Toyota ECHO

Toyota was in need of a small, compact car around the turn of the millennium. The compact was more popular than ever. Enter the Echo, the successor to the Tercel and the granddaddy of the Scion.

The Echo was a failure in the sales department. Although offering a lot to young buyers or consumers on a budget, the Echo failed to take off like other Toyota brands. The Echo ran from 2000 until the 2005 model year.

More on the Toyota ECHO
About the Toyota Echo

A typical buyer could not ignore the Echo’s design, which may be one of the reasons why the car was a failure. The strange snub nose and the cluttered interior design of the console did a lot to turn away potential customers. It featured 14-inch steel wheels and 12-volt front power outlets. The narrow body, small tires, and the high body structure was not the safest of designs either. The Echo was prone to tipping over during tight turns.

The engine on the Echo had great fuel economy and was inexpensive. Don’t expect to push the Echo to its limits without hearing whining sounds coming from under the hood. Although the engine isn’t exactly powerful, it will maintain speed. This vehicle housed a 1.5-liter engine that produced 108 horsepower with 105 lb-ft of torque. Lifting your foot off the gas won’t mean an immediate drop in speed. The brakes also work well, responding firmly when pressed. This, however, is only in regards to the models equipped with anti-lock brakes.

The Toyota Echo was discontinued in 2005. No plans for a future Echo are in the works. The Toyota Yaris succeeded it.

Toyota Echo Evolution

The Echo was first launched in 2000. A sedan and coupe body was offered. This power wouldn’t be impressive if the Echo weren’t such a light vehicle. The low weight provided an added bonus since it boosted fuel economy. The Echo was capable of going 30-plus mpg. The EPA rated the vehicle between 34 and 41 mpg, while it was recorded to get 30/38 mpg city/highway.

The Echo had few standard offerings on the inside, much like the Toyota Corolla models being offered today. Included were the basics, such as AM/FM radio, 14-inch wheels, and a tilt steering wheel. Optional features included anti-lock brakes (ABS), an all-weather package, power steering, side airbags, and air-conditioning. Some of these optional features were made available as standard in later models. Side airbags were included standard in 2001, likely due to safety concerns over the Echo rolling problem. Optional 15-inch wheels were available in 2002.

Toyota Echo Features

The Echo did have a few impressive features. Although a small car, the Echo boasted a very spacious cabin and lots of trunk space. Due to the high cabin area visibility was also impressive. Some of the plastic on the interior was standard and cheap though, making the Echo feel as economic as it truly was. The Echo was one of the slimmest economic cars available at the time, although it was one of the tallest.

A five-speed transmission was standard and a four-speed was offered as an option, although it cost an extra $800. The shift-and-clutch play on the manual versions was very smooth, and the fuel economy was good on either transmission.

The Echo was no longer offered as part of a pre-built line. It was only available by special order in 2004 and 2005. Sales of the Echo dropped, and the line was discontinued.

The Echo has continued to be reliable like most Toyota vehicles. Even a used model will run well, although the weak engine may feel terrible when compared to modern compact vehicle models.

Don’t expect to find many used models that boast all of the special trim options. Loading up the Echo with all the options would make little sense when the vehicle was offered. Several sedans were available at around the same price offering better standards.

If you are looking for a compact vehicle and don’t want to break the bank, you can likely find an Echo out there that will fit within your budget. As far as economy cars go the Echo performs fairly well, even though it won’t exactly turn heads or leave skids marks when peeling out of the driveway.

Select a Toyota ECHO Year

2005 Toyota ECHO

Compact, Coupe, Sedan

The 2005 Toyota Echo has a unique look thanks to some unconventional styling.

2004 Toyota ECHO

Compact, Coupe, Sedan

The Toyota Echo debuted for the 2000 model year.

2003 Toyota ECHO

Compact, Coupe, Sedan

The 2003 Toyota ECHO is viewed by many as a ride with an unconventional appearance, but this model from the Japanese carmaker relies on low sticker price to attract consumers.

2002 Toyota ECHO

Compact, Coupe, Sedan

The 2002 Toyota ECHO looks different.

2001 Toyota ECHO

Compact, Coupe, Sedan

The 2001 Toyota Echo marks some kind of achievement, but not the kind of achievement that many car manufacturers want.

2000 Toyota ECHO

Compact, Coupe, Sedan

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.