Indian petrol pumps may soon stop selling petrol fuel and instead, concentrate on the merits of diesel. The pricing issues between crude and diesel have come to such an extent that we even heard that a few bike manufacturers are thinking of switching over to the sticky fuel. Needless to say, car manufacturers are coming out with only diesel models in their arsenal. Few like Nissan are an exception with their recent launch of the Sunny petrol. One of the world’s largest car manufacturers, Toyota Motors, were supposed to bring in the diesel version of the Etios towards the early part of 2012. The spurts in the prices of petrol fuel have ensured that this deadline was met quite early and here we have both the newly launched Etios diesel and Liva diesel. We have a test drive report of the Toyota Etios diesel in India.
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Design wise, the Etios design has grown in to its buyers and also the general public. Infact, viewed from a distance, there are chances of confusing the Etios with its bigger cousin the Altis. The sculpted bonnet and the boomerang grille are the trademark for any Toyota vehicle in India. Only towards the rear, the D badges states that this is a diesel. Keen eyed ones would also notice that the intercooler is now more prominent in its approach here.
Interiors of this car are no different from the its petrol model, however, in a bid to price the Etios diesel competitively, the base diesel variant loses out on the fog lamps, audio system as also the tachometer. The second in line variant gains these features and gains the safety features – airbags and ABS. The top of the line variant, the VX-D gets a music system which is compatible with DVDs and audio controls on its flat bottomed steering wheels. Additionally the presence of red inserts makes this cabin seem a bit livelier. Externally the top end variant gets the side skirts as well. The seating arrangement and stuff also remain the same with the Etios boasting of one of the best cabin spaces in its segment. The boot space is the biggest in its class standing at nearly 600 liters. The plastics still aren’t upto Toyota’s lofty standards while the air conditioner controls wouldn’t look out of place in a Alto.
There have been liberal coatings of underbody coating applied to the diesel variant. Noticeably so, the petrol variant didn’t have this when it was launched. Due to the flak that it received for the high NVH in the petrol variant, foreseeing the added NVH of the diesel engine, Toyota have put in loads of thick cushioning and fatter carpets. The steering wheel does seem to have more life in this diesel variant than the petrol one. The added benefit of the diesel engine up ahead means that the Toyota Etios diesel in India has a more planted ride quality. Sudden braking attempts in gravel don’t result in a skittish behavior, like the way the petrol one behaves. The turning circle is pretty much tight and more in the ball park of its competition, the Dzire. Beyond a certain rpm (3000), the engine becomes boomy and too much of noise permeates inside the cabin. Tyre noise is also present in this car and it can become irritating for some. The ground clearance of 170 mm is just about acceptable for the Indian road conditions and while we didn’t scrape on any speed breakers, its advisable to check for the side skirts on the top end model as this are prone to scraping somewhat on the speed breakers.
The Toyota Etios diesel uses the fixed geometry turbo version of the 1.4 liter engine found in the bigger Altis. This 1.4 liter engine which goes by the code name of 1ND-TV generates 67 Bhp of power and 170 Nm of torque. The engine has been tuned more for driveability rather than outright performance. The 5 speed gearbox in the Etios diesel is also similar to that of the Altis minus one ratio. On the move, the Etios diesel feel sprightly. Even with a fixed geometry turbocharger, the turbo lag is minimal and this would appeal to many buyers. The gearshift is a notch better than the one in the petrol engined Etios. Even the clutch is on the lighter side and this comes as a surprise for a diesel car. Out on the highways, the performance can be found a bit lacking. Estimates say that this car can hit the ton in just about 16 seconds. The top speed may be a shade less than 160 kmph. Hitting more than a ton means that this car simply starts to groan and also too much of noise comes inside the cabin.
The kerb weight of the Etios diesel is just 1005 kgs. This is 75 kgs more than that of the petrol engined Etios. The ARAI certified mileage is 23.59 kmpl and this can be termed as one of the best in its class barring the one that Tata claims with its Indigo CS and eV2 – 25 kmpl.
Toyota have ensured that they have taken safety seriously in this car. With many manufacturers adopting the air bag less thing in their cars, Toyota have ensured that they have an optional safety pack on their diesel engined Etios variants. Just like the other Toyotas, this may not be an involving one to drive; however, it is an excellent point A to point B machine and a fuel efficient one at that. The Toyota Etios diesel price in India starts from Rs 6.44 lakhs while the top end model goes for Rs 7.87 lakhs. All these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai. The warranty period still remains 1 lakh kms or 3 years whichever is earlier. As of now, Toyota doesn’t offer the option of extended warranty package on this car.