Toyota Echo Research & Reviews

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

4.65/5 Average
424 Total Reviews
Model Overview:

The oddly proportioned and slightly cartoonish Toyota Echo economy car debuted just before the start of the new millennium. A successor to the Tercel and precursor to the Scion brand, the Echo was meant to bring younger U.S. buyers into the Toyota family via its low price and Toyota heritage.

However, this was one Toyota that uncharacteristically failed to garner much success. Although the Toyota Echo offered an impressively roomy cabin thanks to its narrow and tall greenhouse and an economical 1.5-liter four-cylinder that propelled it with decent pep, the car's faults made it one of our editors' least favorite subcompacts. An unusual centralized gauge cluster was deemed poor in design, and once underway, the Echo's small tires and upright stance contributed to a "tippy" feel at highway speeds and excessive body roll when navigating tight corners.

No doubt the Echo, being a Toyota, enjoys a reputation for higher than average reliability. And though we complained of poor value for the dollar -- mostly due to the Echo's low price resulting from Toyota charging extra for common conveniences -- the Echo's slow depreciation has offset that somewhat. Still, anyone on a budget and shopping for a used economy car has better choices that offer greater overall performance and value.

Most Recent Toyota Echo

The Toyota Echo was launched in 2000 and ran through 2005. Sedan and coupe body styles were offered. All Echos were powered by a 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine capable of 108 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque. Thanks to a light curb weight, this was enough power to give the Echo decent acceleration. Fuel economy was also impressive, with real-world mileage typically in the mid-30s, quite possibly the best of any non-hybrid, gas-powered car from this time period.

At the time, Toyota kept the car's base price low by making most of its features optional. Standard equipment was very basic, including AM/FM four-speaker audio, a tilt steering wheel and 14-inch wheels. Optional was an all-weather package (including a heavy-duty battery and rear window defogger), antilock brakes, air-conditioning, side airbags, a CD player and keyless entry. Even power steering was an option, as were power windows and mirrors, a tachometer and a split-folding rear seat. In 2001, side airbags became available. The following year, Toyota began offering optional 15-inch wheels. The Echo also got a restyling in 2003. In the car's final years, Toyota made the Echo available by special order only, which caused sales to drop drastically.

Design-wise, the Toyota Echo's most impressive features were its spacious cabin and trunk. The tall greenhouse and narrow roof pillars offered unobstructed visibility and lots of headroom. Front seating was comfortable as long as the pronounced, upright feel didn't bother you, and rear seat legroom was just fine for two full-size adults. Interior materials on the Echo were about average for this class, though the cheap plastic pillar covers, hard steering wheel and foam headliner were subpar. Also, its center-mounted instruments took some getting used to.

Those seriously considering the purchase of a used Toyota Echo should seek out a well-equipped model. They shouldn't cost much more and should make the car much easier to live with.

User Reviews:

Showing 1 through 10 of 424.00
  • I LOVE this car. - 2001 Toyota Echo
    By -

    I purchased this car in '05 with about 60,000 miles on it. It now has almost 200,000 on it and is still going strong. It has had no major repairs, save a new switch for the headlights. In fact, the biggest repairs I've had to do (replacing 2 doors) were from accidents; perhaps people have difficulty seeing the car because it is on the small side. However, I get great gas mileage; sometimes close to 40 mpg (highway)! When I do need to replace this car, I will most definitely go with the Yaris.

  • Best car ever - 2000 Toyota Echo
    By -

    I love this car. I wouldn't give up for a Cadilac. It is however not real comfortable for extended amounts of time. I use it just as a to and from town/work car. For that purpose it is the best I've ever driven. It's terrible in snow, sleet, rain, especially wind. But those days are few and far between. I would recommend this car to most anyone. Maybe not a teenager.

  • Not just another small sedan - 2003 Toyota Echo
    By -

    Love the car!! Not because of price,but for exellent mpg,confort,use of space and fun to drive.Someone told me it looked like a spaceship!I said cool! Tired of the same old styles,i like it,kinda grows on you.Rides nice and quiet and has more than enough power for country and city driving.Toyota did a great job useing what interior space could be provided with its small size.Seems to have as much space or more than some bigger cars ive owned.Great view in the drivers seat! sits higher than most small cars.Dont be afriaid to try something different!! you may really like it,like i did.PS this is the first non american car i ever owned. Great Car.

  • Not just another small sedan - 2003 Toyota Echo
    By -

    Love the car!! Not because of price,but for exellent mpg,confort,use of space and fun to drive.Someone told me it looked like a spaceship!I said cool! Tired of the same old styles,i like it,kinda grows on you.Rides nice and quiet and has more than enough power for country and city driving.Toyota did a great job useing what interior space could be provided with its small size.Seems to have as much space or more than some bigger cars ive owned.Great view in the drivers seat! sits higher than most small cars.Dont be afriaid to try something different!! you may really like it,like i did.PS this is the first non american car i ever owned. Great Car.

  • Wonderful car to own!!!! - 2005 Toyota Echo
    By -

    I really love my Toyota Echo I purchased brand new April,2000. It's a beautiful red color that still loos brand new. I'm a travel Nurse and bought it in my home town in For Lauderdale, Fl. and had it trucked out to Thousand Oaks,Ca for an assignment. It ha saved me quite a bit of money when the gas prices soared over #2.50/gallon.! Very dependable.Never worried about being stranded especially in a City 3000 miles away from my family.

  • 2001 Echo - One of the Best Cars to Own - 2001 Toyota Echo
    By -

    Our 2001 Echo sedan has been one of the best cars we've ever owned. Remember, it's not a Cadillac! It's great on gas, fun, and easy to drive, and very reliable. Seats 4 very comfortably. Our 19 yr old daughter now has 108K miles on it. Typical maintenance is all we've seen (fluids, tires, brakes (just replaced at 70+K miles). Good quality overall, and reliable!

  • Couldn't Ask for a Better Car! - 2002 Toyota Echo
    By -

    I just can't say enough about this little gem. What I "sacrifice" in luxury and styling (and not a big sacrifice, it's a conveyance, not a living room!) I make up in performance and fuel economy. I have had this car for 4 years and have, admittedly, been pretty rough with it. I haven't yet had it in the shop except for yearly inspections. Recently, on a long, flat, straight trip, I traveled 500 miles on a tank of gas. I estimate the tank to be about 11 gallons so you do the math! 5 people can fit comfortably and the trunk space is phenomenal. It's easy to park and easy to drive. If you want a reliable car and feel responsible for environmental impact, this is the way to go

  • Toyota Echo - 2004 Toyota Echo
    By -

    I love my Toyota Echo. Its gets me wherever i want to go. It goes ok on the snow too. its a great car to cruise around town in.

  • echo - 2002 Toyota Echo
    By -

    We have used for trips and around town. Gets 43 MPG at 75 mph. Wish they still made them. (Stick shift)

  • Maintenance free - 2003 Toyota Echo
    By -

    I purchased the echo with deep concern at first. The reason for the purchase was to save money on the long drive from Los Angeles to Victorville, 200 miles round trip every day. Two years, with 45 thousand on the instrument cage the echo still running like a loyal dog. The only maintenance required is oil change and an alignment. This vehicle is recommended for single men and women. If you are looking for an economical vehicle, Echo is highly recommended.

Toyota Echo Reviews By Year:
Great Deals Near You
  • Loading cars...

Selected Edmunds.com visitor vehicle reviews

Edmunds.com Visitor Vehicle Ratings and Reviews are the property of Edmunds.com, and may not be reproduced or distributed without the consent of Edmunds.com. Edmunds© is a trademark of Edmunds.com, Inc. Edmunds.com, Inc. is not affiliated with this website or app.

Powered By Edmunds

× Estimated monthly payments based on 3.9% APR, 60 month financing, and 20% down payment. Tax, tags, title, administration fees, and license fees are not included in price or payment. Subject to approved buyer credit. Actual purchase terms may vary.

Payment calculations are sourced by EveryAuto.com and may not reflect actual dealer financing terms.

Send Us Feedback ×


Locating Vehicles In Your Area