No more clowning around
By John DiPietro Email
Date posted: 12-15-2005
We'll be blunt; we haven't given much love to the Toyota Echo, a car that was non-affectionately dubbed "The Clown Car" by this writer. Its tall roof and pudgy body made us think a dozen goofballs with frizzy orange hair and jumbo shoes would spill out when the doors opened. Mediocre cabin trim and shaky handling didn't help either.
Now comes the Echo's overdue replacement, the 2007 Toyota Yaris. With the new Yaris (yes, the name Echo is gone), Toyota steps things up in every way. Rather than having the two-door liftback and four-door essentially differing only in body style, two separate teams developed each version of the Yaris, giving them different personalities.
Aww, isn't it cute?
Look at the Liftback and you can't help but smile at its cuteness. It reminded us a little of the Yaris' cousin, the Scion xA, a car that one editor referred to as looking like "a big-headed toddler." Look at those big eyes and that happy face. Although shorter than the outgoing Echo coupe, the Yaris Liftback has a wheelbase over 3 inches longer (96.9 inches vs. 93.3 inches).
The four-door aims for a mini sport sedan look and is now longer (169.3 inches vs. 164.6 inches), lower (56.7 inches vs. 59.1 inches) and wider (66.5 inches vs. 65.4 inches), which relieves it of the comic proportions of the Echo sedan. As with the Liftback, the sedan's wheelbase was also stretched (100.4 inches vs. 93.3 inches). The net result is a handsome little sedan that doesn't scream "entry-level" like the Echo.
With a coefficient of drag of just 0.29, both the sedan and Liftback slip through the air with ease, promising a quieter ride and greater fuel economy at freeway speeds.
Continued at Edmunds