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Toyota Echo Off-Road

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Published on Dec 15, 2011

At first I made this video as a joke for my friends who like to make fun of my cars (many of them also like to waste money on gas guzzling monstrosities). Anyway, then I got to thinking, there are probably a lot of people out there that don't realize what a small economy car can do... so I put this video up on the internet to show people that you don't need an overpriced gas guzzling SUV or truck to get some work done, on or off road. In this video I take a Toyota Echo into the woods to pickup a half cord of firewood. The first time I did this it was surprisingly exhilarating/amusing, mostly because there is a steep hill which doesn't come out great in the video, and you have to turn pretty sharply right at the top of the hill while maintaining momentum, not to mention dodging trees the whole time.

Some people will assume if you do this kind of stuff you will kill your transmission prematurely. I wish there was more info out there about transmission life, but it seems like a major source of misconceptions to me. I know people with big trucks that don't even pull anything very often and the transmission has needed service after just 50k miles (some trucks need transmission work every 80,000 miles).

Small cars are often rated for 1500-2000 lbs towing capacity (like the Toyota Echo for example) - so my 1000-1500lb loads of firewood shouldn't strain it much. These cars also come from the factory with pre-drilled mounts for adding a hitch. I've been hauling firewood for 5 years with the car in the video, it has 200,000 miles on it, and so far no problems whatsoever. If the transmission goes out next week, I still wouldn't know if it was because of anything I've done, because I've had cars with fewer miles on them than this Toyota who's transmissions have died despite the fact that I never took it off road or even had a hitch to haul anything with it.

When I haul stuff I just go slow and keep overdrive off. When it's in the woods, I keep it in 1st gear (L) the whole time... I'd love to have a nice quad for the woods, but heck a used Toyota could be had for cheaper than a decent new quad and you can do a lot more with the Toyota.

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