Micra is a high-refined product form the Japanese automotive manufacturer. It is light and driving it is a breeze. The space is sufficient with decent seating. It also comes loaded with bells and whistles that are now being introduced in other B+ segment hatchbacks.
The Micra continues with its curvy theme for the interiors. The door handles, the tachometer, the air-con vents, the centre console all are round in shape. With the Micra, you can cash-in on features like keyless entry, push button start and electrically folding ORVMs, which are first-in segment. The quality of the interiors plastics is good and the fit and finish is also decent.
The space in the Micra is good. The space for the front row is sufficient with enough support for your back and thighs. At the rear, though the thigh support could have been better. The size of the boot is also sufficient.
XE: The XE is the base model on the Micra and it is available only on the petrol version. The XE comes with body coloured bumpers, integrated head rests in the front seats, power steering, tilt steering, driver airbag and manual AC.
XL: The XL is the model above XE and it is again available only in the petrol version. The XL version comes with rear wipers and washer, adjustable front and rear seats, in-dash music system with 4-speakers with aux-in port, tachometer, rear parcel tray, central locking and remote keyless entry. There is an inclusion of the USB and Bluetooth connectivity as well.
XV: The XV is the top model for the petrol engine and the base model for the diesel engine. The XV version comes with body coloured ORVMs and door handles, rear defogger, electrically foldable mirrors, keyless entry and push start. The petrol comes with dual airbags and ABS, while the diesel version only gets driver airbag and no ABS. The petrol and diesel also get front fog lamps.
XV Premium: The XV Premium is available only on the diesel version and front fog lamps, alloys and 15-inch tyres. Also the XV Premium gets rear spoiler and leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob. It now even gets ABS as an added feature and it gets reverse parking camera as well.
Both the engines on the Micra are refined and drivable. The 1.5-litre diesel is a highly frugal engine with low NVH levels, both the petrol and diesel are recommendable. It all depends on your usage. For automatic, you only have the petrol CVT.
Nissan is another recent entrant that introduced the Micra for the Indian car market. The Micra has a three-pot 1.2-litre petrol engine with 75bhp and 104Nm under its belt. The engine has low NVH levels and it pulls seamlessly once the tachometer needle crosses 2000rpm. If you are the more attuned type, you shall notice that the engine shows a slight hesitation before the revs rise, even though it is quite imperceptible.
The petrol engine comes mated to the 5-speed manual. The gear shifts are a tad rubbery. The engine doesn’t show any sign of strain when you lug it in a high gear. Overtaking in Micra is a breeze. The ARAI mileage of the Micra petrol is 18.06kmpl. There is also the CVT box available on the Micra that is a good option for those drive within city. The fuel efficiency of the CVT box hasn’t been shared by ARAI, but Nissan claims it to be about 19kmpl.
Nissan gets the K9K engine from the Renault’s stable. This is the same engine that powers the Mahindra Verito, Renault Pulse. This engine churns out 63bhp of power at 4000rpm and 160Nm of torque at 2000rpm. K9K is another engine, which after the multijet is gaining popularity in the Indian car scene. None of the compared machines in this lot comes anywhere close to the smoothness, refinement and frugalness offered by this mill. Power delivery is linear just like a petrol car with no sign of latency from the turbocharger. Overtakes in the Micra are just a right foot away.
Even the diesel engine like the petrol comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. Gearing is spot-on however the rubbery shifts are a let-down to such a well-engineered powertrain. The ARAI claimed mileage for the oil burner version of the Micra is 23.08kmpl.
Micra has one of the best ride suppleness as it has softly sprung suspension. The handling is decent for city driving, for which the hatchback has been built.
All the cars in this segment have a sorted ride as the suspension doesn’t jiggle and disturb the peace of the occupants. Road undulations are well-taken care by the suspension. The Micra has one of the best ride suppleness as it underpins the softest suspension set-up that glides over potholes. The Micra has the McPherson struts at its front and torsion beam at its end.
The suspension set-up being soft, it isn’t a great handler. The handling is just fine. It is just that some manufacturers have further raised the standards for some cars. Even the light steering wheel makes driving a breeze. Driving and maneuvering in city becomes easy. Now with reverse parking camera, tight spot parking is also easy.
Liva has no different interiors than the Etios sedan. Despite the shorter wheelbase, there is sufficient room for five in the car. The quality on the Liva has been improve with the facelift and the issues of feel of plastic have been solved.
Major changes have been made on the interiors of the Etios and the results are positive. The dashboard now has beige and grey trim and even the quality has been improved by a couple of notches. The interior trim has been changed from grey to beige fabric and even the headrests are no longer integrated and can be adjusted. This alone changes a lot in the interior, and it does feel premium than before. The music system on the Etios has been changed and even the new 2 DIN music system does look a lot more stylish and better in design. Toyota built a sedan for a family that can only afford a single car, so the Etios had to be spacious.
The wheelbase of the Liva is 2460mm, which is shorter than the Etios by 90mm. This means that there is a reduction in knee room in the second row. However, the space is that bad either. The central tunnel in the second row has been flattened and three large people can seat without much of a squeeze. There is sufficient room for your head and knees in the second row and you sit comfortably in the first row as well. We wish that the seats had a bit more cushioning to soften them. The thigh support is decent and to our dismay, the back support wasn’t that good. Even the boot of the Liva is sufficient as it can gobble 251 litres of luggage into it. The loading bay could have been a bit lower for easy loading and unloading.
J: This is the base variant of the Etios Liva and it comes only in petrol and diesel variant. This version comes with body coloured bumpers, tubeless tyres, air conditioner with heater, cooled glovebox and digital tripmeter. It even misses out on power steering.
G: This is a variant higher than J and is available in petrol and diesel engine options. It also includes body coloured door handles, body coloured ORVMs, B-Pillar Black-Out, intermittent wiper, chrome garnish on boot, power windows, electric power steering and central locking. Only the G variant comes with a diesel engine option on the Liva.
V: This variant encompasses front fog lamps, 12 spoke alloy wheels, and roof-mounted antenna, and rear defogger, tachometer and in-dash music system with USB & Aux-in. This version is available only in petrol version.
V (With safety pack): A top end variant in Toyota Etios Liva includes side skirt, steering mounted audio controls, leather wrapped steering wheel and chrome-accented shift knob.
TRD Sportlivo: The Toyota Etios Liva Petrol TRD Sportivo is a limited edition car with body graphics and sporty looks. The car comes with TRD Sportivo badge on the left side of the boot lid. Also, the seat fabric has TRD Sportivo embossed on it and comes in petrol and diesel variants and a more powerful 1.5-litre petrol engine.
All the three engines on the Liva are good enough and you can pick amongst the three, depending on your running. This is one department that you do not have to worry about.
1.5-litre petrol: The petrol engine of the Etios is a 1496cc mill that churns out 89bhp@5600rpm and a maximum torque of 132Nm@3000rpm. The engine isn’t a stonker of a performer, but there the power to weight ratio of 90bhp/tonne changes the entire game. The Etios weighs 930kg, which is hatchback territory. The engine is perky and power is always available at the tap of your right foot. One usually doesn’t require a downshift to overtake.
This motor happily revs upto 6000rpm, but it tends to get a bit noisy when it crosses the 3500rpm mark. The torque spread is good and the power delivery is linear like any other efficient petrol engine. The 5-speed manual transmission comes mated to the petrol engine. The gear lever is small and the shifts are precise.
1.4-litre diesel engine: The Etios Liva comes with a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.4-litre diesel engine. The diesel engine is same block that also powers the Corolla Altis. Toyota has detuned the same mill from 88bhp to produce only 67bhp. Even out goes the variable geometric turbo that is replaced by the fixed geometry. The 1.4-litre mill churns out 67bhp of power and 170Nm of torque.
The NVH levels of this engine aren’t low, and there is a lot of clatter melodrama especially on cold starts and high rpms. The power delivery is fairly linear and one can potter around in city traffic, even in a higher gear. There is no turbo lag in the engine, but the engine lacks the punch or the rush of power.
The Etios Liva comes bolted on to a five-speed manual transmission, which is smooth with short throws. Even the clutch is light, making driving in city traffic easy.
1.2-litre petrol engine: The Etios Liva was initially launched with the 1.2-litre petrol engine that produces 79bhp of power at 5600rpm and a maximum torque of 104Nm is delivered at 3100rpm. This engine is highly refined, like most of the modern petrol engines with low levels of NVH. This is the smallest Toyota engine in India and it is coded named as 3NR-FE.
The power delivery of this engine is linear and one can lug into a higher gear and cruise smoothly. The engine doesn’t feel out of breath on highways, like most other cars from its segment. The Etios Liva comes bolted on to a five-speed manual transmission, which is smooth with short throws. Even the clutch is light, making driving in city traffic easy.
The ride on the Etios Liva is well sorted at low speeds. It glides over potholes with a muted thud. The handling is better on the Liva as it has a shorter wheelbase, but it does get a bit jittery and unsettled at higher speeds.
Shorter wheelbase of the Liva makes its sportier than the Etios. Push it around bends and the Liva obeys your command. It sticks to the line as per your command. The alacrity of the chassis isn’t like its European competition, if you are the thrashing around types. The ride on the Etios Liva is predominantly comfortable, even the secondary ride is moderately supple.
The sporty steering wheel feels good to hold and steer. It is light, which makes manoeuvrability easier in city traffic and in busy street lanes. With a short turning radius of 4.8m it becomes easy to steer the Etios Liva.
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