Etios Sedan -What Exactly did the Toyota R & D Staff Miss Out?
Took a test drive of Etios Sedan yesterday at Vishakhapatnam or Vizag - the Sundaram Honda guys came over sharp as per appointment. Along with one of the main Sales staff, the test drive co-passengers included my wife and my two wide-eyed kids. Exterior was probably anticipated, what with all the staring we had been doing over the past two months at every Etios we could set our eyes on! The rear Logan Look was a bit of a turn off earlier, but the added chrome inserts in VX actually helped improve the overall looks. The car did appear huge, but graceful and that was a relief after reading about the boxy looks all these days from many a quarters. Therefore the car had cleared the first step of the shortlisting process. After explaining about the structure, including the darkened central body beam, making the window glass area appear a single smooth opening across the length of the car, the ground clearance was found to be appealing. The salesman offered us the keys and me and my wife opened the front two doors and got in the front driver / passenger seats. The crest fallen look on my wife's face said it all about the interiors - everything said about the poor interiors in this and other forums stands true. Its literally like Maruti 800. For example, the sun visor was a shock to be introduced - thin plastic sheets and the sales person had the audacity to flaunt a 2 square inch mirror fitted behind it - pathetic, really. The much vaulted (or criticised ) red-black seats were covered by a drab grey seat cover - as drab as the interior colour scheme including on the steering wheel. Nothing in the car made us smile - really. If two under ten and under five year old children look quizzically at you with the This Car?????? look, you really are put off further. Anyway, no further discussions about the interiors. Getting on the drive part. During the ride, which extended half way up Dolphin hill, much of the negativity had been erased by the fantastic on road performance of the car. At the speed breaker near HSL junction, I slowed down to 15 km / hr (1000 rpm) on 4th gear and without shifting gears, stepped on the gas again to smoothly hit 70 km / hr speed with not a trace of knocking. The tires were heard inside but that again points to the interiors - this time insulation - so it was confirmed poor. The steering wheel operations couldn't have been more comfy. I can vouch for the best driving comfort in this class. Eve at reasoable speeds, when turned, the passengers didn't feel the roll inside. Rear seats - space is at par with Honda City / Vento / Manza. Brilliant. Under thigh support, leg room - best in class. Flat rear floor - great feature. View from driver's seat - phenomenal. Airiness - wonderful. Handling brilliant, though didn't exceed 80kmph, so higher speeds - cannot comment. With the response I got though , I am sure that it will not inspire confidence beyond 110- 120kmph. Boot - massive. MASSIVE. 595 litres is no joke! If the gear changing is required to be as infrequent as i witnessed during the test drive, I am sure the mileage would be great too. 12- 13 kmpl in city driving is sure achievable by this car. After a 30 minute outing, when we returned, and got out of the car, the disappointment of the poor interiors had faded to some extent, but frankly speaking its not so easy to overlook the lack of plushness - nay - minimum richness required to be exuded by a car in this class. To sum up, the test drive was terrific per se. But the one thing that I still remember a day later is the crestfallen face of my wife when we first stepped inside the car. And that sure's going to influence my choice. (Surprisingly, for all my practicality, I realize that had the company provided interiors somewhere close to that of the Honda City or Vento or Linea, and had hiked the price by 50,000/-, I would sure have booked the car after 10 minutes of test drive!) <em>That's what you don't get by 2 years of R& D. Because that's something which feedback forms are not designed to reflect. </em>
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