Toyota Corolla Altis in India Review

')">The world’s largest selling car which has crossed more than 37 million units worldwide has been in India since 2002. It has gone through three generations of changes and now the newest form is the Toyota Corolla Altis in India. Interestingly, the Altis moniker was used in Middle East and some other places far before it was even thought of in India. I have always been a fan of the Toyota Corolla for its solid interiors and reliability quotient. But then the new Altis especially with the diesel variant has been doing the rounds lately. It is estimated that this same engine would be under the hood of the Toyota Etios sedan later on this year. So, I did the same thing which I did 5 years back and that is call up Millenium Toyota and fix and appointment with them for a test drive. Back then, I was a gawky teenager who could barely hold the steering wheel properly but then it was project work that I was doing for Maruti. Now, when I reached the showroom, I told them the purpose of the visit. The best part is that they allowed us that car for a review and not for a test drive. Good people at Toyota, just like the car. Check on Road Price

Looks

The Toyota Corolla Altis in India is just an evolution of the previous car and not a revolution. Both the petrol and the diesel variants look different from each other and that, actually is a good move by Toyota Kirloskar Motors. This would help distinguish the car from the other cars which have the same look for their petrol as well as diesel variants except for the diesel badging at the rear. The diesel variant which we have on block here gets a honeycomb grille with the tear shaped head lamps flanking them. The air dam is subtly small but then it is a clear cut design. This design formula can also be seen in the Camry and also the new Etios sedan. By the way, the head lights are one of the best in the business. They are HID kits and something which we all fancy, white light. The fog lamps in contrast are small units like a rupee coin. The shut lines however seemed a bit irregular compared to the petrol variant.

The 195/65 R15 are common to both the diesel as well as petrol variants. This means that this car has a planted stance. They perfectly fill the wheel arches well. There is a single quarter glass treatment at the rear window. The door handles are also chrome laced ones. The rear profile shows up the split tail lamps, which have a similar shape like the front ones. The rear hatch handle is also chrome. Integrated into the bumpers are two round reflectors. The inverted tail pipe is a common thing for both the petrol and diesel variants.

Interiors

The interiors haven’t changed much or rather they haven’t changed at all from the petrol variant. The optitron meters still held on to my attention. The half wood, half leather steering wheel feels good to hold but I know that from previous experience that I wouldn’t be saying the same thing about its application. It however boasts of audio controls as well as cruise controls. The two tone dash along with wood inserts have a feel good factor attached to them. Infact, I loved those beige seats in the Toyota Corolla Altis in India that I feel that they are way too superior to the ones found in the competition namely the Chevrolet Optra that I drove recently. The very fact that it is 8 way adjustable adds to the feel good factor. Those rectangular AC vents also do a good job of directing air flow in the right direction.

The glove box is also huge and it is a two stage one. The in dash 6 CD changer system along with USB and AUX input makes it one for the geeks. The audio output from the 6 speakers also is satisfying if not exceeding expectations. The auto climate control also does a good job of cooling the cabin within no time. The rear seats are also comfortable since most of the times, this car would be chauffer driven and Toyota Kirloskar Motors have paid special attention to this aspect. The rear passengers are treated to a flat floor and their own aircon controls. One of the features which not many premium segment cars offer is a rear blind for the rear passengers. However the Toyota Corolla Altis does boast of this feature. The boot space is also good at 475 liter and this coupled with the 60:40 split seats allow carrying lots of luggage with ease. The boot is also lit by a single bulb thus making loading chores easy.

Handling and ride quality

Well, the new Toyota Corolla Altis in India in its diesel avatar gets a new electronic power steering. The specialty of this power steering is that it comes into action or rather uses power only when steering force is required. It is said to be environment friendly as well since it doesn’t have hydraulic fluid in it. Well, my initial skepticism about the steering was correct since it looks good and is chunky to hold but then lifeless in feel. So in feel, it hasn’t been changed much than its petrol sibling. It is light at parking speeds but then becomes lifeless once the speeds rise. But then having a heavy diesel motor on the front wheels to steer does make a difference. Since this car is been billed as a chauffer driven one, ride quality is something which the engineers at Toyota Kirloskar Motors have put in efforts at. L-arm MacPherson strut for the front suspension and new torsion beam at the rear does help in providing a pliant ride quality for most of the terrain. High speed stability however is a bit disconcerting though. The car has a bit of tendency to pitch and bob and sometimes gets affected by crosswinds as well.

Handling is strictly okay with the car displaying an aversion to turns at high speeds. It prefers to do its work at sedate speeds. It is easy to park as well with the reverse parking sensors assisting one visually and audibly as well. The road noise is something which the occupants are nicely cocooned from. However if you are shifting loyalties from a petrol engine to the diesel one, you would definitely notice the faint diesel clatter.

Engine, performance and fuel efficiency

The Toyota Corolla Altis in India is offered with two engines. The one in question which I had for the review was the diesel one. It is a 1.4 liter unit which is a common rail unit(don’t know of anyone who doesn’t make one nowadays) pumping out 88 Bhp @ 3800 rpm whereas the torque spread is 205 Nm @ 1800 rpm. Disappointing as you may point out for such a heavy sedan. But then what matters more is the torque spread which is available from as low as 1800 rpm. This is mated with a 6 speed manual transmission which has been exclusively made for the the diesel power plant. It does the 0-100 kmph run in only 14.7 seconds and crosses the 158 kmph top speed easily. The petrol on the other hand is a familiar unit which has been doing duties since 2002 in India. It is the 1794cc , 16 Valve, 4 cylinder, VVT-i  DOHC unit which pumps out 132 Ps of peak power at 6000 rpm whereas the peak torque generated is 170 Nm @ 4200 rpm. This engine is combined with a 4 speed manual or 4 speed auto transmission. The 0-100 kmph mark is achieved only in 11.4 seconds by the manual transmission whereas the auto one does it in 12.5 seconds. The top speed for both however is 177 kmph.

Brakes are front ventilated discs and rear solid discs. Toyota Kirloskar Motors have kitted the diesel variant well with ABS, EBD and also Brake Assist. These features retard the motion of the car well within safety limits. Safety is tended by the GOA body, multiple air bags and seat belts with pretensioners.

Fuel efficiency is the best part of the Toyota Corolla Altis diesel. It did manage to give a realistic 16.1 kmpl in the city whereas the highway figure was 21.3 kmpl. This has got to be the most fuel efficient diesel sedan in its category and one below. The petrol on the other hand gives a fuel efficiency of 11.3 kmpl in city and 15.1 kmpl on the highway. Toyota have also launched a CNG version so expect it to better the petrol’s mileage by 30%.

Verdict

Toyota Kirloskar Motors have been always late in introducing their quality products into the Indian market but as and when they are launched, the models are an instant hit. Classic example can be taken of the Toyota Fortuner in India. With the Toyota Corolla Altis in India in its diesel avatar, the company have released a cat amongst the so-called pigeons. It has got good looks on its side, ample interior space, is feature rich and best of all very fuel efficient. On top of it, it has got that Toyota badge and reliability. Its power output may not seem that good on paper but on the road, it is a real performer. The Toyota Corolla Altis price in India starts from Rs 12,02,300 for the base petrol and goes all the way to Rs 14,38,900 for the top of the line petrol with CNG option. All these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai.

Specification Of Toyota Corolla Altis Diesel D4DGL

Engine details: 1364cc, D-4D engine
Maximum Power: 88 Bhp at 3800rpm
Maximum Torque: 205Nm @ 1800 rpm
No. of Cylinders: 4
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Turbo Charger: Yes
Transmission details: Six Speed Manual
Front Suspension: MacPherson strut
Rear Suspension: Torsion Beam
Steering details: Electronic Power assisted with Tilt & Telescopic functions
Turning Radius: 5.3 Meters
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Discs
Rear Brake Type: Solid Discs
Mileage-City (kmpl): 16.1
Mileage-Highway (kmpl): 21.3
Fuel Type: Diesel
Emission Norm Compliance: Bharat Stage IV
Tyre Size: 195/65 R15
Tyre Type: Tubeless Radials

Toyota Fortuner in India, the beast


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Toyota Kirloskar Motors are known in India for their docile approach for their launches in India. This was very evident by the launch of the recent Toyota Fortuner. A vehicle which was coming for long onto the Indian soil however could only make it here on 24 August 2010. Now, even the Toyota Prius took a long time to come and was recently launched in 2010. There are many other best sellers for Toyota in their international line up however they are still wary about bringing in all this to India. Wonder what is stopping them? This answers can only be given by the Toyota top management. Well, I am not here to lambast the Toyota management however would like to concentrate more on the company’s achievement. Even though it is a dated vehicle, the very fact that it sells well over a 1000 units per month is testimony of its personality. Now, it may be too late for a test drive of this brutal beast but then as is our motto, we always give you a review of everything that is thrown our way. So, finally, I get a call from the Toyota regional office in Thane and they have agreed to our request for a test drive of the Toyota Fortuner. I have driven the Toyota Fortuner in Singapore before however driving the Toyota Fortuner in India made me realize the difference. Well, here comes the full story.

Toyota Fortuner Looks

Now, if there was anything upwards of the Mahindra Scorpio which could scare the day lights of any other fellow road user, it was the Ford Endeavor. Not any more, all those corporate honchos and politicians nowadays have the Toyota Fortuner as their choice of wheels. It is however those flared wheel arches combined with a raised demeanor that helps in this dominating looks. The typical honeycomb grille with the Toyota logo on top and a chrome strip on top of the bonnet flanked by the buzzy head lamps give it a distinct character. The air dam is partly covered by a black skid plate. The fog lamps are placed just below the head lamps. That bonnet scoop on top looks awesome and adds some detail to the SUV’s typical lines.

The side profile shows 17” sporty alloy wheels with sporty roof rails and also black sporty side steps. The wheel arches and the combination of the wheels don’t go together since it looks undertyred. However any bigger profile tyres would somehow ruin the party, this is what I felt. I have actually never seen any Toyota Fortuner SUV with anything other than those stock tyres so it seems that they work fine. The door handles are chrome layered.

The rear end looks compact with a small windscreen and a single wiper to clean it. It has an upwards type opening tailgate with the stop lamp been mounted atop the roof. The tail lamps are of the clear lens variety and they also feature the turn indicators in them. There is also a small spoiler which adds to the huge feeling quotient. The spare tyre is located under the rear bumper. There is a single tail pipe and it’s disappointing to say the least. Toyota Kirloskar Motors could have very well done to give it a big silencer unit or even a twin unit.

Toyota Fortuner Interiors

Well, even I had to climb inside this car. Coming from a 6ft plus guy, you can expect that from me. Hmmm. Something looks familiar here. What is it? Ah! The interiors are way too similar to something which I have been in earlier, the Toyota MUV, the Toyota Innova. Now, I amn’t sure if this means that the Toyota Innova borrowed the interiors from the Toyota Fortuner or vice-versa. Anyways, familiarity breeds contempt and I think that I have this feeling of contempt from the SUV’s interiors. The dual tone dashboard with its grey and biege alongwith some wooden inserts feels solid built. There is a tilt adjustable steering wheel with audio mounted controls, climate control for all the occupants, optitron meter dials for a more clear and precise way of transmitting information, front as well as rear armrest and a new audio unit with call as well Bluetooth functions.

There is a single MP3 player which has 6 speaker outlets. I found the quality to be strictly okay. As it is, Toyota isn’t a specialist in the audio systems and the Toyota Fortuner in India is no different. There is also a multi information display which gives variety of information like the outside temperature, average fuel efficiency, tyre pressure monitor and also other information. The seats are sort of comfortable with the front ones been adjustable for height and lumbar. Unfortunately they lack in thigh support and after a long time, you eventually feel that you are getting tired. The rear seat customers get their own aircon controls. The rear bench has a bit more of underthigh support which helps in sorting out the mile munching capabilities of this SUV. The rearmost seats are fit only for children and this shows with its lack of leg room and head room. The cargo space with the 3rd row of seats in place is 345 liters whereas with the third row down, it goes upto 678 liters and with the second row also down, it increases to 1243 liters.

Toyota Fortuner Handling and ride quality

The Toyota Fortuner in India has been built with a body on ladder frame and is a true blue SUV much like its siblings in the form of the Toyota Landcruiser, Prado and many others. It has a high ground clearance of 221 mm aided by the use of 265/65-R17 tyres. This gives it a go anywhere ability. This however produces body roll and makes the SUV top heavy. Considering that in mind, it still goes around bends without a winch and changing direction is easy. The steering wheel is a bit heavy and takes some time getting used to. It is however not as direct as one would expect but still did my bidding well. Parking would be a major chore in the city with its gigantic proportions however thank god that Toyota Kirloskar Motors have given parking sensors in this vehicle.

I found the ride to be a bit on the firmer side due to the stiffly sprung suspension. It isn’t bad in the city speeds however seems a bit obtrusive on the highways. It is a little spine juddering and after sometime, I thought of going easy on the car. With a full complement of passengers, the ride quality does improve slightly. For the off-roading junkies, there is ultra low mode and high mode as well. This coupled with the 4 wheel drive ensures that you aren’t stuck in a muddy situation. I got to test its abilities a bit because of the rough road I had to encounter during the test drive. Never once did the vehicle let me down.

Toyota Fortuner Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

The Toyota Fortuner in India comes with only a diesel engine. It is a 2982cc CRDI engine equipped with a variable geometry turbocharger and makes 163 Bhp of peak power and about 343 Nm of torque. It is mated with a 5 speed manual transmission. The gearbox is slightly vague with long throws. There is no dearth of power anywhere in the rev range but still the engine is a bit lazy and it was a hard task spooling it up for the fear of stalling the engine. But it had enough grunt to go around town slotted in 3rd or sometimes even 4th gear at speeds of only 30 kmph.

The car races from 0-100 kmph in 11.4 seconds whereas the top speed I attained was 173 kmph. The engine is very refined at low speeds whereas it is only near its top end, that it feels a bit strained. US Toyota vehicles faced a problem of recall due to sudden acceleration however nothing of that sort for the Indian Toyota vehicles. The specimen I got was a 30,000 kms old one however the motor still felt as fresh as new.

The braking for this heavy vehicle is tended by big ventilated disc brakes at the front and solid discs at the rear. It gets ABS for assistance and also EBD. The brake feel is a little out of place and could do with more feedback. Nevertheless it brings the vehicle to a halt without any drama or fuss. Safety is handled by twin air bags for front passengers, side intrusion beams with the GOA body and also seat belts for all the passengers.

Fuel efficiency is a bit of a dampener for a diesel vehicle. The Toyota Fortuner in India returns 8.3 kmpl in the city whereas on the highway, the figure goes upto 12.6 kmpl. With a fuel tank capacity of 70 liters, this translates to about 660 kms before needing a refuel.

Verdict

The Toyota Fortuner in India may have been launched late however it has already whipped up a storm. Toyota Kirloskar Motors had to stop the bookings for quite some time because they couldn’t cope up with the supply/demand policy. Actually every second SUV now that I see on the roads is a Toyota Fortuner with a fancy number plate and dark glass. This makes me wonder how much wealth the Indian public has got. By the way, for a vehicle like the Toyota Fortuner, I am sure, people would be bringing out their life savings for buying it. That said, it has its inherent flaws as well. It isn’t small by any standards. It has got a parking problem, less of comfort in the interiors, similar interiors to the Toyota Innova and a less efficient diesel engine. It has its own strengths as well and the biggest of them is the road presence that it commands plus its looks, Toyota badge, go anywhere ability and the desirability factor. It commands a starting price of Rs 19,64,320 going upto Rs.23,45,170 for the top variant {ex-show room, Mumbai}. This price is due to it been a CBU and it is rumored that Toyota Kirloskar Motors would be building this vehicle in India soon and the prices may reduce. There would be an automatic option offered later on depending on public demand.

Technical Specifications Of Toyota Fortuner in India

Engine Type: D-4D Diesel, 4 Cylinders In-line with variable geometry Intercooler Turbocharger
Engine Displacement(cc): 2982
Maximum Power: 163 Bhp @ 3600 rpm
Maximum Torque: 343 Nm @ 1400-3400 rpm
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Valve Configuration: DOHC
Fuel Supply System: Common-Rail type
Transmission Type: 5 Speed Manual
Drive Type: 4WD
Front Suspension: Link with Lateral Rod
Rear Suspension: Double Wishbone4
Steering details: Tilt Steering Column with Hydraulic Power assist
Turning Radius: 5.9 meters
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Disc
Rear Brake Type: Solid disc
Top Speed: 176 Kmph
Acceleration (0-100 kmph): 11.4 Seconds
Mileage-City (kmpl): 8.3
Mileage-Highway (kmpl): 12.6
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 80
Tyre Size: 265/65 R17
Tyre Type: Tubeless Radial Tyre
Seating Capacity: 7
No of Doors: 5

2012 Toyota Innova – Toyota’s future plans for India

')">Launching their made for India product, the Toyota Etios wasn’t a small task for Toyota Kirloskar Motors that they are planning on revamping the entire look of their favorite people mover, the Toyota Innova. Well, this change would only be in effect in 2012. Unfortunately the car would still be built on the same IMV platform on which the earlier Toyota Innova was based on. Toyota Kirloskar Motors is one company which regularly conducts customer workshops and clinics to ask them about their thoughts on the company’s new designs. For the Toyota Innova, almost all of the customers reported that they were very happy with the performance and looks of the car. So it is now decided by the company that they wouldn’t alter with the looks of the car majorly and anyways it is a major challenge to improve upon an already successful product.

It is rumored that the next generation Toyota Innova would have certain body panels which would be re skinned and also major styling tweaks. In all probability it would sport an aggressive front end look. Also most of the customers said that the new car shouldn’t be elongated more since driving it in the city proves to be a chore. Toyota engineers are looking at ways to improve the third row seating space without increasing the length of the car. This new car would also sport a more powerful engine alongside an automatic option as well. Moreover, the company is also planning to make a 5 seater MPV based on the now famous Toyota Etios platform. This is to plug in the gap between the Etios Q sedan and the Toyota Corolla. India’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India Limited are also planning on a 5 seater luxury MPV which would be code named R3 and would be launched at around 2012. Future variants of the same platform would however depend on the success of the Toyota Etios Q and the Etios Liva. The 2012 Toyota Innova would also be highly re-engineered for it to have a more flexible seating arrangement and also to have different interiors than the more up market Toyota Fortuner suv.

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

2011 Toyota Avanza in India

Toyota Avanza Review

The world’s leading car manufacturer Toyota Motors is expected to launch its Multi-purpose vehicle the Toyota Avanza towards the end of this year. The Toyota Avanza will be positioned between the Toyota Innova and the Toyota Etios. The Toyota Avanza is being introduced by Toyota Kirloskar Motors Limited (TKML) the Indian arm of Toyota Motors, and is riding on the huge success enjoyed by the introduction of the Toyota Fortuner, Toyota Prius and the new Toyota Etios.

Toyota is planning on playing it safe in the Indian market and does not want to affect the sales of its best selling multi-utility vehicle the Innova and for this reason it is positioning the Avanza as a Multi-purpose vehicle rather than an SUV. The Avanza will generally be a smaller version of the Innova and will have a smaller engine capacity as well as carrying fewer passengers. The Toyota Avanza is expected to be priced around 7 lakhs and should prove be an interesting option to buyers interested in compact SUV’s at affordable prices.

The Toyota Avanza is likely to go up against the likes of the Mahindra Xylo, the Chevrolet Tavera and the newest offering from Nissan the NV200, which is also expected in India soon. The Toyota Avanza will offer better fuel efficiency albeit with lesser power than the first two rivals. The continuous expansion of Toyota models in the Indian market should continue unabated and the introduction of the Toyota Avanza might signal the decline of the Innova but may just be what Indian audiences are looking for.

Performance – Toyota Avanza in India

Toyota has globally launched its MUV as the Toyota Avensis Verso and has recently introduced the Avanza in Thailand. It is using the same strategy in India and the Avanza is built with construction techniques and body parts similar to that of the Innova.

The Toyota Avanza will be available initially with a petrol engine and presently there are no plans to introduce a diesel engine. The petrol engine is a 1.5 liter, 4 cylinder, 16 valve, double overhead cam-shaft, variable valve timing mill and is mated with a five-speed manual transmission. The Toyota Avanza delivers a maximum power of 109 horsepower and maximum torque of 141 Nm. It has a fuel tank capacity of 45 liters and a turning radius of 4.7 meters making it extremely agile in traffic.

The Toyota Avanza has a good torque range allowing it to generate quick acceleration while moving in slow traffic. The transmission is also smooth and enables quick gear changes making it comfortable for the driver. The Toyota Avanza also has a power steering which drivers will love as it makes the vehicle very agile and nimble in congested traffic which is the norm on Indian roads and will also provide a stress free drive on the highways.

Driving in the city is very comfortable as the Toyota Avanza is fitted with front MacPherson strut suspension and rear four-link coil springs which allows the vehicle to glide over rough road surfaces and potholes, while keeping passengers safe. The rear four-link suspension is used as it helps to cut down on interior noise by using rubber mounts on the rear suspension.

The Toyota Avanza is fitted with a sizeable tank which has a capacity of 45 liters and should deliver good mileage of 11.2 km/l in the city and 15.8 km/l on the highway. The Toyota Avanza has a length of 4120 mm, height of 1635 mm and width of 1695 mm which makes it quite a bit smaller than the Innova but still capable of seating 7 persons. There are unconfirmed reports that in order to position the Avanza differently to the Innova, Toyota is planning on reducing the seating capacity of the vehicle, but this idea seems quite foolish as Toyota will not make that one change to the models currently being sold internationally.

Styling

The Toyota Avanza has been around globally for a while now being introduced in 2003 and the new restyled version has been around since 2006. The new model Avanza features a new front grille, new interior, new bumpers and new headlights and taillights.

The Toyota Avanza has been designed keeping in mind its use as a MPV and combines functionality and styling really well. The introduction of premium vans like the Mercedes R-class has made it desirable if not necessary for MPV’s, MUV’s and IMV’s to contain an amount of trendy styling and design.

The front end of the Toyota Avanza has the typically shaped grille found in various dimensions on most of Toyota’s vehicles which also houses the famous Toyota logo. The short hood of the Avanza accentuates the front fascia and slopes smoothly towards the windshield and up onto the high roofline. The new front bumper incorporates the air intake, fog lights and number plate.

The back end of the Toyota Avanza is also designed very stylishly with a wide opening tailgate that enabled easy access and loading of materials. The height is also low enough to be able to lift heavier objects. The rear window is wide enough to allow the driver to see clearly objects behind the vehicle.

The interior of the Toyota Avanza is also designed with practicality and comfort in mind but also understanding that the vehicle can be used for a variety of purposes. The front cabin is very spacious and the seats are roomy enough for the front passengers. They also provide the required cushioning and support required for long drives and ensure that the driver is comfortable at all times. The dash houses the instrument panel, glove box, a/c vents, and music system which is a high-powered JVC unit. There is an additional storage space above the conventionally located glove box which gives extra storage space for essentials like mobile phone, wallet and other knick-knacks.

The tilt / telescopic steering wheel is four-spoke and has the audio controls embedded in it making it easy for the driver to make changes without taking his eyes off the road. The center console has an arm rest that incorporates a bottle / cup holder to ensure the driver is never far away from that required sip of necessary fluid. The rear view mirror is also electronically adjustable as is the driver’s seat.

The Toyota Avanza is smaller than the Innova but this does not mean that it is cramped by any means. The rear of the vehicle easily seats 7 passengers comfortable while providing them all the seat support, headroom and legroom they require. The rear seats are foldable with the second row being 50:50 foldable and the third row being 100:0 foldable, which affords a much larger space for storage.

The Toyota Avanza has the required safety features that will make all passengers feel very comfortable while traveling and includes warning lights on information meters for various safety and engine systems; Alarm system with engine immobilizer; auto door locks; cabin sensors and reverse sensors. It has dual airbags for the front passengers as well as anti-lock brake system and EBD. All rear passengers get individual seat belts to prevent them from moving around during the case of an accident.

Toyota Avanza price and Recommendations

The Toyota Avanza is expected to hit the Indian market by the end of the year and should be available for around 7 lakhs depending on trim levels and options. The Toyota Avanza should be an ideal vehicle for those large families that find the Innova a bit too big to drive everyday on Indian roads. The fact that the Avanza is smaller and actually handles like a car should further entice potential owners.

Presently being sold internationally in huge volumes, the Toyota Avanza should fit right in with Toyota’s philosophy in India to provide best quality cars at affordable prices for every type of purpose. The fact that it gives a commendable mileage of 11.5 km/l city and 16 km/l highway should make it a very viable option for fuel conscious Indian buyers.

Toyota has always got things right in India with its offering and the recent success of the Fortuner and Prius should serve as a gauge to how the Avanza will be received. Being able to perform all the functions of the Innova, while being cheaper and more fuel efficient, should ensure that the Avanza gets a warm reception in the Indian market.

2011 Toyota Avanza India Specifications and Price

Vehicle Category: UV
Engines (standard): 1.5 L, 4-cyl, 109HP, 141 Nm torque
Drivetrain: Front engine, 7 passenger, 5-door UV, FWD
Transmissions (standard): 5-speed manual
Curb Weight: 1100 kg
Ground Clearance: 180 mm
Mileage city/hwy: 11.8/ 16 kmpl
Toyota Avanza price: Rs.7 Lakh (est)

Pricing announced for the Toyota Etios Sedan

That Toyota Kirloskar Motors were gunning for Maruti Swift and Maruti Swift Dzire with their respective counterparts namely the Toyota Etios hatchback and the Toyota Etios sedan was well known. However the battle between the two has boiled down to such an extent that Toyota Kirloskar Motors have announced the prices of the Toyota Etios sedan and also bookings for the same have been opened from today.

The Toyota Etios sedan is priced bang in the Maruti Swift Vxi territory. Its price, ex-showroom, Mumbai is Rs 4.96 lakh for the base version. It is called as J variant in Toyota Kirloskar Motors parlance. The higher up G and its G version with safety features are priced at Rs.5.46 lakhs and Rs.5.96 lakhs respectively. The all frills top end VX version is priced at Rs.6.86 lakhs. This is by far Toyota Kirloskar Motors’s best competitive pricing in the Indian market. It also competes with other econo budget sedans like the Mahindra Renault Logan and the Tata Indigo E-cs. Price wise, the base variant compares with the base petrol Tata Indigo E-cs.

A.R. Rahman ads about the Toyota Etios sedan namely the Etios Q have been seen aired on various channels. As of now, Toyota Kirloskar Motors have confirmed about a 1000 bookings and the day has just started. What remains to be seen is if Toyota Kirloskar Motors can price the Toyota Etios sedan for so less, then how much lower in the price range can they go for the Toyota Etios hatchback? This is a mystery that only time and Toyota Kirloskar Motors can solve. Watch out this space for more.

In an another attempt to topple the Maruti Suzuki Swift’s apple cart, another major Japanese player, Honda Siel Motors Limited are launching their new small car, the Honda Brio before Diwali next year. The Honda Brio is based on an all new platform and would be a global car. It would first be launched in Thailand, Japan and then India. Honda Siel Motors Limited have clearly anoounced that they had the Maruti Suzuki Swift as the bench mark while building the Honda Brio. Moreover, been a Honda, it is bound to be pricey however Honda Siel Motors Limited have also said that the Honda Brio would have about 70-80% localization and this would enable it to be priced close to the Rs.5 lakh mark for the Indian market. Looking at the size of the Honda Brio, one would definitely wonder if it is worth the Rs.5 lakhs however Honda Siel Motors Limited have laid rest to our fears saying that unlike the Maruti Suzuki Swift, the Honda Brio would be a proper 5 seater and a comfortable one at that. We do hope that this doesn’t go the Honda Jazz way.

Toyota India Etios models preview

Toyota’s brand image as the number one in reliability may have been eroded big time with the recalls regarding the sudden acceleration reports, world-wide. However in India, the case has been so very different. People still perceive quality with Toyota. This has boosted the manufacturer’s ego and they are planning to launch a slew of automobiles in India within the next 2 years. Of prime importance is the fact, that they would officially bring in the full Lexus as well as their Daihatsu sourced small cars.

Of prime importance would be the small cars for which the demand is very high in India. They would be built on an all new platform for India, however these platforms as well as cars are been sold elsewhere in the middle east as well as North America under different names.

Toyota is currently the world’s largest manufacturer however in India, the scene is far from true. Toyota sell only premium cars and hence to gain a good market share of the booming Indian market, Toyota have taken a plunge into the small car market. From the look of the cars at the Delhi Auto Expo 2010, it was evident that Toyota have already won half the battle.

Looks

Both the cars bring a welcome refreshment to their segments as far as looks are concerned. The front end looks imposing yet  has the subtle Toyota corporate image. This is evident from the two tiered chrome grill. The headlamps are of the pear shape and feature multi reflector lights. They also incorporate the same headlamp assembly as the new Corolla Altis, which means they would have legal HID kits. The air dams are a big deal by Indian cars standards. As opposed to the segment norm of having fog lamps fitted into the air dams, the Etios differs by having them on the front bumper. There is also a prominent front spoiler which gives it the look of a tuned Japanese car. Unfortunately the sedan doesn’t feature the spoiler but has the same looks of the hatchback viewed from the front. The bonnet is also a long affair in both the sedan and hatchback in India.

The sedan features side indicators embedded into them whereas the hatch back makes do without them. The wheels were the 15 inch types on both the body types. A flowing crease runs from wheel to wheel. The roof of the hatchback blends smoothly into the Hyundai I10-like rear end. The tail lamps are of the elongated types. The less said the better about the rear end of the sedan though. It looks like the cross of the Indigo Manza and that of the Renault Logan. The tail lamp structure for both the sedan and hatchback are different. Both the cars have a thick strip of chrome at the rear. A rear roof-line spoiler on the hatch back makes it one of the best looking rear for an Indian car. The tail pipes are conspicuous by their absence in both though.

The alloys on both the cars are different. The one on the Toyota India Etios sedan were of the subtle 6 spoke alloys, first seen on the first generation Corolla whereas the ones on the 5 door variant looked jazzy.

Overall, both the hatchback and sedan, from a distance, look like the Volkswagen Polo and Vento respectively.

Interiors

The interiors of both are as different chalk and cheese. For the hatchback, the steering wheel is a two tone affair, one sporting red on the sides and ivory on the straights. It also features audio controls on one side. The upper side of the dash is black and the lower end is ivory. The music system looks space age and probably has navigation controls as well. The instrument cluster is centrally placed and has a Yamaha FZ-like instrument cluster. Though not totally digital, it has that look for sure. The ac vents are of the circular type and one which is adept at directing air flow towards rear passengers as well.

The Toyota India Etios sedan has a more conservative cabin. It looks sort of built to a price thing and the hatchback’s high quality interiors are totally absent in the sedan. The sedan like the outside, also on the inside looks like the Mahindra-Renault Logan, bare basic. It is even devoid of steering audio controls.

Whichever body style you choose, the Toyota wouldn’t disappoint you with its interior space. The sedan has a humongous boot pegged at 450 liters and the hatchback at an impressive 370 liters.

The flat floor at the rear helps in getting a 3rd passenger stuffed easier.

Handling and ride quality

Though we couldn’t take the Toyota India Etios sedan or hatchback for a spin, we can judge by the GOA chassis that both would be safe handlers as also give a good ride. The sedan with its wider foot print would shine more in the ride department than the handling part. Toyota India’s cars aren’t known for their handling but for their ride quality.

As of now, both body types would be offered with a 5 speed manual with an auto tranny on the periphery later.

The 75/65 R14 and 185/60 R15 tyre sizes are at par with the competition and give the car a planted feel.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

The engine for the hatchback is a segment comparable 1.2 liters but one producing 80bhp. It is a 16 valve petrol without the VVT-I technology. Toyota has assured us that the Etios wouldn’t feel out of place without this technology as they have made internal revisions to the engine components to compensate it. The sedan boasts of a 1.5 liter petrol which churns out 102 bhp. Couple this with the 800kg for the hatchback and 920 for the sedan, it should spell some potent performance from both the engines.

The braking for both, would be discs upfront and drums at the rear. However for the higher variants, you can specify discs at the rear as well. Safety features would be at segment par, with two airbags, ABS and traction control. Toyota may offer parking aids as well on the sedan.

Fuel efficiency for the hatchback should be around 13-14 kmpl in city and 18-20 kmpl on the highway. For the sedan, it would be 11-13 in city and 16-18 on the highway. This would be at par with competition. Toyota could do well to shoe-horn the 1.4 liter diesel from its Corolla sedan into both the Etios hatchback and sedan.

Verdict

Toyota Kirloskar India has been long synonymous in India for high quality, highly engineered and good resale value cars. Their car designs may not be the best in the world but they do give you a sense of solidity like none other. The Etios hatchback and sedans are bound to change the feeling of the staid designs, the hatchback noticeably so more than the sedan. Couple that with the expected at par with competition fuel efficiency and probably a killer pricing considering the use of local components to a high level, you cannot go wrong with this sedan-hatchback twins.

Expect the hatchback to start from Rs.4,50000 to Rs.5,90000 for the top end version. The sedan should start from Rs.6,10000 to Rs.7,20000 for the higher variants.

Toyota India Etios specifications

Displacement: 1200cc 16 valve DOHC
Overall Length: 3995 mm
Rear Wiper and alloy wheels
Overall Width Length: 1695 mm
Overall Height Length: 1490 mm
Gears: 5 speed Manual
Ground Clearance: 173.00 mm
Seating Capacity: 5 persons
Front Brakes: Disc
Rear Brakes: Drum