Toyota Etios Review


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India’s most respected and the world’s largest car manufacturer, Toyota Kirloskar Motors have finally rolled out their bread and butter {that is until the Toyota Liva comes in} model namely the Toyota Etios. Bread and butter because it is the smallest Toyota in the country from the Toyota Kirloskar Motors alliance. This was the first small saloon that Toyota built for the developing markets and hats off to them for first launching it in India. The hatchback version of the Toyota Etios would follow later on. Not many know that Toyota Etios was one such car which was conceived for the Indian market after extensive feedback sessions with prospective customers. In short, it is a car designed to keep every one happy but in the process, excite only a selected few. Even in its conceptual stages, the car was designed and packaged keeping in mind the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire. Well, time to lay my hands on one of the most awaited sedans in recent times. Yes, Toyota Kirloskar Motors did give me one of the cars for a test drive and here is my recount of what went into it.

Toyota Etios Looks

Toyota Kirloskar Motors have always designed inoffensive looking cars for the Indian market. This means unexciting designs coupled with tonnes of conservative approach. The Toyota Etios mirrors this thought. It looks like a scaled down Toyota Corolla. The front grille is reminiscent of the Toyota family grille which is shared by the recently launched Toyota Prius and the more up market Camry. There is a chrome strip on the top and therein nestles the Toyota badge. The head lamps look quite tame in their appearance and they are of the wraparound types. Two, not so prominent creases arise on the bonnet. The air dam is a slightly bigger affair than the grille and has an integrated bumper to it. This bumper houses the fog lamps. Surprising is the fact that there is a single wiper doing work, however it seems to do its duties efficiently, so far.

The side profile shows 15 inch wheels with 12 spoke alloys however those are only for the top end Toyota Etios V as well as the VX versions and the lesser trims get 14 inch steel wheels. The wing mirrors are also in body color as well as the door handles. There is a single chrome strip running across from wheel to wheel. It also displays the 170 mm ground clearance which is quite right for Indian road conditions.

The rear profile is quite bland as compared to the rest of the package. It looks more like the boxy Mahindra Logan and I am sure that many would confuse both if the badge was removed and, the car viewed from a distance. The tail lamp cluster is triangularly stacked and it houses the turn indicators, reverse lights and the brake lights. A single chrome strip runs across the top of the boot lid with the Toyota badge nestled below it. A single protrusion at the lower bumper gives it a sporty look. Lest, I forget, there is one at the front as well. The reed like thin tail pipe is also quite conservative.

Overall, as expected, an inoffensive design from Toyota Kirloskar Motors and nothing ground breaking.

Toyota Etios Interiors

Well, red upholstery! Yew, it doesn’t look good but thankfully it is only in the top end version, much like the coral dashboard from the Ford Figo Titanium version. The front seats look quite comfy and they really are. The good thing is that they can hold my 6ft, 4 inch frame quite well and sinking into the driver’s seat wasn’t a problem after all. The head rests are fixed types. Now, that Fiat Linea and Toyota Prius inspired steering wheel didn’t catch my fancy but I loved the feel of it. Oh, and it is leather wrapped as well. It has the steering mounted audio controls on it but sadly no Bluetooth function. Like the Indica Vista and the Chevy Spark, the Toyota Etios has a central mounted instrument panel. This is done so that the car can be marketed both in left hand as well as right hand drive markets easily. There is a digital tripmeter, fuel gauge and the usual tell tale lights. The Toyota Etios in India is a built to budget car and this shows with some of the hard quality plastics in the cabin.

There is a 13 liters glove box which is air cooled since one of the AC vents can be directed totally inside it. This is a thoughtful feature for a built to price car. Many other storage spaces like the deep door map pockets, two cup holders and other cubby holes for knick knacks make it a practical cabin to live with. Oh! the talking point is the seven 1 liter bottles that the Toyota Etios can hold. The top end variant also gets 2DIN DVD MP3 AM/FM system with USB and AUX input provided. The AC system is a basic one with twisting type controls. It however is very effective. The gear shifter knob is also in red color. One of the best feature is the rear seat space. It is probably the best one this side of Honda City. It is quite comfy and adding to the ambience is the big windows and flat floor. The boot is also big and by big, I mean its bigger than even the Toyota Corolla’s. It stands at 595 liters. Astonishing. However the suspension intrudes heavily and somehow limits the usability factor.

Toyota Etios Handling and ride quality

The Toyota Etios’s steering wheel is quite light and this makes for easy work in city traffic. Infact its turning circle of 4.9 meters ensures that it has the most maneuverability of all the mid size sedans. This same steering wheel however is a bane on the highways since it tends to be over light and doesn’t give sufficient feedback. First, the ride quality is excellent and almost like bigger and far more expensive brother, the Toyota Corolla. It features independent suspension at the front and non-independent ones at the rear. It is quite pliant as we have come to expect from all the Toyotas in India. The handling is a bit of a let down for enthusiastic motoring however it is quite good if you just want a commute and not a sports car for everyday use. The car understeers gently while at the helm. It is not to eager to dive in to corners at high speeds however nudge it gently and it would do your bidding. Here also, going by the customer feedbacks, Toyota Kirloskar Motors have actually tuned the car more for ride because they feel that not many care for the way a car handles. That is as long as it isn’t scary and the ones driving it aren’t silly enough to try any antics. The Toyota Etios can also seat 5 in good comfort, just like the Mahindra Logan and Tata Indigo Manza. Its square rival, the Maruti Swift Dzire however has major issues with its seating and is quite cramped out of all the mid size sedans in the Indian market.

Toyota Etios Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

As of now, there is only one engine option in the Toyota Etios and it is the 2NR-FE, 4 Cylinder 16V, 1.5 liter DOHC petrol engine. This engine makes 90PS of maximum power at 5500 rpm and a good enough 132 Nm of peak torque at 3100 rpm. Electronic Fuel Injection system combined with use of low weight materials in the engine bay keep the weight at check. There is also molybdenum coating for the pistons. To cut costs, VVT-I technology hasn’t been used. Speaking of weight, the Toyota Etios only weighs in at 930 kgs. If the power figures don’t speak much, then the weight or the lack of it will definitely do.

The car races from 0-100 kmph in a scant 11.8 seconds. This makes it one of the fastest of the block. This is due to the short gearing and the light kerb weight. The clutch action is light and the gear shifts are smooth as well. However they aren’t as smooth as the one in arch rival, Maruti Swift Dzire’s. It is at par with the Mahindra Logan, Tata Indigo Manza and somewhat like the Ford Fiesta{it is second only to the Maruti unit}. The car feels lively to drive and would prove to be a tough competition for the Suzuki unit. The car hits a top speed of 176 kmph however while doing this, the engine feels quite strained and audible. That said, at sane speeds, the cabin is quite silent expect for some wind noise percolating in. Tractability is another aspect of this motor and the car can do 30 kmph all day in 3rd gear and sometimes in 4 th gear without stalling. Out on the highway, with the short gearing, overtaking is to be carefully planned or drop gears and the car moves forward with some sense of urgency.

Braking is handled by discs at the front and drums at the rear. This do quite well to retard the car within sane distances. Aiding the braking duties are ABS, traction control and even EBD. Safety has been also taken care of by the addition of impact absorbing body structure, collapsible steering column, 2 air bags and 3 point seat belts for all the passengers.

Whatever value a car may give or even convenience, the ultimate question in an Indian mind is “average kya hain?”. Well, the newest Toyota on the block doesn’t disappoint on this count as well. It gave an ARAI certified 13 kmpl in the city and 18.2 kmpl on the highway. This is best in its segment and would only be bested by some small hatches. I am sure that many would be waiting for the 1.4 liter diesel from the Toyota Corolla to step in however Toyota Kirloskar Motors says that the diesel would make its way under the hood only around the same time next year. It would make less power than what it offers in the Toyota Corolla.

Verdict

The Toyota Etios in India is one of the lowest priced offering from Toyota Kirloskar Motors. It is solidly built, has the Toyota reliability factor, spacious and fuel efficient. The things going against it are the somewhat cheap looking plastics in the cabin and the bland looks. But, I personally feel that the Toyota badge amongst all commands a premium and is more respected than even the Maruti or Tata one in this segment. The Maruti Swift Dzire seems not so well built than the Toyota Etios. Toyota Kirloskar Motors have already kept the Maruti Swift Dzire in mind while designing the Etios. The Toyota Etios is offered in 5 variants. Those are the Toyota Etios J, Toyota Etios G, Toyota Etios G safety, Toyota Etios V and Toyota Etios VX. The base price for the car starts at Rs.4.96 lakhs {ex-showroom, Delhi} whereas the top end version is available for Rs. 6.86 lakhs { ex-showroom, Delhi}.

Toyota Etios Technical Specifications

Engine details: 2NR-FE  1496 cc 4 cylinder Petrol Engine
Maximum Power: 90PS @ 5500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 132 Nm  @ 3100 rpm
Valve Configuration: DOHC
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Fuel Supply System: Electronic Fuel Injection
Transmission Type: 5 Speed Manual
Front Suspension: MacPherson Strut Suspension
Rear Suspension: Torsion Beam Suspension
Steering Type: Electric Power with variable assist
Turning Radius (wheel base): 4.9 m
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Disc
Rear Brake Type: Drum
Mileage-City (kmpl): 13.00
Mileage-Highway (kmpl): 18.2
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 45
Emission Norm Compliance: BS IV
Tyre Size: 185 / 60 R15 only for the V and VX version. Rest all get 185 / 60 R14 tyre configuration
Seating Capacity: 5
No of Doors: 4

One Reply to “Toyota Etios Review”

  1. Save your money, just don’t but this tin can masquerading as a car.

    I was able to bend the metal on the inner support frame of the boot and bonnet with 2 fingers. The inner door handles, when pulled to close or open the door, make the entire inner door panel move considerably. (just like the cardboard panel of the Premier Padmini … shudder).

    The body metal is thin as hell. For the price one would expect something better than tin foil (relatively speaking).

    The wheel arches have no cover. Everything is going to be coated to death in the monsoons. Where the wheel arch meets the rear door, there is a huge pocket that will accumulate a large quantity of mud and junk that will be difficult to clean, probably leading to deterioration of paint in that area and finally corrosion. This could hold approximately 2 glasses of water in that cavity.

    Lousy seats, poor fabric, cheap plastics, low seat depth, single wiper (COME ON!!!!), and ASTRONOMICAL PRICE for a tin can just because its a Toyota??? Add to that the 4 month wait and all we can say is THANKS … BUT NO THANKS.

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