This has been a super reliable vehicle. The 1NZ-FE engine has a timing chain, not a belt. The tires are small and very inexpensive... it's cheap to own and cheap to maintain in all aspects. I love the simplicity and basic nature of this car. Just change the fluids at the appropriate intervals and enjoy the car.
I have had my Echo since 2004 and I absolutely love it! It is zippy and gets wonderful gas mileage. It runs great and is a trooper in the snow (and We get a lot of snow where I live too). I recently took it to the local Toyota dealer for inspection and they said everything is still in great shape. I know when it comes time to buy a new car, it will be a sad day for me to part with my Echo.
We purchased an Echo and I was jealous of my husband driving it, that we bought a second one six months later!! The maneuverability is fantastic. Repairs have been minimal, just normal tires, etc. the gas mileage cannot be beat. We are selling both of them now for a larger vehicles to carry grandchildren! We had intended to continue driving our His and Hers Echos for many years to come!
"Wow it's zippy!" were my first words when I first drove this car. The acceleration is very responsive, the small engine was more than enough for this featherweight (just beware strong wind and rain), and it got better mileage than most hybrids. It's certainly stylish, and although the interior is lackluster, the high instrument panel to the right of the driver allowed for better eye contact with the road. For eight years, with regular oil changes and diagnostics, I never had a single problem with the car until I drove the car into another. The front crumpled, saving my life, but it crumpled far too easily and the car was totaled while the other car barely got a scratch.