The first week of every even year’s February is undoubtedly the buzziest time for any Automotive Journalist in India. And this year was no different. Team CarDekho was on ground zero to report the fastest updates from the largest automotive extravaganza – the Auto Expo 2016, held at India Expo Mart in Greater Noida.
As I’m the only one based out of Delhi, rest of the team flew either from the company’s headquarter in Jaipur or Mumbai. So, to avoid more chaos in our already chaotic lives – we needed a trustworthy car. When one speaks of trust and reliability – what’s better than a Toyota. Just a call and the manufacturer was kind enough to lend us its compact and frugal Etios Cross.
Etios Cross is nothing, but a regular Etios Liva hatch that’s beefed up with a macho-looking body kit. The slapped body cladding lends it an aggressive look, and ensures that the Cross stands out in the crowd – something its plain-jane sibling Liva always missed.
The large grille wearing a bull bar in the silver shade up front and matte black plastic cladding all-around, adds muscular chunks to the car. Roof rails, rear spoiler, pseudo skid plates with a dull silver finish and diamond-finish 15-inch alloy wheels are some other elements that will definitely catch your eye.
The piano black interiors look way better than the sober and rather plain interiors offered in the Liva. The 2-DIN audio system with aux, Bluetooth and USB compatibility works decently well, but seems too outdated in the world of touchscreens. Most of the other bits are also satisfactory, except the lack of electrically adjustable outside mirrors (even on the top-spec variant.)
Toyota offers three engine options with the Cross– two petrol and a diesel. The smaller 1.2-litre petrol unit is what you get with the Liva, while the 1.5-litre petrol and diesel mills are borrowed from the Etios sedan.
We had the Cross diesel which develops a rather modest 67bhp and 170Nm of torque. The numbers might not appear convincing on paper, but in the real world, the car does feel rather peppy to drive around the town. Power delivery is linear and turbo-lag isn’t much of a bother. However, you do feel the lack of punch once you want to go fast. The 5-speed gearbox feels precise and throws are both accurate and confident.
The entire Etios range offers a brilliant ride quality and the Cross lives up to that standard. It’s supple and pretty absorbent. The suspension setup does a great job of shielding the cabin occupants from the worst of our roads. Handling is quite decent and the flat-bottomed steering wheel is reasonably weighed but lacks feedback.
Having a reliable powerplant, a sorted chassis and decent road manners, the Etios Cross is a nice option to be considered if you are looking for a hatch with an air of flamboyance.