We bought our Echo in 2000.
It has been the most reliable car we've ever owned, and the most economical to operate.
Highway mileage is about 40 mpg, and we have had no major repairs at over 180,000 miles.
My husband is 6'2" and is very comfortable in the driver's seat - he tried to sit in a Corolla at the time we bought the Echo, and he was terribly cramped, so we bought the Echo instead and have never, never regretted it.
This car is a keeper!
(Our Echo has automatic transmission.)
Initial low price, extremely low maintenance cost over 12 years (extreme reliability), high gas mileage, very large trunk, excellent for tight parking situations in the city (very maneuverable), roomy interior.
Use more durable materials on interior (we are tough on a car and, after 12 years, the interior hasn't held up all that well).
I missed power locks and power windows, but I got used to it.