Car reviews - Toyota - Yaris - hatch range
Toyota's new Yaris is bigger, quicker, safer and more frugal than its Echo forebear
28 Oct 2005
TOYOTA wants to rule the automotive cosmos and will stop at nothing to achieve this goal. In Australia’s light-car segment it is already king even with the most senior car on offer, the six-year old Echo. So imagine how the competition must feel now that the next-generation model is here, promising every-which-way improvements in a newer and more stylish package? Now known as the Yaris, it is already off to a great start simply because of its parentage. But this littlest of Toyotas has some class giants to contend with.
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Toyota EchoReleased: October 1999
Ended: October 2005
Family Tree: Yaris
ARGUABLY the most radical mass-market Toyota passenger car ever, the Echo’s transformation from wallflower Starlet vies with Olivia Newton John’s Sandy in Grease. Futuristic styling inside and out clothed a cleverly designed and packaged hatchback that succeeded against the best its European rivals had to offer. In fact so good was the Echo that it took another Japanese carmaker – Honda – to better it with the similarly themed Jazz. A fast, efficient and unburstable 63kW 1.3-litre twin-cam 16-valve four-cylinder engine powered both three and five-door models, while the Japanese designed Echo sedan – surely the antithesis of what made the Echo funky – featured an 80kW 1.5-litre version. Sales were initially slow until Toyota dropped the prices, added essentials like power steering, air-con and keyless entry, and cranked up its all-conquering marketing machine.
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