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.
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.
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.
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.