Toyota’s B-segment hatchback, the Etios Liva is the Japanese automaker’s competitor in one of the most populated segments in the Indian car market. While it has not exactly set the sales chart on fire, the car exists as a way for buyers to enter the brand at a lower price point. It has gone through yet another revision and this time around it looks to be a comprehensive one and one that should let the hatchback keeps the constant volumes that it has achieved over the years.
Like its sedan sibling, the Etios Liva too has got a comprehensive update with a new face . It takes away the dull image of the predecessor and lends some Manga style aggressiveness to the hatchback. The body coloured outline of the logo has been eliminated giving the grille a minimalistic appearance while the bumper has moved to a more aggressive rectangular design. To balance the shininess of the chrome on the bumpe, it has been fitted with black inserts above the fog lamp housing. On the side, this top-of-the-line VX model that we tested gets grey colour alloy wheels which go well the overall appearance of the car. The chunky tail lamps and high stance dominate the rear profile while the bumper has been modified to include some sporty lines that flow out from the number plate section.
The overall layout remains unchanged from when the hatchback was launched but gets a colour upgrade with a dual tone setup in black for the dashboard and beige for the rest of the cabin. The centrally mounted instrument cluster now gets a digital tachometer and trip metre lending modernity to the design. However, we feel that the latter could have been a bit more comprehensive and included things like a distance to empty meter.
There is not much to speak about in terms of features as a car gets everything that is considered basic in the segment. This list includes a 2-DIN music system, AC, height adjustment for the driver’s seat and a massive 13-litre cooled glove. The quality of plastic both on the contact and non-contact surfaces is not that great and still lags behind competition. However, their hard and grainy nature means that they are long lasting.
The front seats themselves are quite comfortable and offer decent support. The rear seats on the other hand, while offering similar levels of comfort, lack head room due to the odd roofline which is quite prominent on the right-hand side where there is one of the mounting points for the middle seatbelt.
Where Toyota spent a large part of its update budget is to make the Etios Liva high on the safety front. In view of the Central Government introducing new protection standards from 2018 onwards, Toyota has fitted the Etios Liva with dual front airbags, adjustable headrests, ABS with EBD and seatbelts with pre-tensioners as well as force limiters across the range. In addition you now also get a three-point seat belt for the middle rear passenger and two ISOFIX mounting points at the rear for child seats. What this has resulted in is a 4-Star Global NCAP adult safety rating across all three body styles that the Etios is offered in. When looked at from the long term, this is 2018 safety standards but at 2016 prices.
The car that we drove was a petrol model which is powered by a 1.2-litre petrol unit producing 79bhp/104Nm with power going to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox. You can also have the Liva with a 1.4-litre diesel engine that produces 67bhp/170Nm of torque. This engine is also mated to a five-speed manual.
Firstly, the four-pot petrol motor has a segment standard output putting it on league with everything else that is there on offer. Slot the car into first and press the throttle; it gets off the line quite easily. A large chunk of the torque is available in the mid-range giving you the option to potter around in traffic without having to row through the gears too much. However, the car does start to struggle on the highway past the 120kmph mark and you do feel the engine straining to climb further. Also, since the NVH insulation is not that great it does get very noisy at three-digit speeds with wind noise and engine strain being quite prominent.
The ride quality is on the softer side and the car is able to absorb most bumps and imperfections without sending much back to the cabin. At higher speeds the Liva does tend to get skittish but nothing that would make the journey uncomfortable. It handles flat at road legal speeds and steering despite being devoid of feedback does weigh up correctly the faster you go. It gets discs in front and drums at the rear which offers progressive braking.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||67bhp @ 3800rpm|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||170Nm @ 1800rpm|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||45|
|Tyre size||185/60 R15|
|ABS with EBD||Yes|
|Dual front airbags||Yes|
|2 ISOFIX child seat mounting points||Yes|
|13-litre cooled glove box||Yes|
|Optional 5 year and 7 year extended warranties||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||Asta 1.2 VTVT (O)||Zxi||VX|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||81 @ 6000||83 @ 6000||67bhp @ 3800rpm|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||114 @ 4000||115 @ 4000||170Nm @ 1800rpm|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||43||42||45|
|Tyre size||165/65 R14||185/65 R15||185/60 R15|
In a segment where there is a vast array of vehicles, the Etios Liva has built its identity as a safe and sound option for those who see a car a mode of transport to move from point A to point B. Toyota has played on these strengths by enhancing the safety quotient of the hatchback. In addition, the Liva gets the backing of Toyota’s strong sales and service network which should help it continue the steady stream of numbers that it manages to achieve.
Photos: Kapil Angane