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2000 Toyota ECHO Review
Budget-friendly car looks plain but practical.
Reviewed by Automotive on
Created for budget-minded young drivers, the 2000 Toyota ECHO marks an all-new entry-level compact vehicle offering impressive gas mileage at an affordable price. The ECHO offers one trim level and two body styles: a two-door coupe and a four-door sedan.
Thanks to a low floor and a tall roof, the tiny car boasts a deceptively large cabin very similar to the interior of the 2000 Toyota Corolla. While it won’t win any style awards with its humdrum design, the ECHO may win over buyers with practical features and the highest EPA ratings offered by Toyota for 2000.
Engines: 1.5-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Toyota ECHO
In its debut year, the 2000 Toyota ECHO comes with a brand-new, 1.5-liter, 108-hp, four-cylinder Toyota engine designed with variable valve timing technology. Tuned to provide the highest possible gas mileage and lowest levels of pollution, the engine places the ECHO squarely into the low-emission vehicle (LEV) category. Available in nearly-identical coupe and sedan body styles, the Toyota ECHO features a fresh silhouette with a tall roof, low floor, and high seating position intended to improve ergonomics and visibility.
With a tall curved roof, a forward-leaning stance, and a short hood and trunk, the basic but cute 2000 Toyota ECHO resembles an oversized toy car. Single-trim coupes and sedans come with 14-inch steel wheels, tinted glass, teardrop-shaped headlamps, a black grille, body-colored bumpers and door handles, black plastic lower rocker panels, black plastic wheel-lip moldings, and creased body lines. Individual options include alloy wheels, intermittent windshield wipers, a rear window defroster, and a sporty rear spoiler.
Besides the number of doors, the coupe and sedan versions look identical. Both measure 163.3 inches in length and 59.1 inches in height and sit on a 93.4-inch wheelbase. The ECHO has a ground clearance of 5.5 inches and a curb weight of just over 2000 pounds. Available exterior paint colors for 2000 models include Absolutely Red, Electric Green, Seafoam Blue Metallic, Alpine Silver Metallic, Satin Gold Metallic, Super White, and Black Sand Pearl.
Though plainly-designed, the cabin of the 2000 Toyota ECHO feels comfortable, spacious, and functional. By moving the instrument panel cluster from its standard position behind the steering wheel to the center of the ECHO’s dash, Toyota creates a more straightforward layout and excellent visibility.
Standard interior features include cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front bucket seats, a rear bench seat, a tilt steering wheel, a center console, two hidden front storage compartments with cup holders, a rear cup holder, a dual glove box, manually operated windows and mirrors, and an AM/FM stereo system. The ECHO noticeably lacks some of the standard features expected on modern vehicles, including air-conditioning and power steering. Both of these amenities provide individual options, along with power door locks, a digital clock, a rear split-bench seat, a cassette player, a CD player, and a CD changer.
The interior of the 2000 Toyota ECHO feels surprisingly roomy, even for back-seat occupants. Front occupants receive 39.8 inches of headroom, 41.1 inches of legroom, and 51.1 inches of hip room, while rear passengers get 37.8 inches of headroom, 35.2 inches of legroom, and 51 inches of hip room. At 13.6 cubic feet, trunk capacity remains similar to what one might find in an average midsize sedan. The rear seat folds forward to create more space. Two interior color schemes features gray tones and a retro-inspired seat pattern.
Performance & Handling
The 2000 Toyota ECHO draws power from an all-new Toyota engine: a 1.5-liter inline-four with variable valve timing. With an output of 108 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque, the engine provides enough pep for the lightweight compact to easily keep pace with its rivals. At the same time, the engine allows for a class-topping combined EPA rating of 30 mpg.
Gas mileage improves further by swapping out the line’s standard five-speed manual transmission for an optional four-speed automatic, which has been designed to remain in lower gears during uphill climbs, reducing gear hunting. However, the manual gearbox provides smoother gear changes and slightly quieter accelerations. Once up to speed, engine noise settles down considerably with either transmission.
Standard safety equipment on the 2000 Toyota ECHO includes dual front airbags, whiplash-reducing front seats with headrests, and seat belt pretensioners. Anti-lock brakes and daytime running lights remain optional. In order to protect occupants, Toyota designs the short-hooded ECHO with a pillar brace, an instrument panel support bar, and front- and side-impact beams intended to dissipate energy from a front-impact collision. Crash test scores remain unavailable for the 2000 Toyota ECHO.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Impressive fuel economy
- Peppy engine
- Spacious cabin
- Competitive price
You Won't Like
- Bland design
- Basic build quality
- Limited standard amenities
Budget-friendly car looks plain but practical.
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