The Toyota Echo is the value for your dollar car next to the Honda Civic. If you are looking to give your new high school graduate a new car, A Honda Civic or Toyota Echo is the car. Although 2005 is the last production year for the Echo, look in 2007 for the Toyota Yaris to be the next best thing. Japanese producted Yaris is the exact same frame and structure as the Echo, but you now have a 3rd or 5th door (hatchback).
These comments apply to 3 identical new Echos purchased from July-October 05,equipped with 15" wheels,175 section tires. Fine road grip. Heavy duty roll bars completely eliminate body roll. Corners flat. Nimble power steering, very precise, goes where pointed. Crosswind stability vg- etc. Very firm ride, no float on heaving road, a little rough on bad pavement (See my "8" rating for Comfort.)(Would rate it "10" with 2 or more people,or on good roads). Shifting easy, but downshifts from 5th to 4th take a little aligning. Stoplight Grand Prix acceleration a blast,shocks the unwary.Recommended tire inflation shows up small bumps...Reducing to improve ride gives PRONOUNCED understeer on fast turns
My wife and I had to get a rent-a-car and decided on a Toyota Echo, not knowing exactly what to expect. What we found surprised us. After driving it a while, we liked it so much we decided to buy one later from a local delearship- the last one on their lot. We thought we could use some insulation from high gas prices by buying an economy car, and let me tell you, the Echo delivered. Between highway and city driving it got 35 plus miles to the gallon. On the highway we got 42- three more miles per gallon than advertised.
The best money I ever spent on a car! It's a shame this car did not catch on with most of the public. With todays gas prices its a solution available today ! Its about half the cost of a hybrid, but gets 40+ mpg ! A great value. I was surprised how peppy this car is for a fuel efficient car.