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.
The misunderstood Echo. If one compares the Echo with, say, a 69 VW Bug, it's reason for being becomes obvious. It's an old bug, with twice the horsepower, much quieter, easier to drive, air conditioning, twice the fuel economy, but with almost all the features we grew to love in the Bug. Toyota saw the market, and went for it. Funny looking, yes, even cute, 'cept it's a mouse, not a bug. Goes like stink, fun to drive. Mileage around 40+, 43-47 if you featherfoot. Comfortable. Lots of cubby's. A joy to commute in. Does everything the bugs did, and more. No wonder most who own them love them. And yes, many people give them names. Mine's "Dinky". She's a joy.
Mileage, speed, agility, comfort, storage and cubbys. With the styling change in 03, the looks were much improved. Great seats, everything always works. And the fabled Toyota reliability. 200000 miles on original plugs, clutch, brakes. Like old VW's wanted to be, the best car for the money.
Fold down rear seat, better aerodynamics behind rear window (big cut off zone), a hatchback might have been a better choice. A clock, temp, tach, oil pressure, volt gauges would have been a good idea. And why not a performance model. Beat mini at their own game. Variable valve timing on both cams?
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.
Dependable, economical & fun small car to drive - especially during times of high gas prices. This car is excellent for city driving and ok for shorter highway trips. It's light weight makes it easily swayed by passing trucks and not the best traction on snowy roads. It could use cruise control & arm rests.