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-   -   New winter beater: base 2004 Toyota Echo vs. base 1998 Pontiac Firefly (Geo Metro) (

MetroMPG 04-25-2016 02:42 PM

New winter beater: base 2004 Toyota Echo vs. base 1998 Pontiac Firefly (Geo Metro)
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So if you follow the Efficient, cheap beaters! Used car ads thread, you know I just picked up this cheap 2004 Toyota Echo. It's going to be next winter's beater car.

And it's the base model. Base, base, BASE!

How base? When I showed it to my dad he chuckled and said, "that's pretty... fundamental." Fundamental as in: no options. No A/C or power steering. It's pretty close to 1998 Firefly base.

It immediately reminded me of the Firefly for its lack of amenities. And then it made me chuckle when I started noting the differences between them.

Things neither car has:

(Things that I bet most car shoppers today would not be OK without...)
  • power steering (this surprised me in the Echo... in 2004??)
  • air conditioning
  • cruise control
  • tachometer
  • remote hatch release
Things the Echo has that the Firefly doesn't:
  • ABS!
  • tilt steering!
  • dual (A & B) resettable trip odometers (Firefly: none)
  • split/folding rear seat (Firefly: folds, but full width)
  • cargo cover
  • interior-adjustable (manual) side mirrors (Firefly: roll down the window to adjust)
  • map lights!
  • rear cargo light!
  • switches on BOTH doors to turn on the dome light! (Firefly: only on driver's door)
  • stowage cubbies galore!
  • exterior/lockable hatchback "latch/button"! (Firefly: hatch access requires the key)
  • audio (Firefly: came with nothing)
  • power! (Over twice the Firefly's HP)

Things the Firefly has that the Echo doesn't
  • temperature gauge
  • top of class fuel economy (at the time)

Key specs:
  • Engine: Echo: 1.5L, DOHC 16v, variable valve timing, 108 hp / 105 ft-lbs
  • Firefly: 1.0L, SOHC, 6v, ~50 hp (XFi cam) / 58 ft-lbs
  • Curb weight: Echo: 928 kg / 2046 lbs
  • Firefly: 813 kg / 1792 lbs
EPA ratings:
  • Echo: 30/38/33 (for the sedan 5-speed)
  • Firefly: 36/44/40

Driving the Echo reminds me a lot of the base "$9998" 2015 Nissan Micra I got to test drive last year. Similar bare bones mission and power to weight ratio. (Although the 2004 Echo stickered at $14k twelve years ago.)

From: Review notes: 2015 Micra S 5-speed extended test-drive - Darin's thoughts -

MetroMPG 04-25-2016 02:44 PM

observed fuel economy
I have stats for both cars on the same 1-way route at the same cruising speed.

~100 km (~60 mi.), 80 km/h (50 mph) cruising speed (some DWL on hills if no following traffic, no more than +/-10 km/h), mild & dry conditions, negligible wind.

It's a scenic country route that includes several stops, passes through 3 towns/hamlets, with easy (EOC-friendly) sub/urban driving at the beginning & end.

Echo: 55 mpg US (not calibrated), bone stock (other than ~50 PSI)

73 mpg US, ecomodded

Frank Lee 04-25-2016 05:49 PM

You're not going to bathe it in SALT?!?

MetroMPG 04-25-2016 07:43 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I hear salt baths are soothing.

Based on these rocker panels, this car must feel VERY relaxed.

UPDATE: rust repairs under way...

me and my metro 04-25-2016 09:31 PM

Let the modifications begin. Looks like fun, the days of the Metros are fading fast. I ran them for 8 years, there is only one left in my family now.

MobilOne 04-26-2016 03:41 AM

That Echo should get better and better mileage as the body parts vaporize or fall off.

Xist 04-26-2016 08:51 AM

I was not able to keep up very well while at annual training. Did you sell the Civic?

MetroMPG 04-26-2016 08:59 AM

I sold the Civic! Don't worry, you're only 2 cars behind. :)

Latest beaters:

- 2007 Civic (winter 2014/15)
- 2004 Prius (winter 2015/16)
- 2004 Echo (winter 2016/17)

jcp123 04-26-2016 10:27 AM

The Echo is a fine little car. The low-hanging fruit is easy in this car but I believe it ultimately hits a wall going into 60+ territory. The really high numbers just won't be there.

MetroMPG 04-26-2016 10:41 AM

In what type of driving?

It does have more than enough power for such a light "economy" car. That's going to hold things back for sure.

This one will get my usual suite of ecomods. I'll start a dedicated modding thread for it sometime.

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