Toyota Echo Research & Reviews

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

4.64/5 Average
431 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 431.00
  • 2002 Toyota Echo - 2002 Toyota Echo
    By -

    Dear Echo lovers, I bought mine in 2007. It had 50K miles on it. Now it has 226K miles and I spend less around $250 a year in maintenance (oil change and other basic stuff). I do not do my own maintenance but I love my Toyota dealership who take great care of my car. Have been doing so during the 16 years I've had the car. I love my car and won't sell it ever.

  • Want a car that goes 400k? - 2001 Toyota Echo
    By -

    It’s 2023, and I’m still driving my 2001 Echo. I’ve seen these go for 480,000 miles. If you don’t get 200,000+ then you are doing something wrong. So easy to resell, so reliable. Simple, does the job, easy to fix. If you stay on top of oil changes and inspections, you’ll never have a problem ever. Be good to your Echo, and it will be good to you. If you can’t find an Echo, the Yaris was what it evolved into —same deal.

  • Unbelievable - 2001 Toyota Echo
    By -

    I own a repair shop in martinez CA, I did basic oil changes, brakes,ect on my customers 01 echo for years, he called me one morning and said it won't start, the car had just went over 400,000 miles and he asked me if I wanted to buy it, I said ok just have it towed down, I bought it without checking it, a couple weeks later I diagnosed it, fuel pump failed, installed new pump and have been driving it the last 8 years, does not leak a drop of anything, drives like a sports car, well over 500,000 miles, I have beat this car for years and it just runs and runs,,unbelievable???

  • 2005 Echo Hatchback - 2005 Toyota Echo
    By -

    Bought this car in 2015 with 170,000 KMS , have owned this Gem for 6 years going on 7, I have 275,000 KMs on it and all I have done is Oil , Filter , Brake Pads and Air Cleaner and Serpentine Belt and Tires, We live in Vancouver Canada and have driven 3 times to California in it and had no issues, the car with its front wheel drive has no issues in the snow, the 5 speed manual makes it fun to drive, and parking in small spots is no issue, we have the 2 DR hatch so smaller wheel base, the car as many say here get super gas mileage, There are fewer and fewer for sale, the clutch in this car has never been replaced, its a warrior

  • Brake/accelerator warning - 2001 Toyota Echo
    By -

    A friend gave me this Echo and it's an impressive little car. However, it took some close calls for me to realize it's possible to brake and accelerate simultaneously. The pedals are too close together and my feet aren't so big that this should be a problem! Can't believe I'm the only one that's had this experience......

  • loved my Echo - 2000 Toyota Echo
    By -

    Bought a 2 door new in 2000. I put 290,000 on it before In was hit head on. I got 43 mpg overall with the manual and could squeeze 53 out of it on the highway. Original clutch and axles. It took a full on muscle car to get by me, (import type muscle), and got 35 mpg at an average of 87 miles an hour on one trip. Im buying a used one, 2002, tomorrow that has 160,000 on it for $1,400.00 and feel like Im stealing it. Book is $2,750.00

  • Best Car Ever - 2000 Toyota Echo
    By -

    We bought our Echo brand-new in 2000 and still have it. In fact, even though it was hit recently and the damage was a total loss from the insurance companys point of view, were going to spend the money for the body work just so we can keep this baby for another 16 years. Like many others whove posted reviews here, I find the Echo super fun to drive (we have the stick shift), amazing on gas efficiency (41-43 mpg highway 36 stop and start around town), and love the interior design with the elevated seating. We have 96,500 on the engine and so far no repairs have been necessary just maintenance. Best car ever.

  • 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 Ive 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 wouldnt 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 Ive ever driven. Its 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.

Toyota Echo Reviews By Year:
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