The first time I'd seen Etios was in a Toyota Road show in Chennai, called the Q-Revolution. [ Read details and pics here] That was about 2 years ago. Eventually the car was launched, received excellent response and recently I drove one for about 350 kms. This post is a quick review of the car, based on my 1 day usage.
I noticed that rental agency Avis purchased Etios and has made them available for self drive in select cities. Booked one for a day just to explore the vehicle. At close to 2900 Rs per day, it was relatively expensive to rent.
Couple of weeks ago I had driven a colleague's Etios Liva Diesel for a short distance in the campus. Liva had an inconvenient reverse gear- one should pull a ring up, then move the gear lever to extreme left and front (Similar to Verna's. Comparatively I feel Skoda's design is a bit better, where in one has to push the lever down and move to extreme left and front). When I took control of Etios, I was mentally prepared for this inconvenient reverse gear, but to my surprise, Etios' reverse gear was similar to other cars.
When I drove it home from Avis counter, the first few kms were not impressive. Steering felt too soft, like the one in Nissan Micra However next morning car felt quite comfortable and satisfactory, after my hands and legs got used to Etios.
The one I drove was a petrol, G variant. It wasn't the top variant, hence many features were missing. No tachometer, no alloy wheels, no fog lamps etc. Inside is a bare minimum setup. Cost cutting is evident everywhere. Maruti WagonR's interiors look more pleasing to the eye.
Below is the comparison of Etios's interior, as I'd seen in the expo in 2010 and as it was in G variant. Sorry for inconsistent angles.
Below left: dashboard of actual Toyota Etios G. On the right: Etios dashboard in the concept car. Dashboard is moved to the centre- similar to Indica Vista, Tata Nano and Chevy Spark. This idea helps save money as common design can be used to left hand drive and right hand drive countries.
How the Toyota etios feels to drive?
I seldom rent petrol cars. Hyundai getz was the only other petrol car I've rented till date. I am so used to diesel noise and in Etios petrol, I was expecting it to be super silent and smooth. However in terms of Engine noise I couldn't notice any substantial difference in Etios Petrol vs other diesel cars I've driven of late- Ford Fiesta, Tata Aria or Toyota Innova.
Etios petrol has 90 horses and was execting it to be faster than some of the diesel cars I'd driven (Fiesta and Swift) However after I crossed 140, car took forever to speed up and eventually I had to slow down. 69PS fiesta classic and 75 ps swift VDi would touch 160 without slightest hesitation. Etios has a designated top speed of 178 kmph.I suspect Avis might have fixed some speed governor to prevent their drivers from over-speeding. In terms of steering response and vehicle stability, Fiesta and Swift are way better.
In terms of fuel economy, I spent Rs 1870 worth petrol for 356 km drive. That is about 14.47 kmpl. This value may not be exact as fuel gauge indicator doesn't give precise reading of fuel consumed. It breaks fuel tank capacity into about 8 parts and shows one bar representing each part.
Overall Etios is a well priced car backed with Toyota brand name. Good value for money car. From a driver's perspective I find Fiesta and Swift better, but my experience and feedback is purely limited based on the car I drove. Etios petrol G is priced almost at par with Ford Figo Diesel titanium. So pricing, looks and toyota logo can influence decisions of many. More on Toyota Etios
Also read: Fiat Linea review * Ford Figo Review *