Toyota's New-Concept 'Echo' Designed for Youth Appeal
16 December 1998Toyota's New-Concept 'Echo' Designed for Youth Appeal From the Inside, Out
TORRANCE, Calif., Dec. 15 -- Its name is "ECHO," and it will take a road less traveled to appeal to the unique demands of young new-car buyers when it arrives in Toyota dealerships next fall. "ECHO was designed to be simple, functional and affordable, while delivering a level of comfort and driveability that is one-class-up from what consumers expect from an entry-level sedan," said Jim Press, Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations, who will unveil the new car at a world premiere press conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on, January 4. "ECHO will be offered in both two- and four-door models. It will be price-positioned substantially below the Toyota Corolla, yet it will offer approximately the same amount of passenger volume." ECHO was designed for strong youth appeal from the inside, out, with interior styling and roominess that clearly departs from convention. Most noticeable is its unique instrument cluster, which is center-mounted, high on the dash, rather than directly in front of the driver. Because of the greater distance from the driver's eyes to the instruments, refocusing between the road and the display takes less time. The driver can retrieve information quicker, and there is less eye stress and strain. ECHO will offer compact roominess in a subcompact package. Its high roof provides exceptional headroom and allows for a more upright seating position, resulting in reduced driver fatigue and better visibility. The interior combines the low floor height of a sedan with the high seating position of an SUV or minivan, which greatly enhances ingress/egress. ECHO will be powered by an all-new engine featuring variable-valve timing (VVT-I) cylinder head technology. Similar in design to the VVT-I systems available on Lexus products, the 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine will deliver an exceptional blend of power and fuel economy and will be EPA-certified as a low-emission vehicle (LEV).