Toyota seemed to be in a similar mood when they announced Etios Cross at the 12th Auto Expo in India. One associates the brand primarily with two models; the Innova and Fortuner. The former is the ultimate MPV while the latter is a popular premium SUV in India.
Unfortunately, the fame and success enjoyed by the above models never crumbled down on its entry level cars. Etios Liva, which marked an entry in the hatch segment, could not battle it out with the competition. Lack of premium interiors and dated design made buyers shy away from it. To regain lost confidence and engage more with the adventurous type, Toyota launched the Etios Cross. This crossover claims to be bold with an attitude. Our first impression report reveals more on it. Check for Toyota Etios Cross price in Chennai
EXTERIOR AND LOOKS
From the front the Toyota Etios Cross sports a new smiling grill that stretches from light to light that later extends down like a chinese mustache. The lights though similar to the old a elongated on the inner side to match the grill. The new bumper is huge and very sporty and is loaded with a lot of cladding to put on the crossover mask. Beside the silver mustache at the base of the bumper on each side are the fog lamps that looks like two dimples on the cheek. This is something you may find in WRC rally cars. Just the huge spoiler at the back is missing.
The is also a silver cladding at the base like a small goatee on the face. There is a cladding that starts from the front to the side and flows into the rear too. From the side the Toyota Etios Cross is the same except for 3 changes. Now the indicators are on the mirrors and the sharp design is lovely and the other being the new chrome multi spoke alloys adds a sporty feel with sophistication and body cladding for the crossover effect. The side cladding is divided into two parts the fibre at the top and a silver touch at the base.
The rear too is the same but now the entire bumper is fibre and has a silver cladding in the centre. Unfortunately it misses out on sensors like the Etios and Viva. There is a fibre cladding on the bootlid too which houses the ETIOS CROSS badging. The tail lamps are clear and remain unchanged.
INTERIOR AND CABIN
The image quite clearly shows that the Etios Cross has dark Black tone interiors with matte finished platic parts looks quite premium. The steering wheel gets audio controls (only available with the top variant though) which definitely comes in handy. The gear levers are also covered in leather which adds a premium feel to the vehicles interiors. The speedometer is placed at the center of the dashboard and has a combination of Black and Blue colors which make it look unique and also easily readable. The seats also have the Etios Cross stitching which makes the interiors feel special.
The Etios Cross has a seating capacity of 5 adults, while the rear seats can accommodate 3 occupants quite comfortably and because of the semi flat central tunnel the person seating in the middle of the rear seat won’t feel cramped.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
Like the Etios sedan and the Liva hatchback, the new hatchover is also available with two petrol and one diesel engine option. The 1.2-litre petrol mill powers the base petrol model ‘G’ delivering 79bhp and 104Nm of torque. The more powerful 1.5-litre unit does duty for the ‘V’ variant sending 89bhp and 132Nm to the front wheels. The diesel GD and VD variants use the sedate 1.4-litre turbocharged engine producing 68bhp and 170Nm of torque.
We briefly drove the V petrol and V-D diesel variants and although there is some increase in weight compared to the Liva, the performance is pretty similar to the hatchback. The diesel is lacklustre in comparison to the petrol, although there is no turbo lag, the engine lacks grunt and needs to be revved hard if you don’t want to miss the quick overtaking opportunity. It also highlights the poor NVH levels, although that should not be too much of a problem in petrol as the four-cylinder unit sounds really nice. We had no opportunity of gauging the efficiency in our drive and the ARAI figures of two petrol and diesel are 17.71kpl, 16.78kpl and 23.59kpl respectively.
The steering is a bit vague and even though it does weigh up, it feels artificial. The ride quality is good, the Etios Cross absorbs all the bumps without much fuss. The ground clearance is marginally higher than that of the Liva (may be 5mm, no confirmation from Toyota), courtesy 15-inch alloy-wheels that also look nice. There is hardly anything exciting about the performance of the Etios Cross, but it is capable of plying on all sorts of roads, also with a ground clearance of well over 170mm it can also occasionally venture on the unpaved country roads.
Toyota Etios Cross handling is a bit off mark at high speeds but it is decent in city driving, courtesy the 3-spoke leather wrapped electric power steering with tilt function. The audio controls find a place on it too, so that the driver can comfortably set the volume according to his desire. As for performance, the company hasn’t tweaked or tinkered the all three engines; so it is a good performer spontaneously. The 1.5L petrol engine propels the crossover touch the 100kmph mark from standstill in a mere 11 seconds while clocking 160kmph as top speed. The other petrol engine, the 1.2L, achieves the 0-100kmph in a comparatively larger time span due to less powerful and mileage oriented. Precisely, it touches the 100kmph from standstill in 14 seconds along with a top speed of 150kmph. The 1.4L diesel mill focuses more on fuel efficiency and hence, lacks behind the petrol models by a fair margin. It crosses 100kmph barrier from standstill in 18 seconds and measuring top speed as 160kmph.
The Toyota Etios Liva hatchback has received 4 stars from Latin NCAP, which makes it quite a safe car. However the vehicle which was tested was equipped with dual airbags at the front. The Etios Cross gets dual airbags on the top V (or VD for diesel) variants. The base G doesn’t get airbags, nor does it get ABS. ABS with EBD is offered as standard on all diesel trims of the Etios Cross. With cars like the Hyundai i20 getting 5 stars from NCAP, we expect the world’s largest automaker to beef up safety on the Etios.
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.