I'm having a hard time reconciling my eagerness to test drive the new Toyota Yaris with my bitterness that the Echo was discontinued. While very different in terms of styling and modernity, the Yaris and the Echo fill the exact same slot in Toyota's lineup. So what was so wrong with the Echo?
Well, it was born under a bad sign, frankly. Travel back in your mind to the year 2000...economy flush with cash, gas at less than $1.75, SUVs and trucks topping the auto sales charts...good times. Good times. Unless you were Toyota, trying to launch a strange-looking little sedan whose main selling point was that it was cheap (if they all had gold spokes like over there, maybe we wouldn't be having this conversation). Well, duh.
I guess I should be surprised that the Echo lasted through 2005. But really, shouldn't it have done better and better as gas prices continued to skyrocket? I mean, 40MPG is 40MPG, no matter how odd the car looks, right?
The answer is, of course, YES, you DOOFUS! Of COURSE it should have done better. But it was doomed to live its life as a weird little Toyota. Even decent sales and a modern ad campaign at the start didn't defuse the criticism that it was a flop from the start.
Now comes the Yaris, and I like it. In fact, I like it more than the Echo (in terms of aesthetic value, anyway). In a year or so, I might look to pick one up. But I'll be damned if I ever concede that my Echo was a failure. Ain't nothin' ever failed on that little guy.