A whole new world
The Etios has a big act to follow: that act being the hugely successful Tazz. The new built-in-India Etios is aimed at buyers who want affordably priced, practical transport. And Toyota says the Etios has plenty going for it: biggest-in-class space, big-capacity engine, and a good balance of cost vs features. Both sedan and hatchback are five-seaters, and the sedan has a massive 595 dm3 boot.
Dynamically, the Etios feels well up to the class standard. The 1,5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine develops 66 kW and 132 N.m at 3 000 r/min. Adapted to suit the South African market, it’s mated to a five-speed manual transmission, and returns 5,9 litres/100 km (sedan) and 6,0 litres/100 km (hatch).
The Etios rides comfortably and assuredly; the steering lacks feedback, but is precise. It corners nice and stably with mild body lean at speed. There’s adequate torque available for snappy overtaking manoeuvres (down at sea level, at any rate) and the 5-speed manual gearshift is light and slight.
One aspect I simply can’t get attuned to is the instrument panel. Firstly, because of its location in the centre of the dashboard; secondly, because of its garish graphics. There has to be a classier way of doing this, Toyota.
It’s particularly well equipped on the safety front: anti-lock braking with electronic brake-force distribution and airbags for both front occupants are standard.
Standard features include electric power steering, air-con, tilt-adjust steering and, on XS models, remote central locking, power windows all round and rear window demister. The glove box has a built-in cooling function, too. One rather unusual feature is seven (seven!) 1-litre-sized cupholders. Just so you know.
Prices range from R115 800 to R126 600, including a 2 year/30 000 km service plan and ToyotaCare 24-hour roadside assistance.
Wallpaper: See New on the block (July 2012 issue) for wallpaper images of selected cars.