It gets good mileage, average of 36 mpg, and it handles well for a small car. It's comfortable, though I find my shoulder hurting after sitting in it too long since I'm 6'1 and the armrest on the door isn't quite high enough to sit without slouching. The only problems so far are a catalytic converter and a charcoal canister. The Catalytic Converter was replaced at 79,000 and now needs it again at 90,000, that's a major expense only 11,000 miles apart. I do love this car, so hopefully once its catalytic converter is fixed it will be back to its excellent driving condition. The Toyota dealership was happy to see it and told me they are the best of the used Toyotas out there.
MILEAGE!!! It almost competes with hybrids. Room to move, being 6'1 there's plenty of room in there for me, other people are surprised when they get in about the amount of space since it looks like such a small car from the outside. Nice sound system. VERY reliable, I plan to drive it forever.
Car feels like it's going to be pushed into other lanes in high winds. A wider opening between back seat and trunk to put things through the fold down seat.
This car has been the best performing car I have ever owned, and has great gas mileage (almost equal to a hybrid).
The feature I love the most about this car is the placement of the odometer and gauges. They are centered in the middle of the dash in a console slightly angled toward the driver. Since I am 5'4, I do not have to look through the steering wheel to see the gauges, plus extra storage under dash.
I got this little car from my mom (she got it new) in Oct of 1999. She loved it, and drove it 180000 mi. with NO problems. Now I have it and WOW! 41 mpg AVG. and it's AUTO, and it flies. This is my 5th Toyota and maybe the best one.
I bought my "new" echo with 195k miles this year, it drives perfect. It's the second echo I own. I still regret that I sold my first one to my friend. I made 10k in about 5 months and have nothing to complain about. I'm a mechanic and I would recommend it to everybody. I drive mostly in city and get 36 mpg. Highway around 44 mpg. It's the most reliable car you can get for your money. I bet it can last more than 300k miles (I will try it). I still have original clutch with over 200k, no leaks at all. First it was ugly but now it's a pretty nice car, it takes time to get used to it. :)
Economy, reliability, interior space. I just love it.