the car enthusiast Advertise in this space - click for more information searchnavigation
latest news archives motorsport database features

Story by Toyota: 7th January 2000

All-New Toyota Echo Sedan Brings Roominess, Performance and Youth Appeal To The Entry-Level Segment

The all-new 2000 Toyota ECHO was designed for strong youth appeal, from the inside out, with interior roominess, styling and packaging that clearly departs from convention. It was designed to be simple, functional and affordable, while delivering a level of comfort and driveability that is one class up from what consumers expect from an entry-level sedan.

Toyota Echo. Photograph by Wieck.

"Toyota's future success lies in its appeal to young buyers looking for something new, different and affordable", said Don Esmond, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager. "ECHO is the first in a line of new vehicles being developed by Toyota to appeal to the specific, unique demands of young, new-car buyers."

The new ECHO is available in both two- and four-door models. It is price positioned substantially below the Toyota Corolla, yet it offers nearly identical passenger volume.

ECHO offers the interior roominess of a compact sedan within the exterior dimensions of a subcompact. This is achieved by combining a tall profile and a cab-forward silhouette. The high roof provides exceptional headroom and allows for more upright seating. The result is reduced driver fatigue and better visibility. This layout also combines the low floor height of a sedan with a high seating position, similar to that of an SUV or minivan, which greatly enhances ingress/egress.

Toyota Echo. Photograph by Wieck.

ECHO features a unique instrument cluster that is center-mounted, high on the dash. Because of the greater distance from the driver's eyes to the instruments, the driver can retrieve information quicker with less eye stress and strain.

Power is supplied by an all-new 1.5-liter twin-cam four-cylinder engine featuring Toyota's VVT-i, variable-valve timing technology, that delivers an exceptional blend of power and fuel economy and is EPA-certified as a low- emission vehicle (LEV).

The engine features an alloy block and head and new plastic composite intake manifold, further contributing to the vehicle's low curb weight of 2,020 pounds. With engine output registering 108 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 105 lbs./ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm, ECHO's favorable power-to-weight ratio contributes to zero-to-60 acceleration performance on par with key competitors such as Honda Civic, Dodge Neon and Ford Escort.

ECHO is one of the highest-mileage vehicles ever offered by Toyota in America, and it delivers the highest-mileage of any vehicle powered by a 1.5-liter engine. Preliminary tests have resulted in EPA city/highway mileage estimates of 34/41 mpg with a manual transmission. The engine is linked to a compact and lightweight five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic.

The ECHO chassis is equipped with MacPherson struts with coil springs in the front, and torsion beams in the rear. The steering rack is mounted to a subframe for additional noise and vibration control. To enhance handling characteristics, the rear suspension features toe-correcting geometry. Steering is rack-and-pinion, and brakes are front ventilated discs with rear drums.

The three-box ECHO body structure was developed to help provide exceptional occupant safety. The front side member, dash cross member, instrument panel support bar and pillar brace form a trapezoidal structure that helps absorbs impact energy from a front-end collision. Standard safety equipment on the ECHO includes dual SRS air bags, a head impact protection structure and seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters. ABS and daytime running lights are optional. Additional safety features include all-new whiplash injury lessening (WIL) front seat frames with fully integrated headrests.

Clearly styled and appointed to appeal to young buyers, ECHO offers audio system choices of exceptionally high quality for this segment. In addition to a standard AM/FM stereo, a deluxe AM/FM receiver with cassette and six speakers is offered. A 3-in-1 audio system that includes an AM/FM receiver, cassette and CD with six speakers also is available.

ECHO also features a rare abundance of storage space that includes large door pockets, seatback pockets and convenient storage compartments surrounding the audio system, ideal for storage of cassette tapes and compact discs. Additional standard features include tilt steering, color-keyed bumpers and door handles, fabric seats and 14-inch wheels and wheel covers. ECHO will also offer an array of optional equipment including air conditioning, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, four-speed automatic transmission, power steering, power door locks, rear lip spoiler, digital clock, Anti-Lock Brakes and a sports body-kit.

ECHO is offered in seven exterior colors including Super White, Alpine Silver Metallic, Black Sand Pearl, Absolutely Red, Satin Gold Metallic, Seafoam Blue Metallic and Electric Green Mica. Exterior colors are complemented by Gray and Amethyst interiors.