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2004 Toyota ECHO Review
Economy and reliability with a unique look.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The Toyota Echo debuted for the 2000 model year. These two- and-four-door subcompact cars are noted for their unconventional look and reasonable price. The look and price is designed to appeal to younger car buyers. This is an entry-level car that is slotted below the well-known Toyota Corolla in both vehicle size and price. Sales have been respectable since its introduction, but the vehicle has failed to generate the buzz or sales numbers that Toyota originally strived for. A face-lift in 2003 gave the Echo newly styled front and rear fascias and redesigned the bumpers, quarter panels, grille, headlamps, taillights, and trunk lid. Its 14-inch wheel covers were made standard with the option of 15-inch tires on steel wheels.
Engines: 1.5-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: optional five-speed automatic, standard five-speed manual
Models: Toyota Echo
There have been no changes to the 2004 Toyota Echo.
The 2004 Toyota Echo has a unique appearance with a low-sloped hood that rises to meet an upright tall windshield. The unusual style has met some criticism, but it is not very far removed from other low-riding automobiles. The sedan does give off the impression of a conventional smaller car that was squeezed together to be even more compact. Both trims are built on a wheelbase of 163.20-inches with a 65.40-inch width and 59.40-inch height. It is two inches taller but 13.5-inches shorter than Toyota’s Corolla. Fog lights, rear spoilers, alloy wheels, power adjustable exterior mirrors, interval wipers, and a rear window defogger are available as options for each trim.
The 2004 Toyota Echo seats five occupants. Although it is much shorter than the Corolla, its interior volume just about matches the 88-cubic-foot Corolla. Taller people should find the 39.90 inches of front headroom and 41.10 inches of front legroom to be very accommodating. Rear headroom is 37.60 inches with 35.20 inches of rear legroom. The two-door sedan offers slightly more front and rear shoulder room. The most standout interior feature is its gauges. The instrument cluster rests on the top of the dashboard, directly atop the middle of the dash. All gauges are angled toward the driver. This central location makes the gauges much easier to read but the positioning does take some getting used to. The storage space inside is abundant with twin glove boxes, three cup holders, pockets for navigational maps, two in-dash storage bins, and a small shelf. Both trims come standard with tilt steering, a tilt steering column, and AM/FM radio. Options include air-conditioning, tachometer, cassette player, CD player/changer, subwoofer, second row folding seat, cargo net, and load bearing exterior rack.
Performance & Handling
The 2004 Toyota Echo accelerates with some surprising zest and pep despite its modest engine output. It can sometimes struggle to maintain a steady speed while going up hills. Fast lane switches on highways may also be problematic. The manual gears make for better performance. It drives and handles well, although some find the handling to be a bit wobbly and also shows a bit more vulnerability to strong gusts of winds than other vehicles. This is a great car for anyone wanting reliable transportation that is affordable and great on gas. Those expecting a super performance racecar are best advised to look elsewhere. The compact size makes it super easy to park on the street or in a garage. It delivers dependability in spades.
Anti-lock brakes are optional with the 2004 Toyota Echo. Daytime running lights come standard with the vehicle. No side-impact airbags are available. NHTSA frontal crash test scores resulted in four-star ratings for driver and passenger safety and protection. Side crash test ratings were three-stars for front side crash protection and four-stars for rear side crash protection.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Great gas mileage
- Peppy acceleration
- Roomy and functional interior
- Toyota reliability
You Won't Like
- Cartoonish styling
- Odd gauge placement that can be annoying
- Shaky handling, especially in high winds
- Trouble driving up hills and quickly passing on highways
- No standard window/door locks
Economy and reliability with a unique look.
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