Toyota Etios Cross: First Impression
If the food ordered in a restaurant is too bland; it’s spiced up by adding chilli flakes and pepper. Not necessarily does it make the item tasty but then it is ‘modified’ from its earlier version.
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.
Etios Cross is the third cross to enter Indian shores after similar styled Fabia and Polo. While the Polo is the smartest looking hatch and Fabia can still make way with its international styling, the Etios Liva unfortunately has nothing to boast of.
Plastic claddings, aluminum finished bash plates and a bold name, this is the perfect recipe for a crossover hatchback. Toyota has done the same with Etios Cross. The front face has a handle bar moustache looking grille. Turn indicators have been clubbed with fog lamps. It also gets a skid plate positioned below the front bumper. The hood gets a strong rib section flowing in the middle.
Diamond cut 15" alloy wheels on the Etios Cross is standard. The new alloy wheels have made the ground clearance rise by 4mm. The wheelbase has been retained whereas the overall dimensions have grown cause of the matte plastic claddings all over. The electrically adjustable ORVMs also get turn indicators. Unlike the Cross Polo, which just gets a sticker, this one gets its name etched on the plastic cladding. It also gets contrasting silver roof rails.
It gets a roof mounted spoiler and the name Etios Cross written in bold on the rear tail gate. Similar to the skid plate on the front bumper, the rear too gets one. Toyota has launched the Etios Cross in 8 different colors. Personally, a yellow would have done for me but then my choice among the different shades would be the Orange and Blue. Even though it is supposed to be an adventurous looking car, it does not come across as an attractive looking car. The brand perception won’t change unless these cars get a complete makeover.
This is one of the weakest points of Etios cars. Along with the sedan and the hatch, even the Cross gets the same interiors. They aren’t as engaging as other cars in its segment. They lack modern design and need tremendous improvement.
All the trims come in fabric seats perhaps to maintain its raw nature. The seats also have Etios Cross embroidered on it. They aren’t extremely comfortable but then manage to fit the bill. While the front row seats are still manageable, the rear row seats are not comfortable at all. However, the only thing that it scores more is offering space inside. The legroom and headroom for both row passengers is generous.
It gets centrally placed front console. The speedometer along with tachometer is placed on the top of the console. This has to be the most weirdly placed arrangement. Even the stickers and buttons appear tacky. It gets an entertainment system which allows external plugging in of devices.
Toyota has repeated the same instrumentation, features and options as seen on the Etios hatch. Similar to the exteriors, even the interiors need a complete revamp. It has to feel premium with more features and options.
The Etios Cross comes in three engine trims, namely the 1.2L and 1.5L petrol and the 1.4L diesel. We managed to do a very short spin on the 1.5L petrol and 1.4L diesel.
Even though it was a short drive, the 1.5L Petrol engine left a positive impact. It is the same which comes on the TRD Sportivo hatch. The four cylinder 1496 cc petrol engine produces 90PS of power at 5600 rpm and 132 Nm of torque at 3000 rpm. All the engines come with a standard 5 speed manual transmission.
The engine feels very peppy and it sounds impressive at higher engine speeds. It produces good power even at lower engine speeds which is great in stop go traffic. During our test run on Mumbai streets, the engine just kept revving and had enough punch for a broad speed range. Since it is just a namesake crossover with plastic claddings, the suspension settings have not been changed. It comes with ventilated disc brakes in front and drum brakes at rear. We couldn’t push it to its limits but were satisfied with its dynamics if not happy with it.
After the peppy 1.5L petrol, it was time to drive the 1.4L diesel. To begin with, the engine has a very typical diesel rattle. The shifts aren’t as smooth as the petrol unit and for obvious reasons. The four cylinder 1364cc diesel engine produces a power of 68PS at 3800rpm and a torque of 170Nm at 1800-2400rpm.
Instead of being a demanding driver, we decided to give the diesel a fare chance. The diesel unlike the bigger displacing petrol unit is not an agile unit. It has to be at a sufficient 2000 rpm to start generating power. This one has a linear but strong power delivery. In traffic situations, the engine would feel suffocating slow but on open stretches it feels more comfortable. Also this one claims to deliver 23.59 kmpl while the 1.5L petrol claims 16.78Kmpl.
|Variant||1.2L DOHC Petrol-G||1.5L DOHC Petrol-V||1.4L D-4D|
|Power in PS/RPM||80/5600||90/5600||68/3800|
|Torque in NM/RPM||104/3100||132/3000||170/2400|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Fuel Tank capacity in Liters||45||-||-|
|Front Fog Lamp||Yes||Yes|
|Rear Wiper and washer||Yes||Yes|
|Air conditioner with heater||Yes||Yes|
|Electric power steering||Yes||Yes|
|Audio System with remote||Yes||Yes|
|Audio controls on steering||No||Yes|
|Internally adjustable ORVM||Yes||Yes|
|steering wheel with sporty leather wrapped||No||Yes|
|Dual SRS Airbags||Yes||Yes|
|ABS with EBD||Std for GD||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||1.4L D-4D||1.5 Diesel MT Titanium||1.2TDI|
|Engine Displacement/No. of Cyl.||1364/4||1498/4||1199/3|
|Power in PS/RPM||68/3800||91/3750||75/4200|
|Torque in NM/RPM||170/2400||204/2000-2750||180/2000|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Tyres||185/60 R15||195/65 R15||185/60 R15|
|Fuel Tank capacity in Liters||45||52||45|
|Ex Showroom Price Mumbai||7,32,823||9,36,228||798,000|
|Front Fog Lamp||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rear Wiper and washer||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Air conditioner with heater||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Electric power steering||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Audio System with remote||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Audio controls on steering||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Internally adjustable ORVM||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dual SRS Airbags||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ABS with EBD||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Such crossovers are not targeted primarily against SUVs. It is for those who want more from their regular hatchbacks. Even though Toyota claims the Etios Cross is for the young and adventurous, sadly it does not come across as one. The Etios series of cars didn’t work well for the company and then pushing a crossover based on it won’t improve the condition.
Etios was perceived and designed as a cost effective entry level car and this is the exact thing which went wrong. Average quality interiors and dated design made many shy away from it. The other aspect which can’t be ignored is its numbers in the commercial fleet operations where again the brand takes beating. There is no sufficient reason for anyone to spend that amount of money for a less popular crossover and not consider other options in that same segment.
The surprising bit is Toyota is known for producing successful cars all over. One look at the Toyota 86, Avalon or the upcoming 2015 Camry and all questions about their designing capabilities are shunned. The company needs to understand that Indian market has matured to modern design. They are as demanding as their international clientele. It is for the same reasons many car manufacturers resort to mid-life updates to maintain novelty.
Our first impression makes us conclude that even though the Etios Cross comes with brilliant engines especially the 1.5L petrol which is very peppy, it is a letdown as an overall package.