We already have confirmation that Toyota will replace the Etios sedan with stylish three-box saloon next year. Etios series, despite its practicality, has failed to strike chord with customers. Boring design and unanimated interiors have made sure that people shy away from these competitive propositions.
Toyota has made several attempts to spruce up the aesthetics of these cars and the recently launched dual-toned, feature loaded Liva is an attempt in this direction only. New Liva has been given impressive dual-tone paint job with contrasting shades of the body and roof. Interiors have also been livened up with the use of rich texture and upgraded quality. Further, Liva has been stuffed with some extra features to entice army of young, gadgets geeks. All in all, aesthetics and quality have taken a giant leap forward within the similar mold of flesh and old design. Toyota expects the current model to rake up good sales numbers though in the marker littered with stylish and contemporary offerings, the way ahead for the Liva is not an easy one. Whether Liva can tread this path successfully or not; we find out in this road test review.
Design & Style
Biggest draw in new Liva is its dual-tone paint job that makes it look quite sporty and spunky. Worth mentioning is the black contrasting roof which gels in with the red paint job seamlessly. Other details like grille, nose and headlamps remains similar to the older model.
In profile, new 10-spoke alloy wheels emboldened the stance of the car, and although these still look a bit underrated, new alloys in conjunction with black finished ORVMs have certainly infused a fresh air. From the rear, looks of the car has been enhanced with the incorporation of black roof spoiler. Other proceedings have been very much like the previous ones.
Inside the cabin, the dual-tone seat fabric with grey inserts ups the styling quotient. Not only it looks soothing to the senses but also enhance the space feeling inside the cabin. Central stack and door panels are garnished with dark wood finish though company hasn’t gone overboard about its usage. The music system has now added feature of Bluetooth which was earlier missing in Liva.
Feature of spacious all around in the car hasn't been tinkered with, which is in fact a good thing for all who loves to stretch throughout the journey. Transmission tunnel is almost flat;resulting in freeing up even more space for occupants convenience. Boot space is also capacious, and loading lip is wide though a bit high.
Engine, Transmission & Driving Dynamics
Mechanically, the Liva is similar to the outgoing model. There is a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel engine. We got behind the wheels of oil-burner which feels quite lively. Of course, lightweight of the car is one of the main reasons behind it and although the engine is not as refined as of Swift, it certainly has the entire needed grunt for a decent take-off. Drivability is of high order though not as linear as of Ford Figo.
The transmission comprising 5-speed manual unit is very precise and slick to use. Gates are well defined and stick moves without any hinderance. We particularly like the braking prowess of the car which can be easily counted among the best in the industry. It’s interesting to find that despite the similar disc and drum standard format used in Liva, the car dead stop at even the slightest dab at the brake pedal.
Liva ride quality is also quite accommodative. The car hardly tosses around except on certain occasion when large potholes are dispatched with solid thud. Highway stability is also decent though rolling is quite evident on sharp turns. Lightweight chassis lacks torsional rigidity as one can feel the weight shifting from one to other side. Steering is feather light, and overall cohesiveness is of high order. That said the feel from behind the steering wheel lacks the feedback we have witnessed in cars like Punto and even the Figo.
Liva has always regarded as good value for money. New version also comes around as good value for money. Not only has this, the double toned paint job along with spruced up interiors now lent very affluent appeal to the car. The luxurious turn out could prove instrumental in spurring the demand of the car. Engie and transmission package, as before, is quite competitive to use, and mileage of the oil-burner as well as gasoline is decent too. Service quality of the Toyota is also very reassuring, and total ownership experience is also quite decent. All these factors make Liva quite a competitive proposition, and in its new two-tone avatar, it is indeed emerges as a better package. Toyota is hoping to get incremental increase in overall sales of the car, and in our view, Liva is poised to bring in that extra chunk to its fold.
Style & Substance 4/5 Ride & Handling 3.5/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3.5/5 Safety & Equipment 3.5/5
Power-Plant & Transmission 4/5 Fuel Efficiency 3.5/5
Value for Money 4/5