2004 Toyota ECHO 1.5 I4 from North America
Zippy and maintenance free
Gas filler neck is rusted.
Muffler is shot, expected with a car of this age.
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
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.