2002 Toyota ECHO 1.5VVTi from North America
Best value on the market
The car is still very new (2,000km or 1,250miles roughly), but from my previous experience with the Echo I expect very few problems indeed (if any).
Great little car, third Echo I have driven.
Power is by far tops in class, in fact it seriously challenges cars one rung up the ladder for power supremacy. Cars like Civic, Corolla, Protege, Focus, Neon, etc. have a difficulty walking away at the lights. Considering the incredible lack of heft (2000lbs) the car moves well with the 108hp on tap.
Fuel economy is great, I'm getting around 6 liters/ 100km or roughly 40mpg in combined city/highway driving.
Space is excellent considering the external appearance of the vehicle. Seats/driving position could be more comfortable, though. Shoulder room is tight throughout the car. I am 6'2" tall which makes me a more difficult fit than most.
Interior amenities are few, but what controls there are are placed logicaly on the dash. Buttons operate with smoothness uncommon for this class. Shifter is notchy when the car is new, but tends to smoothe out after a few hundred km. Steering is well-weighted and accurate.
Handling is nimble, if far from a sports-car. Keeping in mind its price and intended purpose the handling is best-in-class and the car feels light and responsive.
Opinions on the style are personal, I think it looks great and most people seem to agree with me. Others are disgusted for whatever reasons. But few can say that it's not original.
All in all, I think it's the best value for dollar vehicle on the market today. Low admission fee, combined with excellent economy and performance and reinforced with Toyota's solid reputation and resale value all conspire to support that opinon. Definitely a worthy option if you're in a market for a small/cheap/fun car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th February, 2003