. They keep telling me that everything is normal. Unfortunately, I don't trust them.
I have been very pleased with every aspect of this vehicle and I hope what I've explained is just part of living in a cold climate. I never paid much attention to the actual gas mileage in my Blazer. It stunk and that was the bottom line. I knew it was awful so why keep a track record. However, when one buys a car FOR the gas mileage it then matters.
I can say, without a doubt, the heat in the ECHO is the best of any vehicle I've owned. This puppy can pour out the heat -- very appreciated in these here parts.
Appreciation and thanks for any feedback.
#2684 of 5822 Echo mileage
Jan 10, 2002 (10:08 am)
Echo mileage was always in the 38-42 range very consistently thru break-in, very cold weather [for us], and regular use. More on the 38 side for more city driving and up around 42 overall with more hiway miles.45-47 on straight interstate driving.Had one 300 mi. trip with a lot of country road cruising at 50-60 mph in fifth gear that was 55 mpg or so.Rarely if ever filled the tank at less than 400 plus miles or so.Only time it had hesitation was if I was runnning too low speed for the gear I was in.I do drive for economy to note with the figures above, but many other owner on this site [that no doubt drive faster than I normally do] give similar results.You may have a lemon in some form as the cars consistently perform well. If I wasn't so stinking lousy at a manual, I would still definitely have the car. Traded in after one year fora 2001 Corolla LE but almost traded for an echo w/AC and auto trans.
Hope this helps some!