I feel like I won the lottery when I found this car. 2002 with 19k on it. A new car for 50% off! Since then, I average a combined 43 mpg summer/39 mpg winter at 9000 feet up in the mountains. Power to weight ratio is fantastic, especially considering the fuel economy. Acceleration good, cornering good, braking superb = great in snow. Slightly worse mpg than Prius, but no huge toxic battery! Better performance than Prius due to its much lighter weight and all at one third the price! Much less complicated mechanically and Toyota build quality should equal great longevity and reliability. I've see Echos with 400k on them. This car is the nerd that never was popular but won in the end.
Fuel economy!!! People ask: is it a hybrid? No it is better. More reliable, better performance, way cheaper. Great power to weight ratio = great performance. Outperforms cars that use 50% more fuel. 108hp at 2050 lbs. Very, very roomy especially with folding rear seat. Rides smooth and quiet.
Put this drivetrain in a slightly less odd-looking package (the successor Yaris still looks a little weird) and add a few more options standard. A little less plastic in interior. I wish the hatchback would have been sold in the US, because I think it looks better. I'd definitely buy a used one.
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