I'm 6'6" and the Echo is the only economy car with enough headroom for me. It's surprisingly quick and I've averaged about 40 mpg overall...38 in town and 43 hiway...the combination of mileage, space, and quick accelation in a modestly priced car is unbeatable to date...once you get accustomed to the center dash...it's a better design from a safety point of view.
I've never loved my car before this--I always bought for practicality and was very happy with the much-recommended, long-lived Tercels since 1984. The ECHO HATCHBACK is cute, fun, different, economical, and comfortable. Maybe not so different anymore--they're popping up everywhere! I get 46MPG (the larger Canadian gallons)in real life driving, which has only a few 5 minute stretches of 80km/h (50mph)--no real highway driving. Toyota makes terrific, reliable cars, and now they have a CUTE one too!
I love the cute look of it, the terrific fuel economy, the upright seating, the spacious comfort with amazing headroom and legroom for all, interior storage, and the ease of entry (somebody said--without ducking or twisting). I splurged and got air conditioning and keyless entry--what a treat!
Shifting into reverse is not always smooth or definite--sometimes it takes a few tries.
When I need to "move" from an entrance ramp onto a fast highway, my ECHO is there for me. When I need to "gas-it" to get around a truck or Sunday driver...my ECHO is there for me. New York City should buy a fleet of ECHOs to use as eco-enviro Taxi cabs. The back seat is huge, I know, I am a tall person and have to sit back there to wash the windows periodically. I LOVE my ECHO! And he (vinnie..he's black) is SO cute! 39MPG + on the highway. 36mpg in Manhattan!!!
The engine is tops. The transmission is tops. The sound system is at the top of the ordinary list. This car even takes lots of potholes with a grain of salt. I can drive my Echo for hours and not get tired or cramped!
The Paint job could be a bit more high end. Otherwise...the car is perfect!
I would have to say that for a 17 year old this is really the best car that you could buy. With its 1.5 liter 4- cly. 108 hp. this echo can be a sprinty for a little car. I would take the echo over a focus, civic,and an accent. The echo has a TDI system (Toyota Direct Ignition system) which means that it eliminates the need for a distributor, spark plug wires, rotor, and a bigger muffler for better breating at higher revs. It also has six speakers, and a great sound system. This is an awesome car!!!
My favorite feature would be the room that it has, rear defroster, tilt steering, trunk light, great sound system, compartments, great gas saver, and the roomy trunk.
The improvments I would have to say that I would like would be a standard cd player.
Handles beautifully - haven't seen the "wobbleness" noted by Edmunds. Gas mileage great - last fill up was 39.8 mpg (I drive conservatively). The 2001 model sold me on getting the 2005, and the 2005 is great!
Gas mileage, location of speedometer and other functional parts, smaller steering wheel (great for "shorties."
Smaller headrests - can be difficult for "shorties" to check before changing lanes sometimes.