Toyota Etios on a new job – the Brazilian Cop Car

Reporting the task for ‘cabs’ of India, Toyota Etios will now do the job of cop car in Brazil. However, it hadn’t reported the better sales-result there (blame it on the looks), now its maker had slotted it to make-up for the most of a dominating image when being planted in the fleet of Police vehicles.

It isn’t that easy for anyone to enter the official security fleet of government, hence, Etios was made to undergo the 20 stringent checks to register its name in the list. However, official confirmation is yet to come, but the image over here which was shot in Sao Paulo states the whole story clearly.

Brazilian version of Etios is powered by two engine options, namely 90PS 1.3 litre and a 97PS 1.5 litre of flex fuel.

Hopefully, after settling for the lesser number of sales everywhere why Toyota had started giving out its vehicle to the Police department, when he too knows that isn’t up to the exact mark of ‘rigidity’. But wait, there are some similarities between Brazil and India, so we hope doesn’t the Japanese are now thinking of putting that same on our local shores too. The previous example of Qualis is good example for us, which is worrying us a lot, but that means ‘Etios a complete no-no from our side to the local cops’!

Toyota Etios

Limited version Toyota Etios TRD Sportivo launched

After rolling out limited versions of the Corolla Altis, Toyota Etios Liva in addition to Innova, the auto maker Toyota has launched a limited version Etios sedan. Tagged as the Etios TRD Sportivo, the limited version Etios sedan has been offered up a few cosmetic tweaks for an exclusive charm.

The cosmetic improvements consists of innovative 15 inch alloy wheels, a body kit, which comprises bumper spoilers at the face and back in addition to TRD Sportivo badging, side skirts, a chrome accentuated gear handle, TRD Sportivo stickers on the doors plus double tone fabric seat covering with TRD Sportivo symbols.

Limited version Toyota Etios TRD Sportivo launched
Similar to the limited version Toyota Etios Liva TRD Sportivo introduced during the month of July this year (2012), its limited version sedan counterpart features no performance upgrades in spite of its muscular limited version name.

The company intends to enhance its sales in the forthcoming festival period by appending fresh appeal to the Toyota Etios mid-size sedan.

The petrol catered Etios TRD Sportivo has been valued around Rs.6,25,322 (ex-showroom Delhi) whereas the diesel Etios TRD Sportivo carries a price label of Rs.7,31,445 (ex-showroom Delhi).

Waku Doki at the Nippon Toyota in Cochin to popularize the ETIOS Motor Racing

In Japanese, Waku Doki means ‘excitement, fun and joy’, which is the new global philosophy of Toyota. Very recently TKM (Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd.) introduced its concept cars of the EMR (Etios Motor Racing) Series in Cochin at the Nippon Toyota. There are some motorsport activities brought together for the enthusiasts at the venue. These EMR Series concept cars were unveiled in the International Auto Expo 2012 of New Delhi where the fresh sports avatar of the Etios had been showcased to the visitors. This is also an attempt of the firm to reach out to the new consumer group that is younger and biggerthan the present customer base through the brand of Etios. This is a very genuine attempt on the part of the Toyota to bring motorsports closer to its consumers and to the young generation of the nation, who could be the future buyers of Toyota products.

Waku Doki at the Nippon Toyota in Cochin to popularize the ETIOS Motor Racing
Other that the showcasing of the EMR concept cars, there has been a lot of activities which were based on motorsport for all age groups  who were visiting this particular dealership in Cochin. The race tracks had remote controlled cars and simulators for racing were making the motorsports enthusiasts excitedly involved into the activities. Provision of a crash course to make the children aware of automobiles was also organised by the dealership. These children got to know a lot about the automobile technology’s basic things in a special zone that was called ‘Children’s Automotive Learning Area.’ The firm representative said that this year would be completely dedicated to promote the brand of EMR. Other than the dealerships activation of 24 dealerships in 14 cities there shall be road shows, exhibition races and a bunch full of activities happening at a row before the race series commence next year.

Waku Doki at the Nippon Toyota in Cochin to popularize the ETIOS Motor RacingManaging Coordinator-Marketing, Mr. Hitoshi Fukui of Toyota Kirloskar Motor said, “Toyota is dedicated to make its customer pleased by giving them the practical experience of ‘Waku-Doki’, in Japanese this means ‘excitement, fun and joy.’ And for that the firm is constantly renovating itself for a sustainable growth of its brand. In India, I am glad that Toyota Kirloskar Motor has finally decided to commence the motorsports in the same worldwide manner it does anywhere else.”

We have to also understand the actual idea behind the EMR. The EMR is an act of continuance of the firm’s worldwide legacy in motorsports. This tournament will be backed by the Toyota Racing Development (TRD), which is one of the acclaimed and accomplished engineering firms in the history of motorsports. It is also a corporate brand from the affiliate of Toyota that is called Toyota Tenchnocraft Co. Ltd. The EMR Trophy series that is supposed to be held in the second half of next year will be completely based on the platform of one-make racing championship. FIA will qualify the racing cars while TRD will supply the racing parts and their expertise on technology will be used throughout this series. Red Rooster Racing (International) Pvt. Ltd. of Bangalore will be working as the partner of Toyota in this series so the latter would understand the sport in India in a better and quick manner.

Waku Doki at the Nippon Toyota in Cochin to popularize the ETIOS Motor RacingThe pioneer firm of motor racing in India as well as one of the prime tire manufacturing firms in the country, MRF plays an important part in this series. DENS,O which is a Toyota affiliate and makes auto components is on board the EMR in 2012 with MRF. The Toyota Etios racing event will help the talented young racers to enhance their race car driving skills and further train them to get an edge that’s competitive for their bright future in the motorsports. These chosen few will be mentored by the experts of this field, on the practice tracks as well as throughout the main events. They will also get to compete against the best of the drivers in the nation. This series will highlight and showcase the technological adroitness of the producer as well as the level of hardship the Etios can bear while flash the aspect of ‘fun to drive’ of the vehicle.

Amidst all this excitement, it is equally important to know how the race car drivers are being selected for this upcoming series, where new champions will emerge to take over the old ones. The whole selection and scrutiny procedure were done through three stages of strict rules and training sessions. The fit candidates are supposed to go further to hit the target in the coming series.

  1. First an online application was invited by the interested candidates.This portal was open for more than a month. There was a record response of 3303 registration online.
  2. The first EMR camp is in progress right now. The rounds in Delhi and Pune have already been done, while Bangalore and Kolkata will be held in the coming two weeks.
  3. The May-June period will see the commencement of the second and third camp that will let the selection team to come up with the final 25 race car drivers.

Waku Doki at the Nippon Toyota in Cochin to popularize the ETIOS Motor RacingThe applicants who were selected in the first two camps underwent a go-kart selection round. Only those candidates got to drive the EMR cars that got selected for their third camp. Here they received an in-depth lecture from the experts as an integral part of the training procedure. All of this training will be done by the professional instructors and drives from the local racing scenarios and Toyota. Interestingly, the study material for these candidates will bear a combination of whatever is utilised in Japan, while it is required by the FMSCI to make sure that the drivers be trained to international standards.

With this series due next year, the Indian motorsport aficionados will have another thing to boast about their favourite sport.

Toyota India exports the Etios range to South Africa from April 4

Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM), the Indian division of Japanese automaker Toyota Motors, will start exporting two vehicles from its local portfolio to the South African market. The Toyota Etios sedan  was launched exclusively for the Indian market in 2010, while the hatch Etios Liva followed in mid 2011. Come 4th April, TKM will dispatch the first batch of Etios twins to the South African market, where the official launch is scheduled for 21st May 2012.

The Bangalore facility will provide the platform for the export range. Moreover, only petrol variants will be exported to the right hand drive South African market. In order to meet the demands, TKM announced to ramp up the annual production from current 80,000 units to 1,20,000 units.

Toyota India exports the Etios range to South Africa from April 4

Positioned as entry level cars, the Etios twins will replace the Toyota SA’s compact hatch Tazz, which faded out five years ago. Moreover, the exported models will be trimmed to suit the SA market, and might receive new power plant and upgraded cosmetics. Following the export to South Africa, the Japanese automaker plans to expand its foothold across emerging markets like Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand. In Thailand, the Etios will join the Thai EcoCar project that was launched to promote clean, green cars. The Etios has already been caught testing in Indonesia, and China might receive a bigger brother of the entry level car.

Toyota Etios vs Maruti Dzire vs Tata Manza – the budget spectrum

The Toyota Etios has shaken up the entry level sedan segment and for good reason however post the fact that many people have got it in their hands, there are some doubts been raised upon its build quality and interiors standing the test of time. For this very reason, we are out to comparing the Etios with its nearest rivals namely the Maruti Dzire in India and the Tata Manza in India. These three cars are currently the hot property of buyers on a tight budget. Whilst the other two in this comparison have a choice of petrol and diesel engines, the Etios is the only one without a diesel engine. So for the sake of convenience, we have pitted the petrol variants of each model against each other for this comparison.

Looks

Lookwise, well the Toyota is the newest king of the lot. However its Mahindra Logan nee Verito like styling will take some time to be digested. Both Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki are the leaders in this segment as far as giving maximum value for less amount of money goes. As far as the looks go, the Maruti’s sedan design with its integrated boot certainly looks like a designer’s mistake. Moreso like the designer intended to do something else with the boot but ended up copying Chris Bangle, the famous ex-BMW Chief Designer. Moreover, while the entire idea was to replace the Esteem, it ended up being more of a clone of the Swift. News is that a new Dzire with a chopped boot would be making its presence felt very soon in the Indian market. From a distance, it is actually hard to gauge if the Dzire is any different than its hatchback version. So the Maruti Dzire in India isn’t a head turner. As far as turning heads go, the Tata Manza wouldn’t either. Its derived from Indica Vista looks also don’t go down well with the youth buyers. One thing is for sure, its looks aren’t offensive and most of the mid age buyers would end up buying this sedan for other reasons than its looks. A short mid cycle refresh has enabled it to have outside rear view mirrors clipped on with the turn indicators plus an entirely new alloy wheel design and refreshed tail lamps. Well, all these changes are mostly visible from the side profile of this sedan. So, the Tata Manza in India also doesn’t cut the mustard except if one opts for its Elan variant. While the Toyota Etios in India would be called the fresher design of the lot, it is but more natural that it should be lauded and declared the winner of the beauty contest. However its boxy design suggests functionality more than form. However its resemblance with a Mahindra product ensures that it is also ubiquitous. The only thing is that Toyota invested huge sums in advertising this product as an entirely new thing and hence it worked in its favor. Simplistic boxy design with a hint of roundness to it means that the Etios is one of the good looking cars in the market today. So, it’s the Etios which wins this bout followed closely by the Manza and now the Dzire.

Out of this trio, it would be most likely the Etios which wouldn’t undergo any change for atleast two years from now whereas the Swift Dzire would undergo a change as soon as the new Swift is launched at around July. Moreover the Manza is also slated to have some changes in its design later this year or early next year.

Interiors

Out of the trio, the Maruti Dzire in India is the only sedan which boasts of having lesser interior space than the others in its class. While the others use bicolored dash layout, the Dzire sticks to its black plastics. Quality spurt may not be an increment over that of the Swift hatchback however it is more or less in the same league. The front seats are much in the same league as the ones on the Swift and hence don’t compromise much on the driver comfort. The tilt adjustable steering wheel ensures that driver’s of all sizes and shapes are comfortable behind the wheels of this car. Steering mounted controls for the audio system are a nice touch. However move onto the rear and the same claustrophobia feeling sets in, which was so prevalent of the Swift. Though a bit bigger than the Swift, the Dzire also promises the same space as  the hatchback. Though sitting two quite comfortably isn’t a problem, three along would be a tight squeeze. Boot space is also more on the lower side than the others in its class. If boot space is what you are looking at, then the Etios would be the best option of this lot. It boasts of 595 liters of space which is atleast 100-150 more than what the others can promise. However the interiors look a bit unlike Toyota and that is to be expected given the price point that the Etios comes in. However the top end variant has got the flat bottomed steering wheel which is wrapped in leather with a sporty red tint to it. Also the seats have a red contour lining to them. The gear knob also looks sporty with a red covering for it. Seats are a tad higher than the others in this class and feature good under thigh support both in the front and rear. While the evidences of cost cutting are to be found around the cabin with the somewhat hard plastics and lack of some functional utilities like adjustable ORVMS (electric) and also automatic climate control system even on the top of the line variant. The rear seats are more of the supporting kind and feature a flat squab with superb under thigh support. Be it head room, leg room or even the shoulder room, the Etios trumps the Dzire by a big margin. However if it’s the rear seat comfort than anyone in this segment is looking for, there is no beating the Tata Manza in India. It has got fabulous seats which hug you in the right places and acres of leg room is a given for this improved Vista –slap-on me boot variant. It not only has one of the best seats in the house but also boasts of a higher quality of materials used inside the cabin. Imagine, a Tata having better interiors than a Toyota and Suzuki. The steering wheel boasts of having audio and Bluetooth controls. The Tata also offers a Bluetooth compatible audio system. However if its cubby holes that one is looking for, then look no further than the Etios. It has options to hold 10 bottles and offers a chilled glove box. Unfortunately the Toyota makes do without a central arm rest for the rear passengers which the other two in this competition offer. The seats cannot be split as well like the ones on the other two. Boot space of the Manza is of a bit higher capacity than that of the Dzire but then the loading lip on both this cars is a tad higher than that of the Etios.

Space is the forte of the Tata and with a better built and thought of interiors, the Tata Manza trumps the Etios, which comes in a close second based on the space utilization and many other features. This signals that the Dzire more than needs a revamp in its interiors.

Handling and ride quality

The Manza is the longest and widest in this competition. Though visibility is good due to the perched position, the A-pillar inclination means that blind spots are a tad too many. Visibility is a bit hampered in the Dzire as well due to its fatter A-pillars and cooped up rear portion. In this part, the Etios offers a good view of the proceedings from its al around good visibility. The flat bottomed steering may seem a novelty for first time drivers and would be a bit difficult to adjust. However its lightness in the city speeds would delight them to no end. In this context, the Manza’s is the one with a feeling of heaviness. The Maruti Dzire in India gets a steering wheel, which like the rest of the body, is borrowed from the Swift. It has got a neutral feeling and hence is all the more important for first time drivers.

The Maruti Dzire however is a car which has got a stiff suspension setup like the one in the Swift. This means that car rides a bit stiff but all this stiffness aids it in its handling. The car is a corner carver but unlike the Swift hatchback, it loses out its rear far too often if driven very enthusiastically. The Manza is the best sedan from the Tata stables which responds immediately to steering inputs but its steering sometimes feels a bit dead as compared with the one in the Etios and Dzire. Ride quality is stellar in the Tata as it is setup on the softer side. This soft suspension has its perils with the Tata bobbing and pitching like a boat when crossing speed breakers. Its nose is also more prone to hit the speed breakers. The Etios has a willing chassis which is suitably exploited by its engine. However the light steering wheel doesn’t sufficiently weigh up on the highways which robs off some confidence from the driver. The Etios also gets a jacked up suspension which ensures that its smooth sailing over speed breakers. If you are looking to be chauffer driven, then the Tata Manza is the best bet of the lot. Its pliant absorbent suspension ensures that every bump is taken in its stride. The Maruti however emits a thunk sound which shows the suspension’s stiff edge. The Toyota Etios has got an engine which sounds gruff towards its top end whereas the Maruti’s tiny 1.2 liter engine makes the least noise. The Fiat derived Tata Manza engine is also on the quieter side but it is a bit more vocal than the Maruti unit. All three cars are stable on the highway with the Manza being the only one getting a bit swayed by crosswinds.

It would be the Etios save for the lifeless steering wheel on the highway. It is followed closely by the Manza with its stellar ride comfort and then the Dzire.

Engine, performance and fuel efficiency

All the three cars here have different engines and setups. Moreover, they even vary in their capacity. The smallest one off course is the one in the Swift Dzire. It gets a 1.2 liter K series engine, which incidentally is the largest capacity one as of now in the K series family. This engine makes 84 Bhp of power which is much in the ballpark of the Esteem that it replaced. The torque that this engine can afford to deliver is 113 Nm. A 5 speed slick shifting gearbox handles the gear changing duties. While the 0-100 kmph dash was finished off in only under 12 seconds, the enthusiastic engine also ensured that it crosses 170 clicks on the speedo for the top speed run. The engine takes on a sporty note towards its top end and is a free revving unit. The Toyota Etios in India boasts of the biggest capacity engine in its class. This 1.5 liter unit is a new one for the Indian market and is a downsized capacity one from the 1.8 liter unit found on the Corolla. Its 88 Bhp of power and good 132 Nm of torque coupled with a smooth shifting 5 speed manual gearbox ensure that it is one of the fastest off the block. The gearing has been tuned to be in the shorter side and hence 100 kmph shows on the centrally mounted speedo within 11.4 seconds. Due to its larger capacity however the tractable motor can hold on cruising speeds for a long time. It reaches 173 kmph from whereon the motor creates a racket and refuses to move even one kmph ahead. The Tata Manza in India makes do with a Fiat borrowed 1.4 liter engine which makes 89 Bhp of power and  116 Nm of torque. The torque figure is slightly disappointing seeing the capacity of the engine. The gearbox is also an improvement over the previous Tata models. However this gearbox requires a firm shove to keep the car moving. The mid range of this car is fantastic and has quite a punch in the way it strides forward. The Tata also disappointed with its 0-100 kmph dash with times of 13.2 seconds coming up. The top speed of the Tata however is on the same region as the others here with 168 kmph showing up on the speedometer. The Tata’s engine also feels relaxed doing mile munching duties.

As far as brakes go, all the cars here have excellent braking systems. However the ones on the Toyota seemed a bit wooden while the Tata has a long pedal travel which takes some time getting used to. The Suzuki’s brakes are confidence inspiring. Moreover to add to the confidence are ABS and EBD given. The Toyota goes up on its rivals by offering even traction control on the top end variant. Tata have equipped the Manza properly with ABS and EBD. However the bobbing and pitching motion of the car when it is braked hard cannot be eliminated even with the ABS and EBD on hand. As far as safety aspect goes, the trio of cars very much offer the same features with the new Elan variant of the Manza featuring a collapsible steering column as well.

Needless to say, the most fuel efficient car in this lot is the Toyota with its oodles of torque allowing for far lesser gear shifts around town. Its overall fuel efficiency figure of 18.3 kmpl is very much the same as for some small hatchbacks. Moreover, its lower kerb weight of only 930 kgs helps it achieve this stellar fuel efficiency. The Maruti comes in next with an overall fuel efficiency of 17.6 kmpl which is achieved via the virtue of a smaller engine and eager gearbox. The Manza, which is the heaviest in this trio suffers from poor low end torque and hence could achieve only 15.7 kmpl.

The Toyota Etios in India impresses with its wide array of qualities and also providing more features like traction control in a budget driven market. The Dzire comes in next with its good responsive engine and overall fuel efficiency. The Manza disappoints with its power delivery and with it being the thirstiest of the lot.

Verdict

If you check out the sections above, you would realize that the Dzire is more or less outclassed by its more modern rivals. It also shows how a manufacturer needs to keep the interest of the car buying public once a rival launches a new product. Tata have done just that by keeping the Manza refreshed with some or the other cosmetic additions. This go a long way in bringing the car buying public to the show rooms. The Etios by the virtue of being a Toyota and also the newer of the lot ensures that it commands a 4 month waiting period. By the way, the Dzire in its diesel avatar also claims a waiting period of 2-3 months. The Tata Manza is the only car which is readily available off the shelf. Each of the car here has different qualities. If you prefer to be chauffer driven, then the Manza makes a whole lot of sense here. It has got the most comfortable cabin out here with good quality materials being used. It also has a decent boot space plus there are too many Tata service centers to take care of the after sales part. The Maruti Dzire, even though it may be a dated product, still holds its value in the market. While you can find a used Tata Manza in the market, it is very rare to find a used Maruti Dzire in the market. Which should definitely give the impression that this Dzire is a hard to fault product. However its cramped rear and not so sufficient boot space is something which most buyers would have to live with. This is where the Etios comes in. It has got an almost space going for it as the Manza and moreover has a bigger boot space coming into the picture. Its interiors may not be as lavish as the ones in the Manza and build quality may not be to the legendary Toyota proportions but it still holds its ground. The choice out is clear. If you love to drive, look no further than the Dzire. If you want to be a backseat driver, then enjoy the comfort in the Manza but if you want to be one of those who would occasionally want to drive and even sit in the backseat, then the Etios is the one for you.

The Tata Manza price in India starts from Rs 5,47,000 and ends at Rs. 6,13,000. The Maruti Dzire price in India starts from Rs 4,62,354 and ends at  Rs. 5,97,502. The Toyota Etios price in India starts from Rs 4.96 lakhs and goes upto Rs 6.87 lakhs. Now, you decide your pick from amongst this lot of capable entry level sedans. However bear one thing in mind that your buying decision shouldn’t be swayed by the badge and it should rather be with the preference which you want from each of these sedans. Toyota reliability is a good pick amongst the other manufacturers here.

Toyota Etios vs Mahindra Verito

Indians are all crazy about sedans. That explains the sales proposition of sedans like the Maruti Swift Dzire and also the Toyota Etios. Speaking of the latter, the car buying public have been going bonkers, some even without test driving the car have gone forward and have put their money into it. Not only does the Etios appear a valuable investment, it also makes sense to go in for a Toyota rather than a Tata or even Maruti at almost the same price. In comes the long forgotten Mahindra Logan nee Verito. Mahindra have dropped the Renault motif and also the Logan name, so as to give the car buying public something new to cheer about. It was in the cards that these two boxy contestants lock horns in the Indiandrives battle arena and so here we are with the comparison of the Toyota Etios in India and the Mahindra Verito in India. Both entry level value for money buys (Toyota and Mahindra’s claims , not ours).

Looks

One word would describe both the cars and that is “boxy”. Both look like matchboxes on wheels. However the manufacturers certainly have done a lot to project both these cars in a different vein. While Mahindra now gives side claddings and fog lamps as standard while the Renault logo has been replaced with the Mahindra saber tooth logo. Mahindra have also ensured that this car comes with more features now than what Renault could provide at this price point. Just like the Toyota Etios, the new Mahindra Verito in India now features a chrome strip at the rear which more or less resembles that of the Etios. The tail lamps design is the same as that of the Logan and also features an inbuilt reversing light. A single one at that, pointing to the car’s foreign origins. There are alloys wheels on the top end version. There are also rear fog lamps and Roof rails or ski rack as they call it. The Toyota Etios in the meanwhile has a front chrome detailing as also a rear one. More of chrome follows on the top end version and there are alloy wheels and side skirts on offer too. The Etios has a similar tail lamp design but with reversing lights on both the ends. Traditional Toyota conservationism shows with the tail pipe hidden from view. 15 inch wheels are standard on both the cars. If you ask us to pick up a winner amongst them based on the looks, then it is very difficult. It is because both of them come from the same school of thought.

The Mahindra Verito in India gets a slight edge as far as the newer design is concerned. The Toyota Etios in India has been hugely inspired by the Mahindra Logan (will have to call it that since at the time of the Etios release, this car was still a Logan). Our vote goes for the Mahindra Verito but that is only by a slight margin.

Interiors

The Mahindra Verito in India gets a little bit cheerful interiors than the Etios. This is primarily due to the fact that Mahindra have used the beige theme for the upholstery. Getting into the driver’s seat for taller drivers is a bit of a hassle since the steering wheel still is non adjustable. However the front seat has manual adjustment and so finding a comfortable position isn’t a thing of bother. The instrument panel looks plain however once the lights come in, the panel feels very lively. However one would definitely notice that this car has European roots with the positioning of the indicator stalks and lights. Even the boot release mechanism is placed near the front passenger’s seat. The rear power window switches position is also a bit of an oddball, behind the parking brake lever. Cabin space however at the rear is massive. Not that the front is lacking in it but then rear seat passengers get a flat seat and enough shoulder room. The Logan however feels well put together. Coming to the Etios, ingress is a bit on the lower side however the steering wheel is tilt adjustable and finding a comfortable driving position isn’t a bit of bother. Moreover, the front driver’s seat has more travel to it than that of the Verito and hence adds to the comfort quotient. However the centrally placed instrument console wouldn’t be to everyone’s liking. The speedometer as also the tachometer with their white and strange blue background feel a bit odd and moreover the fonts also feel a bit difficult to read. The Etios has lots of cubby holders and as Toyota puts it, 10 cup holders. The door map pockets are also deep and generous. A perfect seat angle and also wider seat with lower central tunnel intrusion works to make this one of the best entry level sedan for the chauffer driven. The round AC vents are shared between the Mahindra Verito and also the Toyota Etios. However the design on both the cars is different. While the Toyota’s has more folds, the Mahindra’s displays similar trend like that of the Ford Figo. The quality of plastics used on the Etios however seemed a bit doubtful as also the garish red color for the upholstery and the gear lever knob. Boot space is massive by any standards on both the cars and would rival that of some full size SUVs. However both don’t have split seat arrangement. In the boot stakes, it is the Etios with its 595 liters boot space that stands out. The Mahindra Verito follows with its 510 liter boot, nearly a 100 liter deficit from that of the Toyota’s. Both the boots are pretty much easy to load and hence frequent airport trips or rather long outings would be warranted on these cars.

Surprisingly, the Mahindra Verito feels a bit more better built while the Etios claws its way back with the better space proposition. The Toyota Etios steals the edge over the Verito on this one with its better overall packaging and oodles of space.

Handling and ride quality

The stiff chassis coupled with the generous travel of the suspension shocks ensure that the Mahindra Verito in India possess a good ride quality. The ground clearance is also on the generous side and everything but the deadliest of the speed breakers would upset its composure. People who must have traveled in Meru cabs would definitely remember the Logan’s pliant ride quality. Since the underpinnings haven’t changed, the Verito by virtue of being a reskinned Logan gets the same ride quality. The handling is also pretty decent for a car which sacrifices the aerodynamics part in the interests of better interior space utilization. While the Logan may not exactly be a corner carver like the Swift Dzire, it delights by following the intended path of the driver. The steering wheel is also very direct and delivers a good timely feedback. It isn’t overtly light in the city but doesn’t feel as cumbersome either. The Toyota Etios in India gets a stiff suspension setup which cannot prevent the low speed bumps coming its way from entering the car’s cabin. The Etios has a much lighter steering wheel than that of the Verito however this steering wheel, like those of other Toyotas, is very much useful only in the city limits. It lacks a head on feeling and for most of the part feels lifeless. However the lower kerb weight and the steering lightness ensure that the Etios is a nimble car in the city. Inspite of its lower kerb weight, the Etios is pretty much very stable on the highway. Corner carving is not any Toyota’s forte and the Etios doesn’t look like it would bend any laws of physics anytime soon. It obeys the path or trajectory intended for it however with some pushing around. As far as NVH goes, the Renault motor is a bathroom singer while the Toyota one is an opera singer. Toyota have skimped out on adding enough damping material under the hood and hence the Etios is the more vocal one as far as NVH goes. The Renault motor however is pretty much silent in its operation and even in elevated speeds, it doesn’t feel strained.

The Mahindra Verito wins this round since we rate ride quality higher than the handling stakes. But surprise, the Verito even surprises us with its good show of handling prowess. The Etios is purely to be driven in low speeds given the amount of engine noise filtering into the cabin at higher speeds.

Engine, performance and fuel efficiency

The Mahindra Verito in India is the versatile of the two with a diesel and petrol motor on offer. However for the sake of being fair, we have compared the petrol motor of the Verito with that of the Etios. While the 1390 cc 4 cylinder engine of the Verito makes 75 Bhp of power and 11.21 kgm of power, the 1496 cc engine of the Etios makes 90 Bhp and 13.46 kgm of torque. Both these cars are mated with 5 speed manual transmissions. Both the cars boast of an excellent shift quality with the Mahindra’s having a very refined feel to it. The clutch setup is on the lighter side as well. However put pedal to metal and the capacity disadvantage comes into play. The Etios races from 0-100 kmph in only 11.4 seconds and attains a top speed of 180 kmph, the Verito in the meanwhile achieves the 100 kmph mark in a leisurely 16.2 seconds. The top speed is also way lower at 146 kmph. The Mahindra’s gear ratios are on the taller side and hence more prodding is needed while in the city. With a full complement of passengers and the AC in full swing, the Verito struggles to gain momentum. The Etios in the meanwhile gets better spaced ratios and feels equally at home in both the city and highway speeds. Both the cars are easy to drive, even for beginners due to the view from the bonnet and overall visibility.

As far as brakes are concerned, the Etios has the stronger pedal feel while the Verito’s feels a bit behind. Only on the higher specced variants, Mahindra offers ABS whereas Toyota offers it as an option from the middle variant. Both the cars however managed to accumulate safe braking distances in our books. The Verito still gets only a driver airbag while the Etios offers dual ones. However the Verito has proved its crash worthiness in different parts of the world whereas the Etios is yet to do that. As far as fuel efficiency is concerned, both the cars have similar figures with the Etios returning an overall 15.3 kmpl and the Mahindra coming to a stop in about 15.1 kmpl.

The Toyota Etios has a superior engine and capacity advantage. It is more fun to drive and at the same time is very fuel efficient. The Toyota Etios in India wins this round while the Mahindra Verito lacks behind in safety features.

Verdict

As far as the points tally rakes up, the Mahindra Verito in India is a winner. Mahindra have ensured that the cost cutting scenario which was quite associated with the Renault Logan is erased from the Indian customers minds. The Verito is now a family sedan and not one for the taxi buyers. It more or less does everything which Toyota’s baby does. However Mahindra have skimped on the safety aspect and instead should have given this car more of safety equipment. Also they could have reconfigured the stalks and indicators to suit Indian styles. Speaking of Indian styles, the Toyota Etios in India is no less configured only for India. The centrally mounted instrument panel shows that this car would eventually be exported. Cost cutting measures are more evident in the Toyota than in the Mahindra. The Toyota lends a solid punch with its much superior engine and safety features. Plus it has a massive boot which can swallow a Tata Nano. The Mahindra Verito however is a better buy since it has a choice of petrol or diesel engines. That is until the 1.4 liter diesel from the Corolla Altis finds its way under the hood the Etios, much later this year. The Mahindra Verito price in India starts from Rs 4.82 lakhs and culminates at Rs 6.48 lakhs. The Toyota Etios price in India starts from Rs 4.96 lakhs and ends at Rs 6.86 lakhs. All these prices are ex-show room, Thane. The Verito is offered with a 2 years / 50000 kms warranty, which can be extended to 2 years more. Toyota however offer only 3 years or 100,000 kms, whichever comes earlier warranty.

Our winner of this comparison is the Mahindra Verito.

Small sedan for Indonesia based on Etios platform

Toyota after tasting success with the Etios car are thinking of developing new cars on the same platform for the developing Asian nations. We had uncovered the news of the world’s number 1 car maker thinking of a car on the lines of the Etios in Indonesia as well, just a couple of days back. Daihatsu, the company’s Indonesian subsidiary would help them in this regard. It is said that work is already been undertaken in this regard and the company is scheduled to get this car in the Indonesian markets by 2013. Moreover, in Thailand, a new car which would most likely be a hatchback would also be launched at around the same time.

Like the IMV platform that Toyota developed a few years back, the company is looking to project the Etios platform as one of the biggest platforms to come out from the company. The IMV platform is a big hit with the likes of Toyota Innova, Toyota Fortuner and the Hilux truck been built on it. All these cars are the number rakers in their respective categories. Also Toyota is keen on projecting India as their manufacturing hub for the South East Asian region. It is said that once demands in India are satiated, the Toyota Etios would be exported, albeit in the South Asian region first.

By 2012, Japan, which currently supplies the transmission for the Toyota Etios, would hand it over to India. Once the transmission gets made in India, the price of the Toyota Etios would be further lowered resulting in a superb value for money proposition. Moreover, the Brazilian market would be the key target for export of transmissions. Moreover, the engine which is also a Japanese manufactured unit, would also be handed over to Toyota Kirloskar India Limited in due course of time. This should happen earliest by 2012.

Toyota Etios in India Test drive- truly Q class

Seems that some one hasn’t got enough of Toyota’s Etios sedan in India. Well that someone happens to be yours truly. No wonder, I am a Toyota fan and had even done a project about the company for my part time MBA course. Since I was staring down a long weekend, I decided that the best part would be to go in for a test ride of the same and then satiate myself. Gosh! I wish that some one raises my salary so that I could afford the Toyota Etios in my drive. So off I went to Millenium Toyota(it was actually the other way round since the show room got the car at my doorstep for the test drive). Remember, just the other day, I had visited them for writing on a review of the Toyota Corolla Altis. So I am out on the roads again with the familiar Toyota Etios.

The looks of the car have actually grown on me. Overall, I am now enamored by the looks of this car. The Toyota Etios in India is a mature design and would age as gracefully as the Mitsubishi Lancer from yore. The single wiper blade doing duties has become a style symbol now. The conservative approach by Toyota Kirloskar Motors is very evident in all of the design elements. The car especially gets the front grille treatment which is going to become a family face soon for the company as a whole. 15 inch alloy wheels ensure that the car is kitted with goodies unlike the Mahindra Renault Logan.

The darkened part of the head lamps does imbibe a sporty look but then that is it. It would be ideal to say that this is a smaller Corolla in the making. The rear shows a much better add-on boot design than the Mahindra Logan. Moreover, if we Indians can accept the Suzuki Dzire here, we definitely can adjust with the Etios look. Speaking of the boot, it is 595 liters and one of the biggest rumps seen on an entry level car. Open the boot lid and you would be aghast at the quality of the boot cover. It doesn’t look like a Toyota product at all. All the sealing are visible to the naked eye, something which even the Suzuki Dzire conceals well.

The interiors also have that typically cost cutting thing going on. The test drive of the Toyota Etios in India however revealed that this vehicle can stand the test of time easily. Since it was a test car, it had been driven by customers of varying driving skills and over different terrains. There was not a single plastic which had fallen apart or any other thing. The red lining for the seats also had the same luster that I had noted in my review of this car. The AC still worked fine but the blower was a bit noisy. The chilled glove box did keep my cola chilled till the end of the drive(yes, I was very thirsty and had to stop by at a cold drinks shop during the test drive).

The best part is that even though the interiors may not feel typical Toyota, they have the durable quality feel. Moreover, the seats, especially the front ones were comfortable but then a bit upright. This would may be cause a problem on long drives for tall drivers. The rear seats had a perfectly inclined angle and this makes it one of the best rear seat cars in the entry level segment. No fouling with the front seats or brushing of knees happened while I was seated at the back of the car. This despite the fact that the front seat was pulled to the back. Impressive enough. Loading the boot was also easy since there are no suspension intrusions.

There is only a single engine option for the Toyota Etios in India and it is the 1.5 liter petrol one which makes 90 PS @ 5600 rpm and 135 Nm of torque @ 3000 rpm. This is more than enough to hail the sedan from 0-100 kmph in 11.6 seconds, 0.02 seconds faster than the last time I tested it. The transmission is a 5 speed one and has long throws. But then the 930 kgs kerb weight of the sedan is enough to rival some of the big hatchbacks. The car has got short gearing and this means that with some more tuning, it can rival the 1.5 liter Vtec of the Honda City. Braking action was also good and since the test car came with ABS and EBD, it reduces the braking distance significantly. Fuel efficiency is a claimed 17.64kpl in the ARAI driving cycle. This is more than what the Swift Dzire petrol can claim to achieve. As far as safety was concerned, it is kitted with two air bags, the GOA body construction, seat belts and collapsible steering column.

Now, time to return the car to the dealership. Hmmm. Am I satisfied with the drive? Yes and No. The reason for the Yes is that this car delivers whatever it has promised. No, because I still want to own this car badly. Can anyone finance the Rs 7 lakhs for me? That is the Toyota Etios price in India and mind you, it is for the top end version. Just let me know.

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.

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