1 Mar 2003
The only thing holding the Echo Hatch back in its early years was high pricing and low specification levels.
Toyota addressed both with the very slightly facelifted Series II (look for the teardrop headlight effect in the bumper, along with new colours and revised trim).
Air-con, a CD player and remote keyless entry were now included and the price dropped, but Toyota also quietly dropped the Safety Pack. When Australian NCAP crash testers got wind of this, it demoted the Echo to a two-star safety rating from three, so Toyota rectified this for the MY05 model year.
The Echo’s diminutiveness and age started to also work against it in the face of newer and larger rivals from Ford (Fiesta), Mazda (2) and especially the Honda Jazz – while even the Hyundai Getz gave it a run for the money, particularly on the sales charts.
Meanwhile the Echo Sedan’s styling makeover made it a more palatable proposition, but only just, while the five-door Echo Sportivo was dumped from the range.