I am just writing this to make a point. Bougth a brand new 2003 4 door Echo sedan. Really this and a few others were the only cars I could afford back then.
No regret! Still solid. Never had any major issues. I've been up to all the regular maintenance, and changes tires for winter every year.
Never had any accidents on icy and snowy roads here in Calgary.
Just trying to make a point. I compare this to a brand new 2010 Subaru Forester which turned out to be a $10k more expensive garbage.
I am definitely going back to Toyota.
Basic. Cost effective. Runs well, and don't break at all.
I inherited this little guy from my parents when i left for college, with 85,000 miles on it. I have since taken it up to 105,000 miles, because I commute every day to school. Even after 100,000 miles there has NEVER been a single maintenance issue. The thing still runs like a champ. I consistently get 40-43 mpg in the city, and 50 on highway trips. It has a decent amount of space, and can fit four people nicely. The trunk is pretty big, and i have crammed quite a bit of stuff in it. Honestly the most economical car i have ever seen or driven. Its also pretty spunky. The acceleration is decent, and she likes the higher rpms. I have beaten this car up and its still running strong.
Gas mileage, interior, reliability, build quality
The only thing bad is that I wish they had sold the hatchback version in the U.S.
I drive 65 miles a day round trip. This is an inexpensive, very dependable, and cost efficient vehicle to own. It's no frills, and it's not "plush", but it's comfortable enough on long DC area commutes, and tolerable on very long trips for one or two people. There's a surprising amount of headroom for us taller people, and the backseat area and truck are more spacious than you'd expect for such a small car.
Fuel economy - I consistently get 33- 36 MPG, normally 34. Considering the car costs around 10K less than a Prius hybrid, that's a darn good deal!
They don't make it anymore, but if they did, I'd say make it a tiny bit wider (a lot of lateral shift on taking corners fast at all), and maybe a more comfortable armrest.
I am extremely upset they quit making these. If I could, I would never buy any other car forever. This is the best car I have ever owned by far. I am a mechanic and do all my own work on my cars. This car never needed anything other than routine maintenance until 167,000 miles when it needed a left front wheel bearing. It gets the best gas mileage of any car other than hybrids. We get 45 mpg hwy. It is actually fast too -- plenty of passing power. At first I did not like the tallish look of it, but it grew on me. The car is like a miracle, I don't know how they did it, but it pulls everything you ever wanted in a car, like tight steering radius, good handling, power, MPG together into one.
Best MPG you will ever find in a non-hybrid. Reliable as a claw hammer. Good acceleration.
Start making it again!!! This is the best car in the history of mankind (and I am not exaggerating...).
I will never trust Toyota with my safety again. It's one thing to have poorly trained dealers who tell dangerous, outright falsehoods about the vehicle's features and design, it's another to train the head office staff to deal with customer complaints by running them through a maze of incompetence in the hope they'll just get frustrated and give up rather than addressing customer concerns directly. One slight breeze and you're in the ditch. The fuel economy's very misleading, because you need to carry at least half a beach worth of sand just to stay on the road. The windows spontaneously rolling down is just bonus fun. I have never been more dissatisfied with a purchase in my life.
Toyota needs to train their dealers to give accurate information, customer service to actually serve customers, and to build cars that can achieve fuel efficiency without compromising safety. Upholstery that does not resemble the stuffed animals you win at a carnival would be a good idea too.