The Toyota Etios Cross, which in essence is the Etios Liva hatch under that belligerent new exterior, has been prepared keeping in mind the outgoing and adventure loving young audience. It’s a vehicle that projects a visually rugged image for young professionals who care for their social image, while also being price conscious. We took this interesting new Toyota vehicle out for a drive in Mumbai, as a part of a special pre-launch media drive program. Here in this review we’ll evaluate all the aspects of the newest Toyota in town. Here goes…
Word and Images : Amit Chhangani
Design and appearance
As mentioned above, the Etios Cross is an Etios Liva hatchback under the skin. No changes have been made to the basic architecture, so the size and proportions remain the same. However, the car has been extensively worked upon cosmetically by Toyota designers to give it a more rugged and brawny appeal.
Toyota asserts that the young customer the new crossover is targeted at gives a lot of importance to good design. Toyota also stresses that compact size and ease of parking is equally important for the target urban audience – and this thought is the very spirit of the Etios Cross’s design ethos.
The Etios Cross is not a full blown crossover, and Toyota knows the fact very well. Their idea is to offer plenty of character and appeal with this product to make it stand out amongst a sea of similar looking hatchbacks. The idea is to offer a bold distinction without letting the cost factor go out of hand.
The Etios Cross, in a bid to project a tough look, features a bold new bumper with a massive front grille finished in satin silver. The new bumper also features a skid plate on the lower side to accentuate the vehicle’s tough visual character. The massive new front grille features blacked out plastics on the inside, with a horizontal slat bearing the Toyota emblem. On the flanks, you have brand new housings for fog lamps, finished again in satin silver with integrated turn indicators.
Headlights too have been altered slightly and in conjunction with the massive redesign exercise on the grille and bumper area lend the Etios Cross a bold front face, which is in stark contrast with the cute looking visage of the Etios Liva hatchback.
The rugged treatment continues in profile, where the Etios Cross gets chunky black plastic cladding across the lower portion of its length. The lower portion of the door cladding gets another contrasting layer of satin silver inserts with an angular pattern over them. Door handles feature chrome inserts, and ORVMs come with integrated turn indicators. The cladding over rear door features Etios Cross embossing. On the roof, you get a pair of brand new two-tone rails, finished and black and silver. The diamond cut wheels are also exclusive to the Etios Cross.
The big bold bumper witnessed up front has its theme carried over to the rear end as well. The rear bumper, just like its frontal counterpart is a new design, and features a contrasting silver under-cladding. The bottom part of the tailgate also gets some plastic cladding, and features Etios Cross branding in silver. Above the rear windscreen, you witness a new two tone spoiler finished in body color and black. While many things have been changed at the rear, the design of the tail-lamps remains un-altered over the Liva.
In all, Toyota have managed to lend the Etios Cross the distinction they desired. It may appear a tad too loud for the taste of those who desire subtlety, but at the same time may appeal to those who fancy a rugged, SUV-ish appearance for their car on a budget.
We would like to mention here that the color shade plays an unusually important part in the appearance of the Etios Cross. While the plastic under-cladding and muscular treatment looked good on the newly introduced Inferno Orange, it didn’t look too nice on the white. In our humble view, the new Etios Cross with its dark inserts would look nicer in deeper shades like Vermilion Red, Ultramarine Blue and the new Inferno Orange as compared to lighter shades on offer like White and Symphony Silver.
Engine and performance
Toyota is offering the Etios Cross with three engine variants. The most basic of the three engines is the 1.2 liter (1197cc) 4 cylinder petrol, with the 1.5 liter (1496cc) petrol being the other gasoline powered option. Finally there is also the 1.4 liter (1364cc) 4 cylinder D-4D diesel engine on offer.
The 1.2 liter petrol variant is available only in the basic G trim. On the other hand, the 1.5 liter petrol variant is available only in the top of the line V trim. Only the 1.4 diesel is available in both GD and VD variants. You can have a detailed look at the features available in all the variants in chart available elsewhere in this review. Let’s have a look at the available engine options one by one.
Etios Cross 1.2 liter Petrol
The most basic engine in the lineup, the 1.2 liter gasoline engine on the Etios Cross is good for 80 PS of peak power at 5600 rpm, and 104 Nm of peak torque at 3100 rpm. Fuel efficiency for the engine is rated at 17.71 kmpl by ARAI. We didn’t drive this version of the car, as it was not available for the media drive program. This engine, however should appeal to you if budget is a constraint and maximum fuel efficiency is the most important criteria for you, with rapid acceleration and top speed being low on priority list.
Etios Cross 1.5 liter Petrol
The 1.5 liter petrol engine on the Etios Cross is the pick of the lot for the enthusiasts. The rev happy unit is redlined at 5900 rpm on the tacho whose needle loves to swing all the way up to the limiter without a fuss. Even with the revvy character of the engine, there is a good amount of torque available at the lower end of the rev spectrum, offering good drivability within the city. The engine is extremely smooth and says tons about Toyota’s quality and engineering in the way it sounds and responds to throttle inputs.
The Etios Cross 1.5 petrol tacho is redlined at 5900 rpm
With peak power rated at 90PS @ 5600 rpm and peak torque output of 132 Nm at 3000 Nm, this is one naturally aspirated petrol engine we love driving while being in a small car. The engine also has a pleasant aural note to it – muffled yet sporty. We love the way the thing sounds.
Surprisingly enough, even with about 300cc of extra cubic capacity, 10 PS of extra power and 28 Nm of extra torque, this engine isn’t too off its smaller sibling’s fuel efficiency figure. With an ARAI rating 16.78 kmpl, the 1.5 petrol Etios Cross shouldn’t make any drastic difference to your monthly fuel bill as compared to the smaller 1.2 petrol version.
Etios Cross 1.4 Diesel
This one should top the sales chart, as well as the practicality quotient for the majority of potential customers. The 1.4 liter diesel unit on the Etios Cross offer is a smooth unit with linear power and torque delivery. The engine makes the car extremely tractable at slow speeds in slow city conditions where you require frequent braking, eliminating the need for repeated gearshifts.
While power and torque ratings aren’t too impressive at 68 PS @ 3800 rpm and 170 Nm @ 1800-2400 rpm, the car feels adequately powered and accelerates briskly. The impressive low end torque also aids throttle response greatly. Fuel efficiency is rated at a high 23.59 kmpl, and this engine shouldn’t leave you with anything to complain about in the real world.
The 1.4 diesel variant is redlined at 5100 rpm
If we really have to nitpick, the noise from the engine gets a tad louder than idea post 2500 rpm, and intrudes the cabin. But in all honesty, which mainstream entry level car powered with a diesel engine is quiet enough?
Transmission duties are taken care of by 5 speed manual boxes on all three variants. There is nothing to complain about the transmission either.
In all, the Etios Cross offers one of the widest choice of engines in the small car segment, with each unit offering good performance and efficiency. You wouldn’t go wrong with any of the power-plants on the Cross, though we as enthusiasts would be inclined to choose one of the bigger engine units.
Cabin Design and Features
Unlike the interior of the Etios Liva hatchback, which is finished in a lighter shade, the Etios Cross gets an all black interior. While that does reduce the perception of airiness to an extent, we really think Toyota have made the right choice with the dark interior theme. The all-black treatment not only makes the cabin look more premium than the Liva hatch but also goes well with the rugged, hard wearing positioning of the Etios Cross.
The primary change to the cabin over the Etios Liva in addition to the all-black interior treatment is the use of glossy piano black material in places. While still not the most premium looking cabin around, the dark theme does lift the quality perception within the cabin by a fair margin. We have always appreciated the new design of the central instrument console on the upgraded Liva with black dial and blue backlight over the lighter earlier design. Thankfully the Etios Cross features the new design. In all honesty, we would still have liked this platform of cars to have their instruments positioned and styled the conventional way – behind the steering wheel.
In coherence with the dark theme of the dashboard and door panels, the upholstery of the Etios Cross has also been draped in black fabric. The spinal central portion of all four seats features a mesh pattern. The seats also feature contrasting white stitching and Etios Cross logo on the upper portion of the back rest.
Apart from the aforementioned changes, the interior of the Etios Cross remains similar to the Etios Liva hatchback and offers all the roominess and functionality offered by the former. The flat bottomed, leather wrapped, chunky steering wheel is a delight to hold. Front glove box compartment is chilled and keep small bottles or cans cool in hot conditions. We love the design of the gear-knob, finished immaculately in silver with an equally beautiful silver lining for the stick base.
Steering mounted controls on the top variants is appreciable. While the dashboard and audio system is very functional, it does carry an air of awkwardness with those vertically stacked beehive shaped central A/C vents which aren’t the most convenient design for controlling air flow volume and direction.
Storage for small items is ample with big bottle holders in both front and rear doors. The Etios also features a big bottle holder behind the handbrake. In addition, the space between the front seats has a small crevice just ahead of the handbrake, and two small cup-holders ahead of the shifter stick.
The Etios Cross, just like the Liva excels in rear leg-, head– and shoulder- room. It offers one of the most comfortable back benches in the mainstream segment for a two box body type.
Boot Space, though not class leading is reasonably good at 251liters, though the back rest is not split foldable, and the whole seat needs to come down should you require more luggage space.
Key features include a two DIN audio system with CD/Aux-in/Bluetooth/Radio, steering mounted controls, power windows with driver side auto down, tilt steering, height adjustable driver’s seat, Dual airbags, ABS with EBD, Engine Immobilizer and keyless entry. Check out the detailed variant wise feature list of the Etios Cross below for more information.
Click to Expand
Other Important Details
The beehive shaved A/C vents aren’t very convenient to control air flow volume and direction
Bluetooth and Aux-in is available only in the top of the line variant. Audio system comes as standard even in the base variant though
The relatively small sized glove compartment is A/C chilled. Notice the chrome bezel of the left A/C vent integrated on the glove box lid.
Here’s a size comparison with the hottest compact SUV on the market today – the Ford Ecosport
Etios Cross branding on the seat backrest. Check out the contrasting white stitching for a sporty effect
Driver’s seat is height adjustable
A fully lit up instrument console.
Spare isn’t an alloy – its no space saver though and features a full size tyre.
Ride and handling
Toyota have kept the suspension setting and ground clearance for the Etios Cross unchanged over the Etios Liva. The Cross, thus, while offering a comfortable ride isn’t exactly meant for corner carving. Pushed hard around bends, the car does exhibit some body-roll, though it’s nothing new to the segment. The handling is decent enough for the positioning. It’s a practical, comfortable car with ample poise and control for everyday in-city driving and the occasional moderately enthusiastic run around the hilly bends. If however, you wish to go apex hunting in a big hatchback, you should probably be looking elsewhere.
We found the suspension on the diesel variant slightly firmer than the petrol variant. The steering wheel on the diesel variant also felt a bit weightier. There is a bit of vagueness on the steering in both variants, but it’s reassuring enough for whatever most driving conditions would throw at you. We loved the chunky grip of the flat bottomed wheel, and we’re sure most of the customers would care more for that nice grip, than the overall feedback translated to their palms.
The Etios Cross is an innovative spinoff of the Etios Liva by Toyota to offer another option in the currently on fire compact crossover segment. We really think that there’s nothing wrong with this stylistic offshoot of the Etios hatchback. Make no mistake, it’s no SUV, it’s not a ground-up product, and it cannot go anywhere near the places where its Liva sibling cannot. However, it does make a lot of sense for the youngsters who like carrying a bit of attitude with their ride. It looks nice from certain angles and in certain colors, though whether you appreciate the beefy visual expression is dependent entirely on your personal choice.
Toyota Etios Cross Prices are as follows
- Toyota Etios Cross G (1.2 petrol)- Rs 5.76 lakh
- Toyota Etios Cross V (1.5 petrol) – Rs 7.35 lakh
- Toyota Etios Cross GD- Rs 6.9 lakh
- Toyota Etios Cross VD- Rs 7.40 lakh
Toyota Etios Cross Image Gallery