Update: you can read our latest updates on the Etios here
Toyota’s new sedan for India has been a big news, ever since it was announced. The Etios, in its sedan and hatchback version has the potential to change the game in the volumes segment of the Indian car market. We have been keeping a close eye on the developments surrounding the all-new car made specifically for India, and it seems we have some very substantial information to deliver. A section of the media has been given some cars in India to drive an evaluate, this follows an initial drive that they were offered on the Toyota owned Fuji speedway in Japan. I drove some Toyota cars at that track once, its beautiful, with Mount Fuji right within your view.We have been reading up a lot, and have gathered some information, which should be enough for you you to understand the virtues, vices and details of this car to a fair degree, before the minuter details are revealed on the 1st December that is. Here goes..
Update1: The Etios has offset AC vents. the center console is not flanked by Ac vents (which, by the way are a totally new design), instead, both the AC vents are on the left side of the console, and are stacked vertically. This according to Toyota is because putting AC vents behind the steering wheel obstructs the flow of air. Hmm, now that’s a new theory. Are you listening, all the rest of the manufacturers in the world.
Update2: The Glove compartment is huge and has an AC vent within for keeping liquid items cool
Update 3: The quality of plastics doesn’t seem to be very good. Cost cutting is evident on dash panel, knobs and window switch panel.
Update 4 : The top end version of the car gets a flat bottom, racing style steering wheel with mounted audio controls. other variants get the usual round steering wheel.
Update 5: The offset instrument panel, which is placed in the center, instead of the regular right side doesn’t look very good. Too horizontally elongated, it looks as ungainly in the videos, as it does in the pictures.
Update 6: Production version will have Aux and USB in for the audio system
Update 7: reports from the journos who have driven the car suggests that the car has a very solid bottom and mid range punch, which facilitates a hassle free driving experience within the city with minimal shifts.
Update 8: Gear shifter is slick and smooth with a short throw and precise operation
Update 9: Acres of leg and knee room at the back seat. very good thigh support and ample width to seat three abreast comfortably.
Update 10: Gremlins with the fit and finish of the car in certain places. Although the test cars are said to be prototypes, the finish is not to the usual Toyota standards
Toyota Etios Engine
The Etios will be powered by a 1.5-litre (1496cc), DOHC petrol engine producing 90PS of power at 5600rpm and peak torque of 132Nm at a relatively low 3000rpm. The engine will be mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, the ratios for which are said to be just perfectly spaced out and deliver good in-city and highway driveability. The engine is not only very refined but also very sprightly. According to some of the test figures floating around on the internet the car accelerates from 0-60km/h in a little more than 6 seconds, and to 100km/h in well under 15 seconds. This time is somewhere between the times of the quick Swift 1.2 and the Beat. Not bad at all, as both these cars feel quite sprightly to drive.The top speed will be in the region of 170km/h, and the engine is reported to be unstressed across its rev-range.
There is no confirmation from Toyota about a diesel option, but expect the 1.4-litre D-4D mill to find place under the bonnet of the Etios by the end of 2011. There is no clarity on the availability of an auto transmission either.
The ARAI certified fuel efficiency for the vehicle is 17.64kmpl, which is damn impressive for the size of the engine and the vehicle. The secret behind the fab fuel efficiency is not just the all-new engine, but also the fact that the car weighs only 900kg for the base version and 930 Kgs for the top end version. The Etios is probably the lightest sedan in India.
Etios ride and handling
The Etios is reported to be a very comfortable car to drive, with ergonomics designed to battle fatigue. This particular aspect of a comfortable driving position is consistent across all reports, and would be very important in swinging the consumer’s buying decision towards it. While the ride quality is comfortable, the handling is not compromised either. All in all, the first vibes about the behind-the-wheel feel of the Etios are good.
The Etios employs a McPherson struts setup up front and a Torsion Beam Axle arrangement at the rear. While the ride and handling of the new car reported to be above par, some lack of feel from the steering wheel is reported. These aspects are mostly unquantifiable, and we’ll get back to you with our own opinion once we get our wheels behind the wheel of this car.
Etios cabin comfort and space
The Etios has been criticized by many for having angular looks and appearing somewhat like the Mahindra logan. Well, we think that while the new Toyota isn’t exactly a stunner, it isn’t exactly as drab either. It’s well-proportioned, and inoffensive to the eyes if nothing more. However, the point that we are trying to make here is that if the Etios looks similar to the spacious Logan, it has comparable space inside the cabin as well, which cannot be a bad thing. The Etios’ exterior dimensions are 4265 x 1695 x 1510mm (LxWxH), and the numbers are said to reflect in the expansive interiors as well. There is ample leg, shoulder and knee room at the back bench, the seats are supportive, the overall quality of materials is good enough (although the dashboard material reportedly feels a bit cheap). Sound insulation within the cabin is good too. All this is complemented by the fact the Etios has a cavernous boot of 585-litres, now that’s a boot capacity that could put even some of those larger sedans to shame.
The Etios is a car built to price, and will have the Dzire, the Logan and the Indigo Manza as its targets. Toyota have included features like twin front airbags, ABS with EBD, engine immobilizer, 2-DIN audio player and door ajar warning. Basic features such as power steering, power windows, rear defoggers and fog lamps (F and R ) will also be available on the top variant. The car will also have a cooled glove box. While those features are not class leading, we don’t anything significant over those features offered by the direct competition either.
Etios price and variants
The official word on the Etios price and variants is not out yet, however, some reports on the internet suggest that the car will be available in four variants – J,G,V and VX. The price for the base variant will start at Rs 5.25 lakh, Ex-Delhi
All prices Ex-Delhi
Booking starts today @50k. Deliveries start in January 201