2014 Toyota Etios facelift: First Drive
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Toyota has given a mild facelift to Etios, the ‘Real Sedan' welcomes its refreshed face. Mechanically, it remains unaltered but it marks new safety standards in its segment with - standard dual-front airbags across the range!
Things To Look Forward To:
- Standard dual-front driver and co-passenger airbags
- Ride quality with controlled NVH
- One of the spacious sedan in its category
- Potent and efficient engines
- Toyota's build quality and after-sales service
Things That Would Make You Think Twice:
- Not so attractive looks
- Unconventional dashboard
- A-pillar hinders view sometimes
Toyota has updated the Etios range recently, both Etios sedan and Liva received a bit of a makeover but the highlight of the facelift was the standardisation of front airbags which is appreciable move at-least now, I guess you know what I'm referring to - recent crash tests! Except the addition of standard airbags, Etios comes with new refreshes inside-out, the smiling grille of the previous version gets a more mature appeal and there's lot of new added comfort features. We got an opportunity to ‘wakudoki ' with the diesel VX-D trim of the facelifted 2014 Etios sedan. Lets see, how much the Etios has evolved!
Design (Rating 3/5)
Toyota has added more bling to the Etios sedan in the recent facelift, the major update comes in the form of new grille. Etios was always despised by few for its uninspiring looks but with this facelift, the new chrome grille lifts the overall appeal of the Japanese sedan to some extent (base ‘J ‘ is offered with matt black grille ). There's also a new metallic white paint on offer - Pearl White. And luckily I got the same color for the road test!
Talking about the sheer size, it offers one of the largest wheelbase in its segment with 2550 mm. Moreover, it has a plus point of being over 4m when compared to most of its competitors in the C1 entry-level-sedan category. Etios rides 170 mm above the ground on wider 185 / 60 cross-section R15 rubber across the range; 12-spoke alloys are offered in top-trim. Speaking of the top-trim - VX - it comes with reverse parking sensors with this update and its really a boon while reversing this behemoth sized sedan (ideally, they should have added this on the first place when it was launched! ).
Interiors (Rating 3/5)
Like the exteriors, interiors of the Etios are not to everyones liking, specially the centrally mounted instrumentation cluster. Having said that, Toyota has hugely improved the aesthetic appeal of the dashboard in the last update. This 2014 facelift adds more to it. It comes with new beige colored rich-fabric upholstery, there's also new faux-wood inserts on door armrests (only on top-end VX trim ) while dashboard continues to come in dual-tone grey-beige shade.
Mine was the VX-D, it comes with double-din audio unit with a remote and offers CD/MP3, tuner, USB, Aux-In and Bluetooth phone connectivity. Connecting your phone to the system is effortless and it instantly plays music once you step-in if your phone's Bluetooth is on and you left it in BT audio mode. Moreover, the addition of two new rear speakers making it to a total of six, has improved the decibels in the facelifted sedan (speakers are not offered with base ‘J' trim ).
The recent addition to facelift - electronically adjustable outside rear view mirrors is a real aid (Indeed common across the segment - Late Comers! ). The steering on the VX-D or VX was leather wrapped (VX trim specific ) and features a flat-bottom, nice to hold while cruising. But to plonk the horn you need to shift your hand towards center instead of just pressing with your thumb, as the horn pad is small. This said, you'll get use to over the period of time.
Speaking of the changes to the instrumentation cluster, 2014 Etios facelift gets a new LCD multi-info display which has a larger digital clock and gives info about fuel-level, trip and odo. There are also new buzzer reminders in the instrumentation cluster - seatbelt, headlight-on and door-ajar (not with buzzers in base J trim ). Moreover, there's a new chrome applique that surrounds the gearbox lever of the new Etios, looks classy and adds lil' flare to the interiors.
Apart from these Etios facelift continues to carry its legendary traits, like, best in class boot space - 595-liters, nearly flat-bed rear floor, chiller glove box, central AC louvers placed vertically for better flow to rear compartment, amongst others.
Engine and Performance (Rating 3.5/5)
The engine lineup remains unaltered in this facelift, Toyota Etios continues to carry the 1.4-liter D4-D diesel and 1.5-liter naturally aspirated petrol; Speaking of the diesel, not many of you know this fact, its the same engine that pulls the Corolla in the country though with more output courtesy - intercooler and an extra gear.
The 1364cc turbocharged diesel in Etios chucks out 67.1 bhp at 3800 rpm and max torque - 170 Nm starts building early at 1800 rpm and maxes out at 2400 rpm. What I liked most about the engine is the refinement and the power delivery which is nearly linear with controlled turbo lag. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual unit.
Adding to it, to put the car in reverse you need to nudge the knob upside and slot-in the first gear trajectory! (in petrol its conventional ). Moreover, Etios 1.4 D4-D comes with an ARAI certified fuel efficiency of 23.59 kmpl, that's also one of the best in segment.
Ride Quality and Handling (Rating 4/5)
Ride quality is one of the USP of Toyota Etios, the vehicle glides over bad patches of tarmac. Speaking of the setup, Etios features Macpherson struts at front and torsion beam at rear. The suspensions are inclined slightly towards the softer side and it gets electronic power steering, now you must be thinking the ride is wobbly.
That's not the case here, steering is adequately weighted to keep you in confidence and the sedan cruises in three-digit speed comfortably. Adding on the gearbox, the shifts are smooth and slots-in easily. Moreover, the vehicle's insulation keeps diesel clatter under control until nearly 2500 rpm, after it becomes prominent.
Safety (Rating 4/5)
One of the major alteration in the Etios, in fact in the Liva too, Toyota has made dual front airbags standard across the range. Nice move, at the time when Indians are riddled in the wake of Global NCAP crash tests of some of our best selling cars. ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) starts from the ‘V' trims. Toyota has also added seatbelt reminder in the facelifted Etios. Apart from it, Japanese automaker has also added headlamp-on and door-ajar warning, which also feature buzzer except the base trim.
Verdict (Rating 3.5/5)
Etios falls in the price bracket of the popular segment in the country - compact sedans. However, its actual competitors like Ford Classic, Chevy Sail, Mahindra Verito sales have been decreased lately because of these heavily loaded sub-4m tax saving sedans. But above all Etios is the most practical offering of the entire lot till this date, it bags Toyota's made-to-last build quality and after sales. Furthermore, with this uplift, Etios is now more enticing courtesy to the standard airbags which none in the C1 segment - (including compact sedans) offers.