#3169 of 5820 The ECHO's fatal flaw is not a lack of snob appeal.
Jun 10, 2002 (10:41 am)
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.
#3170 of 5820 The Echo is the Best 1960's Sports Car Ever Made
Jun 10, 2002 (12:03 pm)
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.
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.
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?
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.