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2001 Toyota Echo Sedan

4dr Sdn Manual (Natl)

Starting at | Starting at 34 MPG City - 41 MPG Highway

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  • $10,525 original MSRP
Printable Version

2001 Toyota Echo Sedan

Printable Version

2001 Toyota Echo Sedan


2001 Toyota Echo

Source: New Car Test Drive

A big ride in a funky-looking small car.

by Sam Moses

Base Price (MSRP) $9,995
As Tested (MSRP) $13,530

This is the least expensive way to drive a new Toyota. With an entry-level price of under $10,000, the Echo provides front-wheel drive traction, a spunky four-cylinder engine that also gives you over 30 mpg around town, and lots of Toyota quality. You'll also get a suspension system that helps produce the ride of a much larger vehicle, and anti-vibration tricks in the chassis make the car amazingly smooth at highway speeds.

What you won't get are a lot of extras. Features that are standard on many cars are all extra-cost for the Echo. Air conditioning, power windows, door locks and mirrors, antilock brakes and a CD player all require a bump up in your monthly payment book.

Model Lineup

The Echo is available in two body styles: the 2-door ($9,995) and the 4-door ($10,525). A five-speed manual transmission is standard; a four-speed automatic is an $800 option.


Not only is the Echo not frilly, some will say it looks funky. Not boldly funny-looking like the New Beetle, but just odd. It wasn't designed for looks. It was designed for comfort, convenience, safety and affordability.

So it's tall. Way tall. Unheard-of tall for a subcompact. Like, taller than a Cadillac. With one swift, upward stroke, Toyota designers have erased the biggest factor against owning a small car: that feeling, when you look up at the vehicles around you on the highway, that they could squash you like a bug. With Echo, no longer is everyone bigger and faster than you. Now you look down at Cadillacs, as you get nearly 40 mpg on the highway.

You might also be passing them, propelled by your smooth, energetic, high-tech, 108-horsepower, politically correct LEV (Low-Emissions Vehicle) engine.

While the roof is tall at 59.1 inches, the windshield takes a long time to reach the summit, making it expansive as well as rakish. There's a cool little radio antenna at the upper left corner, reclining as if blown by speed. The high rear deck allows for a relatively huge trunk with 13.6 cubic feet for cargo.

The optional sports body kit includes fender flares and rocker panels of truly funky flat gray plastic. We wonder if their absence might improve the aesthetics, but we'll probably never know because the kit is part of an option package that includes things most buyers will really want: power steering and a 60-40 split folding rear seat.

The hood slams shut with a very solid sound, as do the doors and trunk. Even though this is the least expensive Toyota, it doesn't feel cheap.

Big slanted-eye headlights and a short hood comprise the Echo's cab-forward design. The narrow black grille connecting the lights doesn't compliment them the way it might. Most of the opening for air to the engine is under the molded bumper. The 14-inch steel wheels with six wide spokes might also be snazzier.

Interior Features

If others think your Echo is funny looking, you may think it's retro cool when you look over your shoulder to back up. From the inside, the curve of the C panel, especially with the unbroken window line of the two-door, is reminiscent of a Hudson Hornet.

You might also congratulate yourself on your own minimalist efficiency each time you climb inside, which, with Echo's low floor and high roof, is easy. There's not one gauge or button or knob or display more or less than is needed. The instrument binnacle is strikingly clean and simple, with a speedometer having handsome black-on-white lettering reminiscent of a Lexus, glowing bluish at night. Seven little round black dots, warning lights, are bunched so they look sort of like a domino on the dash. The digital clock is easy to read. There's no tachometer (that's a frill) but there is a rev limiter (which is not).

The binnacle is recessed into the deep dash, and uniquely positioned in its center, canted toward the driver. Glancing right to check speed soon becomes as natural as glancing downward. Why this design? Most likely, Toyota wanted to reduce the cost of building right-hand-steering cars, as the location would be unchanged.

Visibility is excellent through ample glass. The wipers that come with optional Upgrade Package #1 ($1020) have long, broad strokes, and the washer fluid squirts from six holes. The rear window is not spacious like the front windshield, but fills the rearview mirror; there are no blind sports when you're backing up.

The simple vinyl steering wheel has the correct diameter and thickness. It tilts, but only from low to about medium-low. There's still ample knee room, and space between the door and the steering wheel allows the driver to place his/her left foot flat on the floor when it's not stretched to the dead pedal, during open freeway driving.

The four-way adjustable front seats are fairly comfortable, despite having a round shape that seems to be an interior theme. Integrated headrests are designed to reduce whiplash. The fabric covering has almost no pleating. Toyota points out that the high roof allows for more upright seating, which might have had something to do with why we couldn't get the seatback to feel quite right, as if the shoulders and lumbar were unmatchable. Both front seats recline, and there's enough rear legroom that the rear passengers' knees aren't squished.

The interior may be spartan but it's hugely versatile, including tremendous storage spaces. There are deep vertical pockets, one on each side of the climate control/sound system, useful for tapes and CDs. There are smaller pockets on each front door, and big bins on both sides under the dash. Cupholders lie forward and on each side of the shift lever. Big holes, unmovable, unbreakable. Big cupholders in the rear, too.

There's a grab handle over the passenger-side window. Power door locks are part of option group #2 ($1420, including air conditioner and 6-speaker CD), but there's no remote control. Surprisingly, cruise control is not even an option.

Driving Impressions

The Echo comes with a wonderfully zippy motor and a tight five-speed gearbox; it almost feels like a four-seat Miata might.

Toyota claims only that the acceleration is "on par" with cars like the Dodge Neon, Honda Civic and Ford Focus, but the 108-hp engine feels remarkably free and nimble when paired with the five-speed manual gearbox.

Echo's power comes from a double overhead-cam, 16-valve, 1.5-liter, low-emission, high-mileage engine with variable valve timing and electronic fuel injection.

On the highway, a steady 70 mph in fifth gear is smooth, silent and relaxed. The engine doesn't generate a lot of torque -- what small four-cylinder does? -- so if you're just cruising and want a burst of speed, a downshift is needed. The shifter throw is quick, precise and smooth.

The engine buzz is minimal, and cruising at highways speeds is not a painfully loud experience.

Possibly the most astonishing characteristic of the Echo is that you might find yourself going way fast without knowing it. On a curvy two-lane stretch where we carefully respect the law by driving no faster than 60 even in the straight sections, we glanced over (not down) at the speedometer and were startled to see 72 mph. Not once, but twice.

Another outstanding feature that contributes to this subcompact phenomenon is the super ride quality. MacPherson struts and coil springs in front, with torsion beams in back, allows the 2020-pound Echo to glide over bumps. Against a pothole your teeth can get rattled as in almost any other car, but the Echo feels tough, and takes the hit like a bantamweight boxer standing up to a jab.

A minimal ground clearance of 5.5 inches compensates for the height to keep the center of gravity relatively low, so it doesn't feel tippy in the twisty curves. The optional power steering has such good feel that it's difficult to imagine its not being worth the money ($270).

On the freeway, the Echo wants to move around a bit, but not seriously. In 40-mph gusts it found curves that weren't there. But it probably would have taken 12-inch-wide tires to prevent that, given the height and light weight. Speaking of tires, the P175/65 R14 Bridgestone Potenzas handled high-speed puddle jumping with only the slightest of hydroplaning.

There is good, solid, smooth resistance to the brake pedal, which triggers the front ventilated discs and rear drums. It doesn't take much to slow such a light car down. Our test model had anti-lock brakes, a $590 option with daytime running lights.

Also in the safety arena, there are a number of structural elements, including side-door impact beams and other beams framing the dash area with a trapezoid. Toyota says crash test results for the Echo are as good as for its 3200-pound Camry. Front passenger side-impact air bags are a new option for 2001.

Final Word

Even with all its highway strengths, it's hard to imagine a better city car than the Echo, whether New York, Sao Paulo or Tokyo. Because the competition is solid, Toyota might not have fired a shot that echoes 'round the world, but it's a great little blast.

Toyota might not sell tons of these small one-ton cars in the U.S., land of milk and honey and big honkin' SUVs, but the company knows the world is bigger than the U.S.

© New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2001 Toyota Echo Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade

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Passenger Crash Grade

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Rollover Resistance

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Side Impact Crash Test - Front

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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear

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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Opt
Child Safety Locks Std


Alarm Opt
Printable Version

2001 Toyota Echo Sedan

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles

Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Warranty*

7-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty**

1-year of Roadside Assistance***

160-Point Quality Assurance Inspection

CARFAX® Vehicle History ReportTM****

Certified customers are eligible for standard new car financing rates*****

*Whichever comes first from date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. The Comprehensive Warranty covers any repair or replacement of components which fail under normal use due to defect in materials or workmanship. (Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.)

**Whichever comes first from original date of first use when sold as new. See your Toyota Certified Used Vehicles dealer for warranty details. Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. For AL, FL, GA, NC & SC, warranty coverage differs in the following ways: 7-year or 100,000-mile Toyota Certified Limited Powertrain Warranty coverage begins on January 1st of the vehicle's model year and zero (0) odometer miles and expires at the earlier of seven years or 100,000 odometer miles.

***From date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. Covers most services, including flat tires, lockout service, jump starts, fuel delivery up to 3 gallons and towing for mechanical breakdown or collision recovery to the nearest Toyota dealership. Services provided exclude any parts required. Coverage not available in Mexico. See Certified Warranty Supplement for warranty details.

****Beginning December 1, 2005 CARFAX® Vehicle History ReportsTM are a required part of every Toyota Certified Used Vehicle. See your local dealer for details.

*****Rates mentioned are for standard new car rates, and do not include new car specials or subvented rates. Not all buyers will qualify. Financing available through Toyota Financial Services for qualified buyers only.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 7 years / 85,000
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection All TCUV vehicles must pass a comprehensive checklist that includes a 160-point inspection. This way you can rest assured that your pre-owned Toyota is in perfect condition. To see full inspection list visit http://www.toyotacertified.com/inspection.html
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 1-year of Roadside Assistance from date of TCUV purchase.
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $50

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2001 Toyota Echo Sedan

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