Toyota Etios Liva - ecardlr Test Drive
Etios Liva marks the entry of Toyota into the most sought after car segment in India. Whilst the Toyota badge would surely help, however, Etios Liva is lined up against some very formidable competitors. Will Toyota Legacy along with product capability establish Toyota in such a cut-throat segment? ecardlr checks it out for you.
Toyota world over has always been a late entrant; be it the market entry or with the product. Thorough research & customer feedback are the backbones of their product development strategy. Practicality of their everlasting cars is the proof. Not surprising, therefore, that Toyota models have always managed to earn cult- like status in most markets and segments they choose to operate. India story has been no different, be it the Qualis or the Innova and now the Etios, they have always proved to be a worthy competitor and a valuable purchase. Etios Liva from Toyota, is in a manner of speaking confirmation of their long-term interest in the Indian car market. After all one cannot be a dominant player in Indian car market without a sub Rs.4 lakhs car.
STYLE & SUBSTANCE
Etios Liva like it’s bigger siblings Etios is a living example of conservative styling. It matches the skinning of Etios till the B-Pillar, but the overall design is far more soothing on eyes, even when compared to Etios. Front fascia is dominated by large smiling-grill, flanked by the pointy headlamps. The top-end Etios Liva VX comes with a handsome combination of spoilers & skirts. The chin & roof spoiler along with side skirts adds to the design proposition in very subtle way.
Clear and un-cluttered lines on side perspective, upwards sweeping crease below the door, shoulder line running all the way up-to rear tail-lamps are subtle, but sure shot style enhancing quotients. Ribbed roof adds to rigidity as well as reduces the overall weight of the car.
Rear takes the style cake for the car, it’s probably the most attractive part of the Etios Liva. Tailor-made tail-lamps, unlike in Etios, seems like a perfect fit for the rear profile of the car. The opinion on the thick chrome lip, however, can be divided.
Overall the Etios Liva looks like a proper hatch thanks to its proportionate dimensions. Tight skinning add’s to the cars profile. Whilst, design may not be as revolutionary that of the old or the soon to be launched Maruti Suzuki Swift, it’s probably deliberate. Toyota probably wanted a car that would appeal to the mind rather than the heart.
INTERIORS, SPACE & ERGONOMICS
Interiors follows the exterior and delivers a conservative tactile feel. Simply put Etios Liva does not deliver the plush & premium quality feel normally associated with a Toyota car. (Cost cutting has to take its toll somewhere). Even the Maruti-Suzuki not known for its plush interiors beats Toyota when it comes to the cabin quality.
Etios Liva features centrally mounted instrument cluster like the Etios. Grains on the dash board are hard & remind you about the cost cutting.
Chunky steering wheel is great to use & only exception in the overall conservative design. Unconventionally vertically stacked Air-con vents do a commendable job of cooling the interiors evenly. Air-con controls, though feel cheap & the slider-type recirculation is pretty difficult to use. Too much of not so premium plastic further reinforces the cost cutting aspect of the car.
Large glove-box is augmented with the added cool-function which diverts the cool air through a flip-open control inside the glove box. Front door pockets are quite large & along with cup-holders, add to the convenience factor.
Front seats are large & accommodating. Though thin, these offer wonderful support. Integrated neck-rests are surprisingly comfortable (even though they remind one of the Nano Headrests). Driving position is spot-on with good all-round visibility. Steering adjusts for reach but the convenience of the driver height-adjustment should have been incorporated at least in the driver seat.
Rear bench, like Etios, is thin, liberating tons of space. The bench however is too flat & seats aren’t sculpted even at the corners. This means, every mm of space is utilized to its fullest. Cruising with the 3 abreast therefore won’t definitely be discomforting. Flat-type rear floor adds to centre rear passengers comfort as one does not need not to shift positions on long drives.
The wheel-base of 2460 mm, ensures decent legroom with enough headroom. In-fact, if you are used to claustrophobic feeling of small hatches, you will be pleasantly surprised by the spaciousness of Etios Liva.Boot space of 251 liters is well laid out but it could have been more usable in the absence of intrusions from the pillars.
POWER PLANT & TRANSMISSION
Etios Liva uses the scaled-down version of the Etios motor. Engine displaces 1.2 liter with the 80 ps of power @ 5600 rpm breathing through two overhead cam shafts. The turning force of 104 Nm is available @ 3100 rpm.
Light kerb weight results in a class leading impressive P/W ratio of 87 bhp/ton, a clear pointer to the car’s performance. One’s expectation however, is short lived. Toyota rather than using such impressive figures to deliver drivability has compromised it on the altar of fuel efficiency.
Crawling in the city is not as smooth as in the Etios. While in Etios you can crawl in high gear, you need to down-shift often in case of Etios Liva.The engine has weak torque response lower down the rev-range another reason for frequent down-shift in the city traffic.
The motors it seems wakes up from its slumber post the 2000 rpm mark and picks up momentum and makes a brisk progress. Mid range being the power plants strong point highway driving in Etios Liva is much more enjoyable than puttering around the city.The plant hates top-end rev range too, it feels strained & sound quite audible.
Transmission assembly is taken straight from the Etios sedan. Gears slots in nicely & are very positive. The throws are incredibly short & will definitely make-up some of the lost drivability of low rev-range. Light clutch & effortless steering will certainly make the things more convenient during the peak hours of traffic.
Etios Liva hits the right chord with optimum set-up for suspension as it strikes an optimum balance between ride & handling. Nither of them is compromised for the other. Underpinnings of the suspension involves McPherson strut at the front while torsion beam at the rear. Toyota claims that the suspension setup is tuned to suit varieties of Indian driving conditions. Ride is soft & plush. Etios Liva tackles all the undulation with finesse & only thing of little bother is the suspension noise. Every time you hit the pothole, you can hear suspension working effort.
Handling too has being handled well by Toyota engineers. No sudden alarming situation such as the under-steer & over-steer. Body-roll is also well contained. Though it is not in the league of benchmark but masses will find Liva more than suitable from dynamic point of view.
15” wheels along with 185 mm wide tyres provide good grip to the car. Braking efficiency as well as grip is wonderful. Straight line stability is good because of short dimensions as well as wide track.
Etios Liva comes with best-in-class certified efficiency of 18.31 Km/l. High P/W ratio, motor specifically tuned for efficiency as well as longer gearing are the factors behind this achievement. On a city run expect the figure around 11-13 Km/l while 14-16 Km/l on highway can be easily achievable thanks to its punchy mid-range.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Etios Liva starts at Rs3.99 lakh (Ex-showroom-Delhi), however, one would have to dig deep into one’s pocket for the top-end variant priced at Rs.5.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). This is Toyota playing in Maruti-Suzuki territory. Pricing makes it’s a great buy. Adds to this the aspirational value of the Toyota badge and one has a winner in hand. The initial numbers are a testimony to this fact.
Style & Substance : 3/5 Ride & Handling : 4/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: : 3.5/5 Safety & Equipment : 3/ 5
Power Plant & Transmission : 4/5 Fuel Efficiency : 4/5
Value for Money : 4/5