This car has been in my family since it was purchased for ~$10k in 2001. There is currently 130k miles on it. I'm still averaging around 40mpg in the summer and 36mpg in the winter. Crazy that this car is still worth something in the neighborhood of $3-3.5k private party. You can't ask for more than that. If it weren't for the need to fit two car seats (2nd child on the way), I would never give this car up. It's just too good of a value. I should also mention that it's very fun to drive. Work performed: computer failed at about 90k ($1100), bushings replaced (120k), engine coil replaced (120k), catalytic converter needs to be replaced along with the exhaust (MN winters = rust + holes)
Mine came equipped with a/c and staight gear. Gas mileage averages about 39 per gallon. The wind does move this car around somewhat but I think that would be inherent with any 2100 lb. car. True it doesn't come with many extras but I didn't expect many for $11,700.00. Before I bought the Echo I tested a Hyundai Accent, Daewoo Lanos and Kia Rio and they could not touch the Echo in acceleration, gas mileage, ride quality or fit and finish.
I bought my car in Feb. 2001 with the sticker telling me that my MPG would be 38/43. I have been lucky to have had company cars, so I now have barely 69K miles on the engine. I now have been using my car more for work, driving in town, and out of town. Besides oil changes and new tires, I have not had to have any other work done on my car. I calculated a month ago that I was getting 38 MPG, so I am very happy with this car. I just hate they do not make it anymore. The big space is so unexpected for such a small car.
I bought an ECHO in 2001 even after reading what Edmonds had to say about it. The car is still going strong after 176,000 miles. Even at age ten, the ECHO has more testicular fortitude than the 2012 Hyundai Accent I test-drove last weekend. And, with all due respect to the reviewers, I happen to like the unusal "cartoon" styling of the ECHO, especially when car companies are all turning out their own versions of the same car. Viva la difference!