Etios: Good quality, low
H. Kishie Singh
is a Toyota! That should endear it to a mass of people. It’s
reputation for quality, longevity and low service costs has made
Toyota the world’s No. 1 auto manufacturer. The second reason
that the Etios will warm the cockles of your heart is the price.
Starting at Rs 5 lakh for the base model, the J, the top-end VX
is below Rs 7 lakh. At this price, it is the lowest price ever
for a Toyota.
Now, here comes
the third arrow from Cupid’s bow. Tested on the ARAI tracks,
it gave a most impressive 17.6 kmpl. The exterior of the Etios
won’t turn heads unless you approach it head-on. The smiling
grill welcomes the Toyota customer with a huge smile. A nice
touch because the rear end and profile are drab and do not set
it apart on a crowded street. Above the broad smiling grill, the
bonnet has crease lines, which give it some additional
The Etios gives a decent performance in the city and on the highway
A single wiper
sits across the windshield (cost cutting measures).
antenna sits at the front of the roof, which has four corrugated
creases for additional strength. It also helps reduce weight. If
the exterior is lacking in appeal, the interior impresses. This
could be its greatest selling point.
The Etios was
designed for the Indian customer in mind. Toyota knows that the
Indian customer is fussy, demanding and wants a big bang for
small bucks. He knows Toyota is reliable and trouble free,
but what else is he getting? Slide into the driver's seat, and
the flat bottom of the steering wheel, leather-wrapped in the VX
model, gives it a neat and sporty look.
controls are in the left hand spoke. The seats are large,
comfortable and well padded. The head restraints are built into
the seat back, not adjustable (Another cost cutting measure).
Look through the steering wheel, and oops! No instrument panel.
The instrument panel sits at the dead centre of the dashboard.
Probably the most visually unique offering by Etios.
The reason for
this is, says Toyota, to minimise the time the driver takes
his/her eyes off the road. With all the money, time, effort and
energy spent on R&D by the auto manufacturers, how come no
one thought of this in 125 years of auto manufacturing? The
steering wheel has a tilt option for height and electronic power
steering (EPS). The A/C has four vents on the dashboard, plus
two for the foot wells.
There is a vent
in the centre console for the rear seats. A wide bench seat with
a flat floorboard is there for extra comfort. The front seats’
sitting area is narrow. That makes space for the feet of the
rear seat passengers. It provides a comfortable sitting
position. The backrest is flat, not contoured. This means a
single or even two passengers in the rear could slide around on
a twisty hill road.
passengers will have sardine-like packing and possibly more
comfort. The glove box is massive. It has a 13-litre capacity
and can hold seven one-litre bottles. Glove box? It is a small
refrigerator. There is a unique vent for the glove box, which
will keep the temperature in the glove box cooler than the
cabin. It can be closed if not required. Etios engineers have
scored full points on providing space all around — in the
cabin for passenger comfort, the glove box and finally the boot.
The boot has a 595-litre capacity. It is the largest in the B+
segment. A clever touch.
Five Indians on
a week-end trip will have luggage enough to fill the boot. The
upholstery for the J and G models is all black. The V is black
with grey insets. The top model is black with bright red insets.
It could have been a bit more sedate. The engine available at
the moment is a 1500 cc petrol, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, DOHC with
electronic fuel injection.
It puts out 90
PS at 5600 rpm and 132 Nm of torque at 3000 rpm. The engine is
mated to a 5-speed gearbox.
The J and G
models have 175/65 R14 tyres and the upper end V and VX are
185/60R 15. The V and VX have airbags, ABS and EBD, keyless
entry and a host of security and safety options. With the VX,
everything is standard, and with the price being under Rs 7 lakh,
it is well with the money spent.
the Etios was designed with India in mind — the customer
demands, the roads, the weather. It is also the lowest price
Toyota ever made; yet nothing that one expects from Toyota has
been compromised. Wish they could have given the option of the
seats from the J and G in the VX.