2004 Toyota ECHO 1.5 I4 from North America

Summary:

Zippy and maintenance free

Faults:

Gas filler neck is rusted.

Muffler is shot, expected with a car of this age.

General Comments:

Amazing. Not a terribly popular car, but I'm not sure why. We recently sold a Ford Taurus, which had approximately the same mileage on it, and it was on its way out, everything was breaking down. The same could be said for the Fortwo, which was a nightmare on wheels.

We bought this, and I love it. It feels new, aside from a squeak in the back seat. Everything is solid and smooth, and even when driving quickly and aggressively in cold weather, it averages under 6L/100km, which increases as the weather warms.

When parked next to other cars, you'd never guess how roomy and comfortable it is to drive. With the manual transmission, it feels very quick in everyday driving -- the performance of a car should be measured in day-to-day fun, not wide-open-throttle (at which the Echo is still quite good).

The tall seats, big windows, light and accurate steering and peppy acceleration make it easy to drive, and the seats are extremely comfortable for long distances. It outdoes our Focus in all of these areas.

On the other hand, the tall body makes it tippy, and catches gusts of wind, which at only 2000 lbs can be a little unnerving.

If you're willing to sacrifice a bit of weight, you'll be rewarded with long-lasting brakes, quick acceleration and excellent fuel economy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th April, 2011

12th Apr 2011, 17:27

The Echo's 1.5 litre engine is very durable and fuel efficient. It's the same engine in the Yaris. My Echo's been trouble free since the day I bought it. The Echo did well everywhere, but the U.S. Gas was cheap when it was introduced, and it looked too different (ugly) for buyers. Americans don't like small cars. It also didn't help that Toyota sold it with the center mounted instrument panel. It's irritating until you get used to it.

2004 Toyota ECHO 4-dr Hatchback RS 1.5L inline 4 cylinder from North America

Summary:

They got this one right

Faults:

Changed driver's side headlight @ 64,000 km.

Changed front brakes & all 4 tires @ 125,000 km.

Changed front passenger wheel bearing @ 150,000 km.

Changed serpentine belt @ 190,000 km.

Changed front driver's wheel bearing @ 206,000 km.

Clutch is starting to slip @ 206,000 km.

General Comments:

Smallest 4-door car I could find in Spring 2004. I have the RS package (leather steering wheel, alloy rims, nicer seats/fabric, spoiler). I changed the stock speakers at the front & added 2 6x9" speakers in the rear parcel shelf.

Manual gearbox still snick-snicks nicely & mechanically - throws are a little long, but no rubbery feel.

Mostly highway driving (hence long life on tires & brakes).

I avg 5.3 L/100km in the summer. I got better mileage on the original Michelins than on the Firestones I have now. I get 6.1 L/100km in the winter on Blizzaks.

Fits into spaces other cars can't. Small cars really are awesome.

Notable cargo includes: a fridge, 3 guys & 3 hockey bags, an armoire unit, 2 BBQs, 2 bicycles... yes, it's surprising how much stuff I fit in this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th January, 2011

31st Jan 2014, 15:24

Since I originally wrote this review, I have changed the clutch at 245,000 km.

The heat is still hot, and the A/C is still ice cold.

I just hit 250,000 km, and the car drives like new.

Starting to get some rust dots (too small to be called rust spots) underneath the stone-chip protector clear plastic film on the leading edge of the hood.

19th Jan 2017, 20:50

Since my comment 2 years ago, the following has gone wrong:

Nothing.

Haha, just kidding :-) See below:

New battery at 260,000 km (the original Furukawa battery still started the car, but hesitated a bit so I changed it. 10 years for a battery is insane! Most batteries now last for 5 years tops).

Changed A/C compressor at 295,000 km.

Tune-up and new catalytic converter at 310,000 km. You could hear the valves tap-tap-tapping, but now it's quiet & peppier.

At 312,000 km, it's still being driven daily. What a great car!

10th Jul 2017, 19:48

Update from original poster:

The car is now at 338,000 km.

I had applied a plastic film stone chip guard on the hood, which I suspect caused the hood to rust along the line where the hood edge meets the passenger headlight.

New brakes at 332,000 km.

Also swapped out the original radio for a CD player.

Electric blue paint still looks great.

There is no fraying on the seat fabric.

Still a daily driver :)