2001 Toyota ECHO Review

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Pros & Cons

  • Good gas mileage, speedy acceleration, roomy and functional interior, likely to be reliable.
  • Cartoonish styling, dopey gauge placement, lousy handling, deceptively low base pricing.
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Toyota ECHO for Sale
List Price Estimate
$1,282 - $2,973

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Current Echo owners don't like us. There's a reason. We don't like the Echo.

Vehicle overview

Despite what seems at first to be a pretty good deal, we think you'd be wise to shop around before settling on an Echo. But don't take our word for it; ask Car and Driver magazine. They called it a "big mistake."

Yes, it's a Toyota, so it'll probably run until your first gray hair sprouts (or you wind up in a pine box, if you already have gray hairs.) Yes, it gets great gas mileage, doubly important now that OPEC has figured out that Americans will pay higher gas prices before they give up their SUVs. Yes, it has a roomy interior with lots of cubbies to store your stuff. Yes, acceleration is impressive from the sophisticated 108-horsepower, VVTi motor.

But, when you cut through the marketing hype and peek behind Toyota's veneer of bulletproof reliability, what you find might not be pretty.

Neither is the Echo. Hey, styling is a subjective point, but take a good look at this thing. Do you really want people to think you've borrowed a prop from Disneyland's Toontown when you pull up to the curb? But it's cheap, you say. Advertisements brag about a low sticker price that starts under $10,000, but in reality, when you've got the car optioned in a manner that makes it suitable as a daily driver, the value of the Echo starts to evaporate.

Air conditioning, a rear defogger and a clock are all optional. Heck, even power steering is on the a la carte menu. Add these features and you're paying nearly $12,000 for a two-door. At this price, you're still rowing your own gears through gridlocked traffic. Pop for an automatic transmission and you're spending another $800. Now approaching $13,000, you still don't have antilock brakes or side impact airbags. Loaded up with every possible option, an Echo Sedan runs close to $15,000, and you're still rolling down your own windows and manually setting the sideview mirrors.

Beyond the dubious value equation, there is the issue of crashworthiness. Considering the fact that Echo's base curb weight is a feather-light 2,035 pounds, and the average SUV-driving soccer dad pilots a rig at least twice that mass, basic physics dictates that the Echo driver is putting herself at risk. Toyota maintains that Echo was engineered to provide crash and injury protection that matches the larger Camry, and internal company test data indicates their design goal was met. However, U.S. crash testing has not been conducted on the Echo at this writing, so we cannot determine through third party results if Toyota has been able to successfully refute Sir Issac Newton's second law. Until then, order the side airbags.

Echo does have a few redeeming qualities, but not enough to garner a recommendation from our staff. If you're into storage bins, there are big gaping ones in the dash. And the interior is almost as roomy as the more expensive Corolla, a car that we actually find to be a bit cramped. Finally, the sprightly 1.5-liter, twin-cam four-cylinder engine makes 108 horsepower, resulting in surprising acceleration times of 8.5 seconds in the dash from zero to 60.

But with skinny, low rolling resistance, 14-inch tires, a tall stance and center of gravity, and slab-sided bodywork, handling is not Echo's forte. Plus, crosswinds severely hamper the ability to stay in your own lane, and ABS is a costly $590 add-on that is inexplicably bundled with daytime running lights (evidently, Toyota feels buyers of Echos without ABS aren't interested in increased visibility to other drivers.)

Want to know what else you could buy with your hard-earned money? Let's see. How about a certified-used Honda Civic that's bigger inside, several hundred pounds heavier, and won't embarrass you when you meet potential in-laws? And there's the pre-owned Mazda Protege, a classy small car that resembles the upscale Audi A4. Heck, even many new economy cars could be better bets, like the award-winning Ford Focus, the refined Nissan Sentra, and the surprisingly entertaining, easily affordable and thoroughly warranteed Hyundai Elantra.

Ssssh! Hear that Echo? That's empty Toyota showrooms.

2001 Highlights

In an effort to better protect occupants of this lightweight economy car, Toyota makes side airbags optional for 2001. Brilliant Blue Pearl is a new color.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2001 Toyota ECHO.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Toyota Echo - Big Little Car!
FDW,07/20/2016
4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl 4A)
Bought this 2001 model in 2014 as a high mileage "used" second car from a dealer when it had slightly less than 190K miles on it. Only quirks I had were the auto shift display bulb went out (I am handy and removed the arm rest to access) Thanks for the video YOUTUBE! Door (outside) handles in rear flop but work well - need to replace - a small plastic part breaks inside and for OEM you need to paint new handles $$. Also Check Engine Light went on a couple of times - mechanic reset advised prob a smog problem costing $400 in the future. My son and I cheered as it passed the #200K mile mark and he video'd it for me. I almost hit a 4 x 4 on a Northern CA freeway once - I probably for safety should have driven over it. My point - some body roll as it is a tall car. Very zippy. A/C vents blow well, defrost too. Big trunk. Aftermarket stereo makes the interior a speaker. I replace the battery every couple of years, too. Some minor nuisances - the glove box is a 2-part endeavor but works. Gas tank access is locked from inside (yay). Easy to park. People may make jokes but it is fun to drive. A smaller car - no ABS so drive defensively. Some of the outside trim breaks (around the grill tabs, etc.) Happened in its prior life. No timing belt to change (mechanical type!) Drive safe! 2019 update- replaced battery, plugs. 2 years ago check engine light came on then off a few times flashing. No plug wires just replaced 4 coils at $90 each in parts. It’s a coil on plug set up no wires, replaced coils had 200k on them. Some front brakes disc replaced with OEM as aftermarket rotors shook and squealed. 232,000. Miles on it.
Best value around.
mikebean,05/03/2012
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)
if you break it, extremely low price to fix it
Jeremiah Hawkins,05/13/2016
4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl 4A)
If you cant live without the finer things dont buy this car. But if you want a truly reliable, low maintenance, great gas mileage and low price used car with no worries about any type of previous driving history.... then this car just makes perfect sense. I've drove my echo since 2004 as my first car and I still drive it today with current odometer reading of 350,919 miles. **warning car perfectly matched for logical, non flashy people who value finer things in life more than a flashy transportation vehicle**** ps. Best purchase and investment I have made so far in my life. Pss. Sorry for the bad grammer, I chose to write a review but initially was looking for alloy rims for my whip. #thebluelagoon #thatsitsnickname Pss too many low cost aftermarket modifications to choose from and google easily guides how to install every single one. So if you need usb or bluetooth no problem. The way the sound bounces off the interior design makes the stock speakers incredible. Pss im not a mechanic but this car was built for begginer do it yourselfers. Ive changed or fixed with my own hands oil, front and rear brake pads, rotars, and even calipers, 02 scensors, dashboard lights, cd player, fuses, flat tires, tire rotation.
This car is a Trooper
josh_reeves,11/13/2013
I have only good things to say about this car. Excellent mileage; EPA estimates are LOW. I get 35 mpg easily. Small, but the interior is bigger than it looks. Cost only 11K brand new. Speedometer is in the middle, back windows roll all the way down (yea, that's right). I have 190K hard miles on mine, through some rough times, and its still going strong - an absolute trooper.

Features & Specs

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More about the 2001 Toyota ECHO

Used 2001 Toyota ECHO Overview

The Used 2001 Toyota ECHO is offered in the following submodels: ECHO Sedan, ECHO Coupe. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl 4A), 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl 5M), 2dr Coupe (1.5L 4cyl 5M), and 2dr Coupe (1.5L 4cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2001 Toyota ECHO?

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Which used 2001 Toyota ECHOS are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2001 Toyota ECHO for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2001 Toyota ECHO.

Can't find a used 2001 Toyota ECHOs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Toyota ECHO for sale - 10 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $8,957.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 10 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $22,023.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota ECHO for sale - 4 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $21,328.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota for sale - 4 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $16,991.

Should I lease or buy a 2001 Toyota ECHO?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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