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The 2000 Toyota Echo brings a new name and a fresh concept to the Toyota lineup. Designed to attract youthful buyers, the Echo features a roomy and comfortable interior, superb gas mileage and an affordable price.
The Toyota Echo is offered in both two- and four-door models. Price-positioned substantially below the Toyota Corolla, it offers nearly identical passenger volume. This is achieved by combining a tall profile and a cab-forward silhouette. The high roof provides exceptional headroom and allows for more upright seating. The result is reduced driver fatigue and better visibility. This layout also combines the low floor height of a sedan with a high seating position to enhance ingress/egress.
An all-new, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine features variable valve timing technology (Toyota calls it VVT-i). Tuned to deliver exceptional fuel economy and good power, the engine meets low-emission vehicle status. With output registering 108 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 105 foot-pounds of torque at 4,200 rpm, Echo's favorable power-to-weight ratio contributes to zero-to-60 acceleration performance on par with key competitors.
Echo will be one of the highest-mileage vehicles ever offered by Toyota in America. Toyota says preliminary tests have resulted in combined city/highway mileage figures over 40 mpg. The engine is linked to either a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic. The automatic has been designed to stay in a lower gear while travelling uphill, minimizing hunting between gears.
The three-box Echo body structure was developed to provide exceptional occupant safety. The front side member, dash cross member, instrument panel support bar and pillar brace form a trapezoidal structure that effectively disperses impact energy from a front-end collision. Standard safety equipment on the Echo includes dual airbags, occupant head impact protection, and seatbelt pre-tensioners with force limiters. ABS and daytime running lights will be optional. Additional safety features include all-new whiplash-reducing front seat frames with fully integrated headrests.
Echo offers audio system choices of exceptionally high quality for this segment. In addition to a standard AM/FM stereo, a deluxe AM/FM receiver with cassette and six speakers will be offered. A 3-in-1 audio system that includes an AM/FM receiver, cassette and CD with six speakers is also available. Echo also features an abundance of storage space that includes large door pockets, seatback pockets, and convenient storage compartments surrounding the audio system.
Clearly styled and appointed to appeal to young buyers, the Echo is priced quite competitively. However, given America's huge appetite for SUVs both large and small, it's unclear at this point how well the Echo will fare.
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