Toyota Etios in India versus Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire in India


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Come to think of it, the year 2010 is about to end and its still raining cars and bikes on the Indian market scene. The world’s largest car manufacturer, Toyota have finally smelt the coffee and introduced the Toyota Etios in India. This is a made for India sedan. It was conceived way back in the year 2006 however due to some inadvertent problems was launched in 2010. Along with the backdating of the launch date, its role models also changed. Earlier on, it was a sqaure hit on the Maruti Esteem, one of the highest selling sedans from the Maruti stable, but then the Maruti Swift Dzire in India was launched as also the Mahindra Renault Logan. Priorities were shifted fast enough and this can be one of the possible reasons for the delay in its launch. Now, it has to square off against the best seller in its segment, the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire. The common thing between these two or rather two common things are that both are spawned from hatchback platforms and second, both command a waiting period. Now, thats what I call true competition. I have one of my colleagues Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire and so I wasn’t worried about borrowing it for the test however the Toyota was what worried me. I shouldn’t have worried much, a few phone calls later, there was the white Toyota Etios which was shown to the press and media people and was now in my hands. Lets get down to the chase. Lets compare Toyota Etios vs Swift Dzire.

Looks

Toyota Etios: Now, as we at indiandrives have always done, we have got the top end version of the Toyota Etios in India and that is the Toyota Etios VX . Look wise, from the front end, it is as inoffensive as any Toyota in the country. Toyota Kirloskar Motors have always subscribed to the parent company’s thoughts about making staid vehicles, ones which would age well. It has a slightly V shaped chrome grille and flanked by triangular head lamps. Between the grilles lies the Toyota badge. Infact, it looks like a mini Toyota Corolla. Its bumpers have got a small gap for the air dam and nestled close to them are the slots for the fog lamps. The windscreen gets a single wiper in interests of cost cutting. This however works well and I got a chance to examine it with Mumbai’s unpredictable rains. After some time, there were however swirl marks which took some time to be cleared. The 15 inch multi spoke alloy wheels look classy and fill the wheel arches well. The Toyota Etios VX version gets turn indicators embedded into the side mirrors. The rear shows up a typical Logan like boot with a chrome bar doing duties for the grab handle. The triangular tail lamps also look classy. The tail pipe is hidden from sight and displays its conservative nature.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire: I am actually bored with the Swift’s looks. There is a new ad campaign going on now for the Dzire and I see that most of the viewers are least interested in it. Its been over 5 years since the Suzuki Swift was launched. The Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire in India deviates less from the traditional Swift looks. It has that three vertical grilles coupled with quadrangular head lamps and the Suzuki logo sitting between those grilles. The bonnet is curved and the air dams are flanked by small fog lamps. The wheels are 15 inchers and they are alloys for the top end one. The side mirrors are chunky however don’t have the turn indicators on them. Somehow, I feel that the wheels don’t fill the wheel arches completely but then I haven’t heard many of the owners complaining as well. The rear looks like Suzuki borrowed Chris Bangle of BMWs design team to fix it. It has a bulbous rear and the tail pipe is the same thin unit from its hatchback partner.

Well……….. I would choose the fresher design of the lot and go for the Toyota Etios over the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire.

Interiors

Toyota Etios: This is one spacious car man. The doors open wide enough and welcome you. The interiors are really boring and the only things that seem to liven up the cabin is the use of red upholstery. The 4265 mm wheelbase also liberates enough space for all the occupants. The steering wheel is a straight lift from the Toyota Prius albeit with some minor modifications. It is a flat wheeled unit with steering mounted audio controls. To keep costs low, the instrument panel is located at the center of the dashboard. This also has another advantage in the fact that Toyota Kirloskar Motors can export this car to other markets without any major modifications. There is a multi information display below it and this projects the tell tale lights, fuel gauge and a digital tripmeter. Well, the plastic quality as I had iterated on some other part of this website is definitely hard and looks very cheap, especially so in the company of the Swift Dzire now. There are many convenience features like the chilled glove box, fully closable AC slits, many cubby holes and also the two cup holders. For the geeks, there is a 2DIN DVD MP3 AM/FM system albeit with AUX and USB ports missing. Sadly there is no climate control. Rear seat space is comparable with the Mahindra Logan. One of the best features and which demonstrates that Toyota Etios in India has been made keeping in mind the Indian public is the boot space which is a huge 595 liters.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire: Now, the first thing that I or rather anyone would notice is that the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire in India has doors which don’t open wide enough and hence one has to somehow manage to get in. It was frustrating to wrestle with the tilt adjustable steering column and those seats to fit in my 6 foot plus frame. The sense of quality is heightened after spending time with the Etios. Yes, you wouldn’t believe it that a Suzuki pips a Toyota for its interior quality. The steering wheel has audio controls but no Bluetooth function {even the Etios doesn’t have it}. The front seats just like those in the Swift are comfortable. The interiors however feel claustrophobic with the use of dark materials and the high waistline. There is climate control and a 2 DIN audio system with AUX input facilities. The rear bench is still not that comfortable however the slightly longer wheelbase ensures that it isn’t overtly uncomfortable like the hatchback variant. The boot space is however less than the Toyota Etios and stands at 430 liters.

This round also goes to the Toyota Etios in India for its sense of space and comfort.

Handling and ride quality

Toyota Etios: The steering wheel for the Toyota Etios in India has been designed to be a light unit keeping in mind that it would be used in the city most of the times. It has variable assist ratios however this hydraulically powered steering doesn’t provide accurate feedback. It is direct but not so much in the face of competition. Ride is quality is the trump card for this car and it is only bested by the Tata Indigo Manza in this aspect. It is even better than that of the Mahindra Logan. It absorbs all the bumps thrown in front of it.  Its only the smaller ones that somehow upset the composure of this car but not so overtly. Keeping in mind its 170 mm ground clearance, this is a good car for the potholed and weather ravaged streets of Mumbai. The handling as a bit is nervous and not that confidence inspiring. It does take corners easily due to its low weight however the chassis seems more tuned for ride quality than handling. As it is Toyota vehicles are known more for their ride than for handling prowess.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire: The Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire in India, based on the famous Swift platform has got a communicative steering wheel and an enthusiastic chassis. This translates to a dream handling, this side of a BMW. The steering is razor sharp and helps in placing the front wheels where they exactly should be. The grip from the 15 inch tyres is the only thing which spoils the party. They break traction easily and this is what limits the fun factor. During enthusiastic cornering, the tail of the car often slipped out. The ride quality as a result suffers and it is harsh in city speeds but then is comfortable when fully loaded and on the highway. This is one Suzuki vehicle which is desired more for its handling abilities.

The Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire wins this competition since it managed to induce a smile on my face while driving.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

Toyota Etios: The Toyota Etios in India is currently offered with a lone petrol motor. This is a 1.5 liter 2NR-FE, 4 Cylinder 16V unit producing 90PS of maximum power at 5,500 rpm and 132 Nm of torque at 3000 rpm. The VVT-I technology is omitted for cost cutting purposes and I really think that it should have been available at a cost. It would have done wonders to the car’s performance. It vrooms from 0-100 kmph in just 11.6 seconds and this thrust of speed with its top speed of 175 kmph. The Etios weighs just 930 kgs and the use of light weight materials has helped in ensuring good performance off the block for this car. The gear box is a 5 speed unit and it has a light clutch for company. Though the shifts are smooth, they have a long throw and miss some of the slickness found in its arch rival, the other one in this competition. The wind noise is nicely suppressed so is the engine noise. Its only when it is reaching its top speed that the engine becomes vocal. Due to cost cutting measures, there is less of sound deadening material used. Bringing a halt to the performance of this car are discs at front and drums at the rear. For the top version, Toyota Kirloskar Motors have offered ABS, EBD and also traction control. Safety is also impressive with 2 air bags, a collapsible steering column and also 3 point seat belts. Fuel efficiency is the trump card for this car with it returning an ARAI proven 13 kmpl for the city and on the highway, this figure rises to 18.2 kmpl.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire: The Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire in India is offered with two engine options, one is a diesel engine however I chose to omit it due to the reason that the Toyota doesn’t come with a diesel yet. The engine of choice here is the 1.2 liter K series engine which puts out 84 Bhp of peak power and 112.7 Nm of torque. This is one of the most advanced engine in its class. It is mated with a 5 speed transmission which is also the neatest shifting gear mechanisms found in this class. It somehow made me think of a knife slicing through hot butter. The kerb weight of this car is 1035 kgs however this doesn’t blunt performance with the car racing from 0-100 kmph in only about 11.9 seconds and reaching a top speed of 170 kmph. The engine is also very silent in its operation and it really impressed me with almost a very low level of NVH. The addition of a boot hasn’t blunted the performance of this car and it is almost Swift like to drive. Brake pedal modulation is also good and assisting the brakes are EBD and ABS. The ABS is one poorly calibrated unit and it cuts in too early. As regards safety, there are two air bags, a collapsible steering column and three point seat belts. Fuel efficiency as always is good with the car returning an ARAI certified 12 kmpl in the city and 17.4 kmpl on the highway.

Even though the Maruti Dzire was an eager beaver, the Toyota Etios didn’t lagger behind. It has got a bigger engine and oodles of torque. My inclination has shifted to the Toyota now. So, it’s the Etios which wins this round.

Verdict

The Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire in India is the benchmark that others look forward to emulate and it seems that Toyota Kirloskar Motors have done their homework well. The Toyota Etios in India is a well rounded off package. It has inoffensive looks, good ride quality, interior space and most important of all, fuel efficiency. It has clearly got a bigger engine with no lacking in the power or torque department. It however gets interiors which aren’t befitting a Toyota. The engine is also a bit harsh in its operation and NVH is nowhere near to what we expect from a Toyota. The Maruti Dzire on the other hand is an Esteem replacement and is more of a boot job hastily stuck onto the Swift. It has debatable looks but then has the Maruti service promise, lots of interior features, small potent engine with good fuel efficiency. However it is outclassed by the Toyota Etios and I would anytime go with the Toyota badge and certainly at this price point. The Toyota Etios VX retails at Rs.7.13 lakhs whereas the Maruti Swift Dzire Zxi goes for Rs 7.05 lakhs. Both prices are ex-showroom, Mumbai. The winner of the mid segment crown is the new entrant, the Toyota Etios.

4 Replies to “Toyota Etios in India versus Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire in India”

  1. swift desire is a worst designed car in the design history of cars.you can give some other name for it other than car.even a garbage dumping bin design is better than this.

    1. Very much agree with you, this is not designed to be sedan, ultimately comes out with totally new shape which doesn’t have basic shape of car.

    2. Be aware that Etios is one of the failure model in the rest of the world. Why Toyota wants to re-introduce this model to India? Swift Dzire is a sturdy vehicle and reliable vehicle that’s really worth for money

  2. Etios has every ingredient in it to conquer the Indian roads. They have taken time to understand the Indian market demand and have come up with a product that offers a no-nonsense car with remarkable Toyota engineering plus a bit of cost saving to grab the market. Currently there is a waiting period of 6-8 months and if it is fine with you, go ahead for a test ride and take a call and chances are you might just like it.
    toyota place

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