The Etios from Toyota Kirloskar Motor has been around since 2010 and selling in decent numbers. While it didn’t fare too well as a family car, it has been the default choice with the taxi-fleet segment. Its immense popularity with cab operators is a validation of its low running costs and high dependability. Though it has received mild updates from time to time, family car buyers looked elsewhere probably due to its simplistic design and rather utilitarian cabin.
However, things are now set to change for the better with the introduction of Etios Platinum – a much desired face lift. Though the Platinum comes at a nominal price hike, the car now looks attractive and the cabin feels vibrant too. So while family buyers can upgrade to the premium looking Etios Platinum, cab operators will still have the older Etios sedan reserved for them.
Toyota offered us the top-end diesel variant for a day and we did a road-test despite the heavy rain, pothole ridden roads and never ending traffic woes. But on second thoughts, these are actual conditions where most urban consumers will be driving their cars.
# # # EXTERIOR # # #
Look at the car head-on and you will notice an entirely new face that looks fresh and youthful. While Toyota has retained the old headlights, the wing-shaped grille and angular bumper is new. Measured doses of chrome in the grille and around the fog lamps give it a premium feel, while black moulds in the bumper look tough and sporty.
As you move to the sides, you will realise that nothing except the mirrors have changed. The rear too hasn’t been worked upon except for repositioning the chrome garnish to the centre and subtle changes to the rear bumper which are not really noticeable.
However, on the whole the car now looks modern especially from the front. Something that really works in favour of the Etios sedan is its size. It is a well proportioned family sedan unlike the sub-4 metre sedans which appear compressed & stubby. Visually the dimensions of the car were always pleasing to the eye; it was the styling that was bland which now stands largely corrected.
# # # INTERIOR # # #
A spacious cabin has been its forte, and now the Etios Platinum just takes the game forward with an ivory coloured theme which looks rich and lively. The top of the dashboard is finished in black which ensures that there are no reflections on the windscreen while driving. Rest of the cabin including the seat fabric and door trim are in shades of ivory. Seats are supremely comfortable with the rear seats now getting 3 adjustable & removable headrests and a centre arm-rest too. The seat cushioning is perfect, under-thigh support is decent and all 5 occupants get seat-belts, thus making long highway trips even more comfortable and safer.
On the downside, the instrument cluster is still placed in the centre which feels unconventional and mildly inconvenient too. The information available on the display is again too basic in comparison with other new generation cars. The 6 speaker audio system is of average quality. While many cars are now equipped with a plethora of controls on the steering wheel including telephony, i prefer the Etios steering with minimalist audio controls. In spite of being a upgrade, the Platinum loses out on the Smart-Link 7 inch infotainment system which came as stock equipment in the 2015 Xclusive edition. And while this is a big omission, the platinum retains the jumbo 13 litre cooled glove-box which comes in very handy on long journeys to keep water bottles and cold drinks in a pleasantly cooled state.
The Etios also outshines its rivals when it comes to leg room, shoulder room and head room in both rows. The cabin is wide and floor is nearly flat so three passengers can comfortably sit in the rear seat without jostling for space. And as mentioned earlier, all 3 passengers get seat belts and adjustable/removable headrests too. The front seats get pre-tensioner & force limiter seat belts which minimize impact to the chest in the event of a collision.
For child safety, Etios Platinum is equipped with dual ISOFIX child seat locks which are a first in the segment. Similarly, Dual Air bags and ABS with EBD is now standard across all variants.
# # # DRIVE & PERFORMANCE # # #
The Etios is not a low slung sedan, therefore ingress and egress is much easier – especially for the elderly. Settling into a comfortable driving posture is not difficult either, thanks to the height adjustable driver seat and tilt adjustable steering wheel. Visibility from the windscreen and windows is excellent and this makes driving less stressful.
Toyota has retained the same engine and transmission so the car drives much like its predecessor.
The 1.4 litre diesel engine is a work-horse and is strong on performance and mileage. Though it takes more than 15 seconds to reach the 100 kmph mark, it cruises effortlessly thereafter. TKM has worked on the clutch and made it much lighter to operate which is a boon in normal city driving conditions. Suspension too feels stiffened for high speed stability and the car soaks up most undulations without losing its composure. The brake pedal feels slightly spongy initially but firms up during hard braking which is spot-on; thanks to the ABS with EBD which is standard across all variants.
Toyota claims that the cabin is now quieter and it does feel so especially while idling but as the engine is revved, the gravelly note of the Toyota engine seeps in but it isn’t annoying at all.
While driving at night, i found the headlights to be under-powered. The stock 60/55w halogen bulbs and the meek horn feel inadequate during night drives, especially on highways. Most owners will have to consider an upgrade. The large single wiper manages to sweep clean the windscreen effectively but sadly it is just a 3-speed unit.
Passenger comfort is top-class in all aspects and occupants will appreciate its ride quality too. The addition of a centre arm-rest and adjustable head-rests add to the comfort quotient. We can safely vouch that the Etios has the most spacious and comfortable cabin in its class.
# # # SAFETY # # #
While the Etios may feel low on modern day features, it scores very high when it comes to safety of its occupants. Dual Airbags and ABS with EBD comes as standard across the range. Secondly, this is the only car in the segment that boasts of dual ISOFIX child seat locks & 3-point seat belts for all 5 occupants. TKM has also reinforced the crumple zones, thereby limiting damage to the cabin in case of accidents.
No wonder the Etios is the only car in its segment to achieve a 4 star safety rating in NCAP crash tests along with winning 3 consecutive J.D. Power Asia Pacific Awards.
# # # BOOT # # #
At 592 litres, the boot of the Etios is massive. It can gobble up loads of luggage which even cars one segment above will find difficult to match. A wide aperture also means that loading and unloading large suitcases will not be a cumbersome task.
# # # FUEL TANK CAPACITY # # #
The Etios gets a fuel tank of 45 litres and while we couldn’t check the fuel economy during our road test, TKM claims a respectable figure of 23.59 kmpl for the diesel variant.
# # # COLOUR OPTIONS # # #
The Etios Platinum is available in 7 colours – Vermilion Red, Classic Grey, Silver Mica Metallic, Harmony Biege, Celestial Black , White & Pearl White.
We were offered the Vermilion Red for review. The shade is classy and paint quality is top notch.
# # # SERVICE INTERVALS # # #
Recommended service interval is 10,000 kms or 12 months, whichever is earlier. For customer convenience Toyota has introduced schemes like Express Maintenance & Toyota Service Value Pack. TKM currently has over 250 sservice centres with pick-up & drop facilities.
# # # WARRANTY # # #
TKM offers a standard warranty of 3 years/ 1 Lakh kms which can be further extended up to 7 years/ 1,40,000 kms. It also offers pan India Roadside Assistance up to 8 years, with the first 3 years being free.
# # # ON-ROAD PRICE (Mumbai) # # #
As on 1st October 2016, the on-road price for the top end Diesel variant (VxD) was Rs.11.20 Lac.
The base variant (GD) was priced at Rs.9.61 Lac.
Below is a quick recap of the Etios Platinum
+ Whats New?
1) New front Grille and Bumper
2) New Ivory theme cabin
3) All new seats with rear seat arm-rest & seat-belts for all 5 occupants
4) Dual ISOFIX seat child seat locks
5) ABS with EBD a part of standard equipment
6) Reinforced crumple zones for enhanced safety
7) Lighter Clutch
8) Better noise insulation
+ The Good
1) Easy Ingress & Egress
2) Spacious & uncluttered Cabin
3) Comfortable seating
4) Excellent Leg room, Head room & Shoulder room
5) Nearly flat rear floor board
6) Cooled Glove-box
7) Powerful air-conditioning
8) Top class safety equipment like Dual Airbags, ABS, EBD, Parking sensors, ISOFIX locks
9) Excellent engine and driveability
10) Huge 592 litre boot space
11) Adequate storage spaces for water bottles, magazines & mobile phones.
+ The Not-So-Good
1) Weak horn & head-lights
2) Single Cabin lamp; no light in glove-box or foot-wells
3) New Optitron Combimeter displays only basic information (misses out on average fuel economy, cruising range, etc.)
4) Rear windows don’t roll down completely
5) Power window & Central locking switches are not back-lit
6) No dead pedal
+ Our Wish List
1) Touch-screen infotainment (2015 Xclusive variant was equipped with it)
2) Centre arm-rest in front row
3) Introduction of an automatic, or at-least an AMT variant.
# # # VERDICT # # #
It is important to understand that the Etios was never designed to win beauty pageants or prove its mettle in the racing arena, but to be an affordable family car that is comfortable, safe and economical to maintain as well. The Platinum marks Toyota’s emphasis on safety over modern day convenience features. Apart from this, the car looks sober, drives well, offers a pleasant ride and comes with the bullet-proof reliability of the Toyota brand. So if you are in the market looking out for a family car that is Platinum on Cabin Comfort, Passenger Safety, Engine performance and Boot Space; then we strongly urge you to walk into a Toyota dealership and test-drive the all new Etios Platinum at the earliest.
+ + + P H O T O G A L L E R Y & W A L K – A R O U N D V I D E O + + +
# # # Walk-around video of the Etios Platinum # # #