Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Toyota Echo Ownership Experience: True Cost to Own a Toyota Echo

The Toyota Echo is ridiculously cheap to own. I’ve had my 2000 Toyota Echo sedan for more than two years without a single incident of anything going wrong. Check out a few online forums on the topic – the Echo is built like a tank where it counts, under the hood. There are numerous online examples of Echos going over 200,000 miles, and the Toyota Echo was one of Consumer Reports’ most reliable used cars back in the years following its appearance on the market.

Regular maintenance costs for the Echo are impressively low. Because the 1.5L engine is so small, it requires less coolant and motor oil than other vehicles. While an SUV or truck might require 6 quarts of oil, for example, the Echo requires just 3.9 quarts (when the filter is changed.) Of course, you’ll need to do your own maintenance to see these savings, otherwise your mechanic will charge you the “big car” price. Other elements are similarly downsized and less expensive. I recently purchased new Michelin Defender tires for it, and they were something like $114.00 a piece, totaling 460 bucks. A friend’s Buick Rendezvous required a larger tire that cost significantly more.

Also, since my Echo has so few options and components (no power locks or power windows, no cruise control, no automatic headlights or keyless entry, no sunroof, no turbocharger, etc) I think there are simply fewer things that can go wrong. So far reliability has been outstanding, although I understand there are a few known issues with the Mass Airflow Sensor (located above the engine air cleaner box) malfunctioning.

To put the icing on the cake, getting car insurance for a Toyota Echo is cheap, cheap, cheap! I recently chose to drop comprehensive and collision coverage on it, since it is an older car that doesn’t have much cash value, but to give you some idea, a 500 deductible for comprehensive & collision insurance cost about $12.00 per month, and liability insurance was about $20.00 per month. That’s peanuts compared to most, but keep in mind I’m in the upper Midwest, one of the cheapest places in the US to get auto insurance. If only my state gave a registration discount for efficient cars!

So as you can see I don’t have a lot of numbers to throw around regarding the true cost to own a Toyota Echo, but I can confidently say that it is less expensive than your average car. Top-notch reliability, low routine maintenance costs, inexpensive to insure, and excellent fuel economy to boot… it all adds up to a pretty nice package with relatively few drawbacks.

More In The Toyota Echo Ownership Series:
Toyota Echo Ownership Experience: Notes for Tall Drivers (or Why I Chose the Echo)
Toyota Echo Ownership Experience: Notes on MPG
Toyota Echo Ownership Experience: Highway Cruising & Cabin Comfort: Not Bad, Not A Lexus
Toyota Echo Ownership Experience: What is it like driving an Echo in the snow?

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