2003 Toyota ECHO Consumer Review: The VW that VW couldn't build

2003 Toyota ECHO Coupe - Consumer Review

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The VW that VW couldn't build
By al taloma on


2003 Toyota ECHO 2dr Coupe (1.5L 4cyl 5M)


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.

Best Features

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.

Worst Features

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?
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