DRIVEN: 2012 TOYOTA ETIOS

When we left for our road trip, we planned on test driving hot hatchbacks. Unfortunately when it came to the Toyota Etios, due a last minute issue, we couldn’t drive the Liva hatchback. Instead we go to drive the sedan version. Not a bad trade-off since a lot of the parts are common between the two variants. Toyota is primarily known for its reliability, economical cost of ownership and for holding its resale value better than most of its competitors. So how does the Etios hold up?
Plus: Simplicity. Our impressions through out the time we were with the Etios was that it is a very simple car. Right from the exterior styling to the interior, it gives you the bare essentials and does not create much fuss. This car will not stand out on the road and definitely doesn’t have that “Look at me!” sign plastered all over it. We were surprised Toyota even bothered to include the speedometer in the center of the dashboard instead of facing the driver a la Prius. Still, for a daily commuter it has all you need without commanding a premium price. The interior is also surprisingly spacious (with enough head room for 5 adults) as is the trunk and you can fit a couple of large suitcases with ease. Mileage is also above par with 14 to 17.5 km per liter for the petrol version and 20 to 23.5 km per liter for the diesel.
Minus: Now despite having the creature comforts from home so to speak, it doesn’t get your blood flowing. We felt the car was lethargic even with the 1.5L petrol engine putting out 90HP. Stepping on the gas just made you feel like the engine was straining and creating a lot of noise without actually going anywhere. This was a big difference compared to the Fiat Punto we tested. We also felt like there was no soul to the car and this was a big downer. Toyota is planning creating race versions of the Etios so it will be interesting to see if this lack of soul is addressed on the track.
Overall: If you are looking for a vehicle that will get you from point A to point B without much fuss while keeping your wallet safe, the Toyota Etios is a good bet. If you are looking for a little excitement, then look elsewhere.
The Toyota Etios is currently on sale in India at a starting price of Rs. 5,00,000 (~$10,000) to Rs. 7,20,000 (~$14,400) for the petrol versions and Rs. 6,45,000 (~$12,900) to Rs. 7,88,000 (~$15,760) for the diesel variant.
We are going back to seeing if we can get our hands on the Toyota Etios Liva hatchback. On paper it does have less power than the Etios sedan but it also weighs less. We’ll try and find out if less is more in this case!

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