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Toyota Etios
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This Car Has Been Discontinued.
Customer Rating
: 3/5
Expert Rating
: 8/10
Warranty
: 3 Yrs / 1,00,000 Kms (Whichever is earlier)
Ex-showroom price in 
 help (Rs.Lakhs)
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Strong Areas

  • Bone chilling AC
  • Best in class boot 
  • Spacious roomy true sedan
  • Great after-sales support
  • Excellent drivability of petrol car 

Weak Areas

  • Average handling
  • Flair lacking cabin  
  • Cost cutting obvious
  • Dated look and design
  • Low cabin sound insulation 

Toyota Etios
 
 

Etios gets diesel engine and car buyers get even greater value for money

Etios was a great value for money, but thanks to it being available with just petrol power plant and Indian car buyers love for diesel cars ensured that Etios did not get the reception and sales it deserved. Toyota is finally correcting its mistake by offering the Etios with diesel power plant in a market deeply, madly in love with anything on 4 wheels run by diesel. Will Etios diesel make it, let's see what experts have to say about it chances in India.


Author

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ecardlr.com National

TOYOTA ETIOS DIESEL
With a diesel motor under the hood Toyota adds an even more frugal touch to the Etios

When the Etios was launched late last year, it had a dream start. With thousands of booking even before the test drive cars reached showroom, Toyota couldn’t have asked for anything better. But with just one petrol engine on offer, the escalating prices of the fuel threatened to burst this Toyota ‘s bubble. The carmaker saw the writing on the wall and, in fact, pulled forward the launch of the diesel Etios by a couple of weeks. Looking at the state of the market and the drastic swing in demand in favour of diesel cars, this version of the Etios could’t have come a day sooner. By slipping in a diesel engine, Toyota’s most affordable saloon has an even better platform for success. But how good is this motor?

DESIGN & ENGINEERING

What really catches your eye on the spec sheet is the Etios’ unreal 1005 Kg kerb weight. And when you consider its generous dimensions, especially the 2550 mm wheelbase, this achievement is even more astonishing.

It’s easy to see how Toyota has chopped the flab. Look closely and you can spot some obvious weight and cost saving measures. The door handles are of the grab-type, there’s no rear quarter-glass, the rubber beading for the door is missing as is the engine cover, there’s only one horn and a single wiper.

Where the Etios disappoints though is in its ordinary exteriors. Not many would call the Etios ugly bet even fewer would call it pretty and if there is one area where the Toyota is at a disadvantage, it’s with the styling. The meek-looking headlights, simple body lines and a bulky boot won't turn heads. However, Toyota has tried to add some visual drama. The only distinctive bits of the Etios are the boomerange-shaped grille, the bulge on the hood, and a prominent crease that runs across the doors. Toyota has added a chrome strip at the rear to break the mass of the boot. But the triangular tail-lamps and the large mass of the boot make this difficult to achieve.

INTERIORS

The Etios diesel’s interiors are unchanged from the petrol sibling and you get the same airy and spacious cabin. The front and rear seats are both big and wide, offering excellent back and thigh support. There is plenty of leg and headroom around as well. Since the Etios is almost as wide as a Camry, sitting three abreast at the rear is quite a comfy affair. And making life easy for the middle passenger is the flat floor and well designed backrest. However, what these seats lack is good lateral support and passengers do slide around a bit on the flat and firm surfaces if you corner hard. There are no proper headrests in the rear and no central armrest either. However, the spacious seats, the perfect backrest angle and the ‘hip’ point translate into a comfortable sitting posture.

It’s not just passenger space that’s class-leading. Storage space is phenomenal too. Apart from the massive cooled glovebox, there are lots of useful cubbyholes, generous door pockets and seven bottle-holders! To top it off the Etios has a 595-litre boot which can easily swallow the luggage of five passengers on long holiday.

The quirky dashboard design does take some getting used to, but once you get accustomed to the new layout, the change is actually quite welcome. Surprisingly, for all the chopping and changing, the functionality of the cabin is brilliant. The chunky steering with its dimpled finish feels terrific and the white semi-circular speedo and tachometer are quite distinctive, especially when lit up at night.

However,  there are plenty of low rents bits as well. The dashboard plastics don’t have a quality feel, the air-con controls look like they have been lifted from an old Maruti, and the cable-type headlamp height adjuster looks tacky. Then, the carpets are very basic and the sun visors look cheap too. Why Toyota has painted many bits in lipstick red is anybody’s guess. It looks too loud and is at odds with the conservative nature of this car.

ENGINE, GEARBOX & PERFORMANCE

The Etios diesel is powered by the same 1364 cc four-cylinder motor as in the Corolla Altis. As the Etios uses a fixed geometry turbochargers, power output is a meager 68 bhp. The two valves per cylinder head engine is not the most advanced motor in the world. That’s what the spec sheets say but out in the city, the Etios is immediately impressive. Initial engine response is good and there’s very little turbo-lag. Half-throttle responses are also good and the Etios ambles along at low speeds rather well. Even better is the engine’s linear power delivery and the good spread of torque. Mid-range performance is healthy and you have adequate passing power on tap.

It’s only on the highway that you feel the lack of power and you have to constantly shift gear to keep the motor on the boil. With power tapering off as early as 3800 rpm, you have a very small powerband to play with and the Etios’ performance is a cry from that of the Swift Dzire and Indigo Manza.

Our timing equipment confirms this and the Etios takes a leisurely 15.88 seconds to reach 100 kph, which is more than a second down on the Manza. While it struggles to its top speed of 163 kph. Even in the in-gear sprints, the Toyota lags behind the Tata.

The Etios motor is quite noisy too and you can hear a loud clatter at idle and the engine sounds gruff when worked hard. It’s only when you are cruising that the drone subsides but you can never get away from the the fact that there is a diesel engine under the hood. It’s not just insufficient sound insulation that is the reason for the high noise levels. Unlike other cars which have their exhaust manifold in the front of the engine, the D-4D engine’s manifold is near the firewall and closer to the cabin as a result.

The five-speed gearbox though has a light action. It slots into gear easily and has slick shifts.

RIDE & HANDLING

The Etios is pretty nimble for its size and easy to punt around town, thanks to a tight turning circle and super-light electric steering. However, the steering which is totally devoid of feel doesn’t give much feedback. With plenty of turns lock to lock, it’s quite slow and there’s a dead zone around the straight-ahead position which makes you feel disconnected from the road. With a weighty diesel engine up front, the steering has become a bit heavier but it is still too light at speed.

For a car that doesn’t have sporting pretensions, the Etios is quite stiffly sprung but there’s a reason for that. High-speed stability was a priority for Toyota and hence a firm suspension set-up for better control was chosen. At low speeds, this has compromised the ride quality a bit which feels a bit jiggly over uneven surfaces but it’s not to the point of being jarring. Accentuating the stiff-kneed ride is a fair amount of road noise that filters through. Tyre noise and clunks from the suspension are quite audible, much of which is down to insufficient underbody insulation.

Up the pace and the ride smoothens out and in fact is quite comfortable for the most part. The Etios cruises with a flat and consistent poise which gives the drive a huge amount of confidence, especially at highway speeds. With a full load too, the suspension copes well and the saloon feels planted over most road surfaces.

FUEL ECONOMY

With an astonishingly low kerb weight and a very tractable engine that has been tweaked for fuel efficiency, we would have been surprised if the Etios was anything other than very fuel efficient. We achieved a very impressive 14.2kpl in the city and 19.0kpl on the highway.
AUTOCAR VERDICT
Practical saloon you can’t go wrong with but lacks appeal.
It’s clear that the Etios diesel has many shortcomings. The engine, though adequately powerful in the city, feels a bit breathless on the highway and is pretty noisy too. Built to a cost, it doesn’t feel as plush as it should and priced at Rs 7.87 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), it’s not that cheap either.

But space and comfort is where the Etios scores in spades. It is phenomenally practical, thanks to its unmatched space, superb comfort and terrific fuel efficiency. Also, the light controls and the engine’s linear power delivery make it very easy to live with. It may not enthuse you but the Etios diesel comes across as a car that you can depend on, day in and day out. If you’re looking for a fuss-free efficient diesel-engine saloon, you can’t really go wrong with this Toyota.

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