– Excellent build quality
– Low running costs
– Tall interior
– Limited legroom
– Unstable in cross-winds
– Odd exterior styling
For a start, most of us tend to worry on how “it” looks; but that is human. But well not everyone applauds a certain thing to look magnificent and well it’s all a matter of personal choice and preference. The Toyota Echo is no stranger to the free will and choice of man, and on first look it can well be an absolute gem or an absolute torture for the eye! The vehicle’s intended target was the younger, energetic lot, but according to stats, its not hit! Not all hope was lost though, they hit a target alright, with mostly women and older folk rushing in to grab their very own Toyota Echo. Available only as a sedan here, this is a vehicle with a capacity to ensure utmost fulfillment to some, but also with a chance to leave a section in search of something else.
Well, from the outside there were signs of change for the 2004 model year, with a tall roof redesigned headlamps and tail lamps, a chrome grille and 175/65 tires on 14-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers. However, with this four-door sedan going at a very low base price, there is a fair deal of economic value and it does have the makings of a worthwhile investment. Your welcoming into the car is sure to be with ease and comfort and the space you find inside provides you with excellent adaptability, as well as giving you perfect spaces for a variety of objects, such as a large glove box , a small tray between the seats and two king-size bins on either side of the central instrument pod.
It has room for five, but the back seat design is seriously upright. The 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, adds to its storage and gives you ample space for all that you wish to carry with you on your journey. Apart from this you can expect to see the regular amenities and should you fancy a little groove or sound by music, you are sure to be fulfilled with a simple AM/FM/Cassette audio system.
The most distinctive interior feature of the Echo has to be its centrally-positioned instrument cluster, composed of speedometer, gas gauge, and grouped warning lights. Toyota claims this is not just for styling, but to also require less eye movement when scanning the clear, driver-oriented display when compared to a conventional behind-the-wheel location. Many buyers adjusted to this quite well, but more older buyers find it as more of a gimmick than anything else.
The 16-valve VVT-i engine, does impress with its efficient working and performance but when you add to that 1.3L, 92 horsepower 4-cylinder engine you really do not see a hurricane in the making. It’s totally up to your driving skills to make best use, of the car and though there isn’t much in terms of mind boggling, tongue twisting parts, with its fairly small size, the drive should be a pleasant one. However, Echo drivers have to watch out for passing trucks and cross-winds, both of which seem to unsettle this tall and light car.
Its also an efficient fuel saver and does leave you with that extra little money to spend. Sharp turns or other obstacles shouldn’t be much of a concern for most folks. In other countries, the Echo is offered with the 1.5L 108 hp engine from the Toyota xA, but Middle East models have to soldier on with the small 1.3L motor.
This is one of those cars where everything you don’t need is not there. Power windows, power mirrors and even power steering are all optional. A five-speed manual is good for unusually spritely acceleration, but a four-speed automatic is an extra-cost option.
Braking performance is fairly good from the tiny brakes, consisting of discs at the front and drums at the back. The pedal needs to be depressed quite far to get a reasonable response. Stopping distances are short thanks to the lightweight nature of the car, but it could have been shorter if the tyres were wider. In addition to improving cornering grip, wider tyres would have also brought the car to a quicker stop in hard braking. As it is, there is not even an ABS system offered in this car, so any advantage is appreciated during an emergency.
You are somewhat safe and secure though with a number of safety tools, to protect you in those unexpected moments, with a front and rear energy-absorbing crumple zones. Sadly, airbags and ABS brakes are not offered in the Middle East.
Well, ultimately the ball is in your court and it is your finance, which I am sure we all value. For this vehicle, can be everything for some and absolutely zilch for another. Asses your needs and requirements, contemplate over what is it that you need and if you feel the Echo is your piece, then you are sure to be making a reasonable decision.