Toyota Etios gets facelift

Toyota etios hatchback

Widely recognised as a value for money proposition and with fairly decent looks to boot, Toyota’s Etios recently underwent a cosmetic “adjustment” to increase its appeal even further. With sales of only 859 units in March this year, it’s obvious that this model should do much better, and that 1,500 units per month should be the benchmark.

The Etios range has established itself as a staple in the small passenger car market in South Africa, as well as in Toyota’s arsenal. Available in both hatchback and sedan iterations with buyers, on average, paying some R8,000 extra for a boot (and less attractive looks), Etios could be the go-to model for those on a budget, but who still require Toyota quality.

A regular feature on the Top 10 sales list, the models’ wide appeal is evidenced by the fact that a total of 12 768 units found homes in the 2016 calendar year.

Sprint Personality

The quaintly-named Sprint, given its fairly modest performance outputs, is the newest kid-on-the-block in the Etios range, and replaces the previous mid-grade X.

The key change point is the new front bumper design; incorporating a large lower air dam as its main focal point. The lower air dam stretches across the entire front width, and features integrated fog lamps with sculpted bezels. Subtle graining has been applied to lend an air of quality.

The lower grille is fashioned in matching black and utilises sharp horizontal slats to reinforce what is described as a “muscular” theme. The upper radiator grille employs a distinctive wing-like motif, with the Toyota ellipse at its centre and a broad chrome ‘brow’ forming the upper border.

The rear also received styling tweaks in order to form a cohesive design. The rear bumper incorporates an elegant lower crease line accentuating the profile – flowing from the outer corners and blending into the number plate recess.

Adding additional visual flair are new twin-spoke 15” alloy wheels fitted with 185/60R15 rubber and a carbon fibre-inspired Sprint badge.

Three Models

With the addition of the Sprint model, the Etios range now boasts three different models each with their own visual identity.

The entry-level Xi derivative retains its current styling, with the addition of a colour-coded grille with chrome accents, and continues to offer a strong focus on value.

Completing the triple play, is the Cross model (available in hatchback only), with its distinctive ‘urban-adventurer’ cladding and bespoke exterior styling.

All models have also received an upgrade to interior tactile elements, creating a greater feeling of solidity.

Suspension

A Macpherson strut design is adopted for the front. Shock absorber anti-dust performance is enhanced, which in turn benefits shock absorber longevity in dusty regions, while the rear has been kitted out with torsion-beam-type suspension which worked well during the launch drive on some indifferent Eastern Cape roads.

The Engine

Motivation is provided by the ‘nippy’ 1.5 litre 4 cylinder power unit, producing 66 kW at 5,600 rpm and 132 Nm at 3,000 rpm. An outstanding characteristic of this engine is its free-revving nature and good low-speed torque delivery. This makes the Etios a breeze to navigate in and out of traffic whilst providing easy motorway cruising – particularly for a small car. Steep hills, however, require constant use of the smooth-shifting manual gearbox which drives through the front wheels.

Fuel consumption is a claimed  5.9 litres per 100 kilometres for the sedan and 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres for the hatch.

Safety

Occupants are protected by driver and passenger airbags, and the active safety specification list includes ABS, EBD, seat-belts with pre-tensioner and force limiter as well as ISOFIX for kiddy seats.

Warrenty and Pricing

All Etios models come with a 2-year/30,000 kilometre service plan, backed by a 3-year/100, 000 kilometre warranty. Service intervals are set at a disappointing 10,000 kilometres.

Hatch

1.5 Xi               - R163 900                 

1.5 Sprint         - R172 600

1.5 Cross         - R194 300

Sedan

1.5 Xi               - R172 200

1.5 Sprint         - R180 500