2002 Toyota ECHO 4 Door standard from North America


The best all-around economy car ever made


Nothing: this is one of the best cars ever made!

General Comments:

A few years ago I decided that I needed an economy car. After extensive research it came down to the ECHO or the Prius. After much consideration, I decided on the ECHO. I felt that the additional $8,000 or more for the Prius was not justified unless status was the main concern. The mileage is not that much better (it would never pay for the cost difference) and I feared that the relatively new hybrid technology would be outdated in a few years. I also felt that maintenance could be a problem after the car got out of warranty. On the other hand, the Prius feels a little better made and of course it runs much quieter.

I've had many small economy cars and I must say this little car is hands down, the best. With the 5 speed it is peppy enough, and the interior is incredibly spacious for such a small car. I like the quirky humpy look of the car (ugly like the old VW Bug). The trunk is also enormous (especially with the fold-down split rear seats).

A consideration in buying any car is resale. When I bought the car, I couldn't find a used one, or if a dealer got one, it sold almost instantly so I bought a new one. I decided to sell it four months ago and I thought it was money in the bank. To my shock, four months later the car is still unsold. Part of the reason may be a slow economy and the holiday season. The main reason my car hasn't sold, I think, is that it has a manual transmission. I've had numerous calls on the car, but when the caller understands that the car doesn't have an automatic they decline. Lesson: these days don't get a manual unless you want to keep the car forever or it is a sports car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st January, 2005

7th Feb 2005, 01:26

They're not discontinuing it. They aren't selling it in the USA after 2005, but it will be available everywhere else. We are still stuck on our stupid gas-guzzlers here.

I expect the Echo will make a return to the US after gas prices continue to rise.

8th Feb 2005, 10:16

"still stuck on our stupid gas-guzzlers here"


Hello? The most likely reasons for the failure of the ECHO to sell are its styling, both inside and out. There is ugly-cool, like the Honda Element and Scion xB, and there is just plain ugly, like the Pontiac Aztek... and the ECHO.

There are plenty of other non-gas-guzzlers that did and continue to sell very well in the US market, including the ECHO's predecessor, the Tercel, and the Corolla.

Toyota has already announced that the ECHO will be replaced with a "European-styled" model that will probably sell much better than the ECHO ever did!

18th Feb 2005, 12:27

Well, this car was just not practical to US market, and that's probably why it doesn't sell too well. Besides, the automatic and manual models do feel a lot different. The automatic version feels horrible as of acceleration and passing. And what's the difference between US car buyers and European car buyers? They can't drive stick, or just too lazy to drive them.

Also, this car doesn't feel safe enough to go 80mph on a windy highway. And American buyers do that a lot.

28th Jul 2006, 10:15

The Echo is being replaced by the Yaris, which has the same drive train, but different body, than the Echo. The Yaris has been on the market for several years in Europe and is very popular.

14th Feb 2007, 09:08

Re: last comment. What are you talking about?

14th Feb 2007, 11:54

Seems pretty clear. His cousin got got a possessed Echo and, like the movie Christine, it lead to her downfall. The school saw her driving the evil car and expelled her. Then the parking lot came alive and rejected the Echo, which got her depressed. Not sure if the parking lot was on the side of good or evil. And the Echo hated her fat friend as well.

Wonder if the Echo radio only plays songs from its production years.

28th Aug 2010, 04:11

Ha Ha that's very funny!!!

2002 Toyota ECHO from North America


Dependable Gas Miser with minor flaws


Had a rattling noise coming from the engine when it was brand new, turned out to be a cable, I noticed it was not securly in a holder, so after correcting that it was fine.

Am having problems with a grinding noise in the front wheels when turning sharply, almost sounds like the brakes are grabbing on rusty drums, also to comment on breaks, the brakes especially after sitting for 12hrs. or so on a damp day, seem to have a rusty grind to them when applied the first couple times.

Air Conditioning is not the coldest, but it is a black car so this may be the problem, should have it checked out.

General Comments:

This car likes to jump around on really windy day's, sometimes it is really bad and I have to reduce speed under 70mph.

Noticed some trim is coming loose on the inside door edge.

Engine idles louder the longer I own it.

Noticed radio jumping set station by a couple points or two, hit preset again an it was fine, this has happened about three times.

Very good on gas, average 32-35mpg.

Not the smoothest car I have driven, you definitely will feel road imperfections.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st May, 2004

12th Nov 2004, 06:45

Had the same problem with rust growing on the top of the rotor surface. The problem occurs about every 1 1/2 to 2 years. I then just bend the back plate back a little bit and on my way we go... noise free.

We just turned 100,000 miles in October. No problems at all. Will soon change the timing belt & idler pulley.

I'm planning on this car going farther than my 1991 Tercel.

It now runs on 2 cylinders and can't pass emission testing, but it always starts right up... not once in it's 272,000 miles has it not.

My Echo gets over 42 MPG, even when car pooling with 2 other people. Can't beat it for reliable & cost effective transportation, even when gas gets close to $2.00 a gallon.


18th Feb 2006, 08:37

I have a 2002 Toyota Echo with 34,251 miles on it. The car runs perfectly and is very low cost in terms of maintenace. I am very please with it's gas mileage... about 33-35 mpg combined city and highway driving. It is a 5 speed manual and at times the transmission is very clunky going into gear. Engine wise.. it is very quiet. I love the VVTI engine. I just did a 30,000 mile tune up, replaced all 4 tires, and front brake pads and rotors and rear drums and shoes. All done as preventive maintenance. Even though the old ones were not in horrible condition. I love my car and will neve consider selling it. It's a shame that Toyota ceased production in 2005. I do not know anything about the 2007 Yaris (Echo replacement). Long live the ECHO...

13th Apr 2006, 12:44

I own a 2-door 2002 Echo, and I love my car. Great gas mileage. Easy to get out of due to the high placed seats. Love all the little stash and store compartments. The only problem I have with my echo, is that on windy days, the car is like a kite. I am all over the road. A high wind gust will practically throw me into the next lane. Also, in the heavier rain it hydroplanes a lot!!!. Other than those 2 things a love my ECHO.