The Echo gets driven a lot. It’s actually my go-to car for most errands that require me to go into the city or anywhere that’s congested. But nowadays that’s just about everywhere.
When I first bought it, it was intended as a spare car. But I realized that it is just so easy to drive, and so much fun. It’s like driving a golf cart. You sit on a chair that's high, almost like an SUV but without carrying the weight of an SUV.
As it’s so light and you can see out of it all around very easily, parking and maneuvering in tight areas is a breeze. As such, parking is hardly ever a problem. You can always find a parking space for it because it’s so small. And even if the space is tight, you don’t really mind because you don’t really care if it gets door dings from other cars.
The stock suspension is quite decent, too—for the street I mean. Not too stiff, not too soft. Just enough for spirited driving on twisty roads.
'Nobody notices a beater car. And even if it did get scratched or dented, you don’t really care.'
But it’s by no means perfect. I did take it to a racetrack once, and it was horrible. The front tires pushed and understeered like a pig. But that’s okay, because this really isn’t the car to take to the racetrack. There are other rides more suited for those activities. This is strictly a point-A-to-point-B car, and that it does very well.
I can’t say those things about other vehicles that are deemed to be 'special.' Whether your 'special' ride is a sports car, a luxury automobile or an SUV, that particular car will probably give you headache when you use it around town. Not because there’s something wrong with it, but because of the environment. The environment is that of a congested modern metropolis that requires something that can take a abuse because of the other careless drivers around you and the rough potholed roads.
I once took my nice, shiny sports car to the mall. I parked in an area where there were hardly any other vehicles, so it would be safe from door dings. When I got back, somebody had deeply scratched the hood. It was very upsetting. I had to go to a paint shop to have it fixed. Then there’s the issue of getting the right shade. That’s just part of the trouble with nice cars—it attracts attention.
Meanwhile, nobody notices a beater car. And even if it did get scratched or dented, you don’t really care. A motorcycle ran into my Echo once, and a fender got bent. I was able to get a fender from a surplus store—in the same color! We took off the bent fender, put in the used one, and off I went. Easy.