I bought a 2001 4-door, Auto. Trans. Toyota Echo twice. 2 weeks apart. The 1st Echo was destroyed by an idiot that smashed into me while he was trying to cross 4 lanes of traffic. The front end of my Echo was completely crumpled, both airbags deployed, and the car was completely totaled. I was so impressed by this car's ability to protect me and my boy (he was completely unharmed, and I only suffered seat belt abrasions), I imm. bought another one to replace it. It has been 4 years now, 96k miles, and I have had only two minor probs: the CD player got fried the 1st year for unknown reasons and the gear shift light doesn't always light up. Also: I avg. 36 mpg despite my jack-rabbit starts.
High mpg. Quality materials, fit and finish. Great headroom, and better visibility than most econo cars. Very good storage, split rear seats, and a great sound system. (I bought the premium sys.) Excellent 0-60 acceleration despite the small 1.5L engine and autotranny.
Needs a center arm rest and a smoother window / door trim to rest your arm on when the window is open. Everything else is perfect.