We bought our 2001 Echo new in Feb 2001 (4-dr, auto trans and AC but otherwise no frills -- manual everything). As of June 2010, we have 97K miles on it and have never had it in the shop except for a ...
We bought our 2001 Echo new in Feb 2001 (4-dr, auto trans and AC but otherwise no frills -- manual everything). As of June 2010, we have 97K miles on it and have never had it in the shop except for a change of the front brake pads. Other than that, routine maintenance, fluid changes, new tires, etc. are all that's been done. It still runs great; we use it almost daily. I wish they still made this car. Because of its reliability and MPG, it's one of the lowest cost vehicles a person can own. We intend to drive it until it dies.
One of the reasons for the reliability is that Toytota has been making 1.5 litre engines for a long time and they do it very well. And the 2001 model has a timing chain, so no changing a belt every 60K miles.
The trunk is huge for a car of this size, and the car seats four adults comfortably. My son is 6 foot 2 now and can still drive it comfortably. A sports car it's not, but it does everything we have needed and then some. And after almost 10 years of hard use, including kids who are now teenagers, the upholstery, interior and paint is still in good shape.
I still get 30 MPG or more around town and about 38-42 on the highway. The car is tall for a small car, and a little light, so high winds buffet it a bit, but it holds the road and I've never felt unstable or unsafe in it. It can turn and park in small spaces and is very easy to drive. The center guage cluster is easy to get used to and I like that it leaves more windshield to see through ahead of me when I'm driving.
The professional auto press generally panned this car as dumpy looking and tinny, but those of us who have actually bought and driven one almost universally love and praise it. Trust the latter. This is a car you can buy with your eyes closed.