Crossovers are becoming increasingly popular with car buyers all over the world for their practicality and style quotient. In the Indian context, Compact Crossovers based on hatchbacks are gaining lot of interest as they offer an SUV-like stance along with compact dimensions of hatchbacks which are easy and economical to drive around. In the Indian automotive market we have the Cross Polo, Fabia Scout, Fiat Avventura, Etios Cross and the recently launched i20 Active vying for a dominant share in the crossover segment. While the Cross Polo and Fabia Scout failed miserably, it is now a battle between the Avventura, Etios Cross and i20 Active for the Numero Uno Crown in the compact crossover territory.
Toyota offered us the top spec diesel Etios Cross for a review. After taking possession of the car I drove it in rush hour traffic of Mumbai for a couple of days, then on the Expressway to Kolhapur and later hit Goa via Chorla ghat amidst heavy rainfall and festive (Ganesh Chaturthi) traffic. So this review of the Etios Cross comes up after driving the car for nearly 1600 kms and trust me, the Etios Cross turned out to be a fabulous tourer offering a fatigue-free drive and outstanding fuel economy.
Visually, the Etios Cross is a smart looking car with a bold fascia, a prominent grille protected by a bull bar while the sides are guarded by a tough wrap-around cladding and larger 15 inch tyres fitted with impressive diamond cut alloys. At the rear the Cross gets a sporty roof spoiler while the boot gets prominent ‘Etios Cross’ badging. It also gets skid plates and functional roof rails which can hold luggage up to 50 kgs all of which highlights its pseudo-SUV characteristics. In the front, the Fog lamps are placed into the bumpers with integrated turn indicators while the door ORVMs get a separate set of indicators too.
The Cross gets a single large wiper which is capable of sweeping almost the entire windscreen thereby offering a clear view to the driver even during heavy rainfall. The rear also gets a wiper-washer-defogger which takes care of rear visibility during monsoons. Toyota offers the Etios range in 7 colour options with an additional ‘Inferno Orange’ being a special shade reserved for the Etios Cross. And while we got a White one for review, I spotted a Celestial Black Etios Cross in Goa and it really looked stunning with those silver accents to the roof rails, skid plates, cladding, bull bar and alloys. Overall, the Etios Cross is 120mm longer, 40mm wider, 45mm taller and approximately 20kgs heavier than the standard Liva but that does not alter its driving dynamics in any manner.
There is no denying that the Etios Cross appears tougher and substantially smarter than a standard Liva. The wrap-around cladding looks purposeful and does a brilliant job of keeping errant auto-rickshaws and two wheelers at bay. Believe me, the Etios Cross feels far less vulnerable to drive around in urban bumper-to-bumper traffic than any other regular hatch or sedan. And thanks to all the armour, the Cross does stand out and gets noticed in a sea of cars.
The Etios Cross gets a cabin similar to that of the Liva, but a sporty all black theme with glossy piano black inserts. And though the cabin has hard plastics, it will very well put together. The centrally mounted instrument cluster seems oddly placed and the driver needs to get his eyes off the road while viewing it. A conventionally placed instrument cluster would have been much more convenient. While the car we drove had manually adjustable door mirrors, the newer cars get electrically adjustable ORVMs.
The car is equipped with a decent double-din audio system with USB, AUX-in blue tooth, remote control and steering mounted audio controls. The leather wrapped flat bottom steering wheel is a joy to hold and steer. The seats in both rows are very comfortable offering good back and under-thigh support. The driver’s seat has height adjustment facility while the rear seats get adjustable head restraints which are a boon during long drives. The rear seat is flat and broad enough to seat 3 adults abreast without jostling for space. Knee room and head room for passengers in both rows is also more than adequate. Though the Cross does not get rear air-conditioning vents, the dashboard mounted circular AC vents have a powerful throw to cool the rear passenger area effectively.
The lack of rear AC vents coupled with a nearly flat floor-board liberates a lot of space and makes the cabin feel roomy and uncluttered. Similarly, the generous glass area gives an overall feeling of buoyancy inside the cabin. The Cross has 5 bottle-holders, 2 cup-holders and it also gets rectangular slots on either sides of the handbrake which are useful to store pens and even wallets. There are separate storage spaces for mobile phones and coins too. An interesting feature that the Cross offers is a 13 litre cooled glove box which comes in handy during long trips for keeping water or cold drinks in a pleasantly cold state, not chilled though. All-in-all, the Etios Cross is a genuine 5 seater hatch with a cabin that is spacious and comfortable with adequate storage spaces for knick-knacks.
Boot Space: While the Etios Cross has a large cabin, the boot capacity is limited to 251 litres. You can pack in 2 strolley bags along with a shoulder bag and two carry-bags into the boot. For more luggage, you will have to make use of the rear parcel shelf but that may obstruct vision while reversing. Not to forget that the Cross also has functional roof-rails to carry luggage up to a whopping 50 kgs. So in totality we can assume that the Cross can carry more luggage than a mid-sized sedan if the need arises!
Engine refinement and ride quality have always been Toyota’s forte and the Etios Cross is no exception to that. We were offered the top spec diesel (1364cc CRDI) which generates a respectable 68PS of max power with 170nm of torque. The refined diesel engine has a buttery torque spread with the turbo kicking in at close to 1800 rpm and though the car is not very quick on flat out acceleration, it achieves the 100kmph mark in a little over 15 seconds. This is a surefooted car that delivers a fine balance of engine power and driving dynamics with outstanding fuel economy. The engine and road noise is fairly audible in the cabin at high speeds but it is not disturbing unless you roll down the windows.
The Etios Cross is at bliss while cruising between 100 to 120 kmph in 5th gear. The gear shifts too are slick and precise though the clutch feels slightly heavy at times. The Cross also offers a very absorbent and settled ride by shielding occupants from jerks and bumps even while being driven on rough surfaces at moderately high speeds. The steering is precise, handling is very predictable and grip levels are good even on wet surfaces. Similarly, straight line stability is superlative and braking is aided by ABS and EBD. On the safety front while ABS & EBD is standard across the range, the top spec diesel variant comes with dual SRS air bags also.
In short, the Cross is extremely driveable in the city as well as on the highways with its smooth and progressive power delivery, impressive ride quality and decent driving dynamics. However, during night driving i found the 60/55 watts headlights & 24 watt fog lamps grossly inadequate. Similarly the horn too sounded very meek. Toyota should consider an upgrade in both these parameters at the earliest.
Fuel Economy: The Company claimed fuel efficiency figures are 23.59 kmpl under test conditions. However, in real world driving conditions the Cross managed to deliver a commendable figure of 20.58 kmpl. And this was under mixed driving conditions which included driving in start-n-stop traffic of Mumbai, then cruising on the expressway and later driving into rain lashed Chorla ghat only to be again caught in heavy festive traffic in Goa. And all this with 3 adults and their luggage in stow. Therefore, with a 45 litre diesel tank, a full tank highway run close to 900 kms seems to be a genuine possibility!
Service Intervals: For the Etios Cross Diesel, service intervals are 10,000kms or 12 months whichever is earlier. Similarly, regular servicing costs are well under Rs.5000/- making it very affordable to maintain in the long run.
The name Etios is derived from the Greek word ‘Ethos’ which means spirit, character and ideas and the Etios Cross does live up to its name. Though the car may feel dated in some areas, Toyota has managed to provide a compact crossover with an SUV aura that not only drives well but also offers a plush ride, outstanding fuel economy and low maintenance costs all of which are decisive factors while buying a car in the family. That coupled with a 3 year/1 Lac kms standard warranty puts the mind at ease. And while the Avventura and i20 Active are worthy contenders, we all know about Toyota’s emphasis on Quality, Durablitity and Reliability which makes ownership of any Toyota vehicle a delightful experience. At Rs. 9.52 lakhs (on-road in Mumbai/Oct 2015) for the fully loaded diesel variant, we give the Etios Cross a much deserved ‘Thumbs-up’.
|Engine||Petrol – 4-Cylinder 16V, DOHC||Petrol – 4-Cylinder 16V, DOHC||Diesel 4-Cylinder 8V, SOHC,D-4D|
|Power (Ps @ RPM)||80 Ps @ 5600 RPM||90 Ps @ 5600 RPM||68 Ps @ 3800 RPM|
|Torque (Nm @ RPM)||104 Nm @ 3100 RPM||132 Nm @ 3000 RPM||170 Nm @ 1800-2400 RPM|
|Transmission||5-Speed Manual||5-Speed Manual||5-Speed Manual|
|Fuel Efficiency (kmpl)||–||–||–|
|Overall Length x Width x Height (mm)||3895 x 1735 x 1555|
|Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres)||45|
|Turning Circle Radius (m)||4.8|
|Boot Space (Litres)||251|
|Tyre||185 / 60 R15|
Ex-showroom Prices Delhi on 15th October 2015
Competition Basket (Which other models to consider)
Volkswagen Cross Polo, Hyundai i20 Active, Ford EcoSport,