With the growing market for compact SUV market, several manufacturers want to cash in this new segment and they are now introducing even a cross-country version of their existing hatchbacks. The first one to do so was Volkswagen with the Cross Polo, then Fiat and Toyota showcased their versions of the cross country. The latter will soon be introducing the new Etios Cross. We get our hands on this and find out how good it is.
The Etios Cross is built on the Etios Liva platform and it can be seen. The tyre size has been increased to 15-inches from the sedan. The alloy wheels are available are diamond-cut machine finished and the Etios Cross comes in eight body colour options. The Etios Cross gets body cladding with the Cross badging on it.
The front of the Etios Cross gets a huge cladding, which makes it look like a bull-bar and even the fog lamp design has been changed. The bumpers are black in colour to make it look dual-tone. The side and the rear also have the same cladding with the Etios Cross badging on it. The Etios Cross also gets roof railings to carry on with the styling. The B-pillar has been blacked-out and even the door handles gets chrome on it. The front and the rear get brushed aluminium finish to make it look like skid-plates. There is also a dual-tone rear spoiler on the Etios Cross. Most of the changes on the Etios Cross are cosmetic. In reality it is the same Etios Liva with bumped up styling.
The interiors of the Etios Cross aren't much different from the Etios or the Etios Liva. What is different is that the instrument panel is now piano black finish rather than the conventional grey or black and beige interiors. Apart from this, everything else remains the same.
The Etios Cross gets a central instrument cluster, the round AC vents, in-built music system and multi-functional steering wheel. The finish of the materials has been removed and it is clearly visible. The look and feel of the materials has been improved drastically.
The Etios Cross also a special badging on its seats and the space is the same like the Etios Liva. The seats are comfortable and the rear is a bit tight for six footers, else its fine. The boot also is well spaced in the Etios Cross with a total volume of 251 litres.
Toyota has worked on the interior quality and it is evident with the Cross, however we only wish that the instrument cluster was moved ahead of the steering wheel than at the centre.
This will make the interior look a lot better and also the AC vents could be placed symmetrically.
The Etios Cross is being offered with three engine options, one is the 1.4-litre diesel that produces 67bhp of power and 170Nm of peak torque. The other two engines are the 1.2-litre and 1.5-litre petrol that churns out 79bhp and 89bhp respectively. These are the same engines that have powered the Etios and the Etios TRD.
The diesel is the most frugal amongst the three and has good drivability too. Lug it in to a higher cog and the engine pulls cleanly without any issue. The NVH levels are moderate and there is some amount of diesel clatter on cold starts. This, however, settles down once the engine warms up. Driving in city and highway is a breeze and you don't have to downshift much. One can easily potter around in city traffic. The diesel engine is extremely fuel-efficient as it returns about 15km/l in city driving. On the highway, it generally tends to return between 18-20km/l.
The 1.5-litre petrol is the quickest of the lot and has no issues when it comes to drivability. The NVH levels are low like any other modern day petrol engines, bearly any noise could be heard. This mill has a wide spread of torque and Toyota has ensured that the driver doesn't need to shift very often. The power to the weight ratio of the Etios Cross 1.5 makes it quick. This is despite the fact that the 1.5-litre petrol engine produces under 90bhp. The Etios Cross is one of the fuel-efficient petrol engines too, again due to the reduced body weight. We haven't got our hands on the 1.2-litre petrol, but from our previous experience of this engine, it should be fine to drive. The drivability hasn't been compromised and as there isn't much of a difference in weight between the Etios and the Etios Cross, it should be similar. The 1.2-litre engine is available only on the base model (G) and 1.5-litre comes on V, the diesel is available in both the variants.
The Etios Cross retains the similar ride quality like the Etios, which is pliant and sublime to a good exist. Even on bad pot holed roads the dampeners absorb the harsh road shocks and bumps. The Etios platform has been designed for better ride and that's what the Etios Cross does too. The ride is good to a great extent and it doesn't feel undulating at any time.
The handling of the Etios Cross is decent. It has some amount of body roll, but that's about it. It does handle well when driven within city speed limits and even the steering wheel is light and easy to drive. The Etios Cross has 15-inch tyres, which is why the ground clearance has been increased by a mere 4mm. As a cross we expected the ground clearance to be increased, even the Cross Polo disappointed us with the same aspect.
The Etios Cross looks rugged and retains the same Etios range of engines. It is easy to drive and comfortable too. However, the badge Cross doesn't justify as its ground clearance hasn't been improved and the Etios Cross has an increase of just 4mm. This is more of a cosmetic upgrade, hence the price hike should be much.