The Indian-made Toyota Etios has finally arrived in South Africa. This vehicle replaces our old and trusty friend - the reliable and affordable Toyota Tazz hatchback of yester-year. With more than 2000 engineers having been involved in the development of the Etios over the past five years, Toyota is confident that their newest B-segment offering will strike the best balance between purchase price, running costs, performance and specifications.
The Toyota Etios gets is name from the Greek word “Ethos” meaning spirit, character and ideals. This vehicle has been carefully thought-out and boasts a number 'biggest' and 'bests' in its class. It comes in both hatchback and sedan body styles and offers space (biggest in its class), pace (largest engine capacity in its price segment), kit (according to Toyota - all the essentials are included) and cost (from just R115 800). From the front the Etios is innately new-generation Toyota and has the same smile-shaped grille that can be seen across the new Toyota product range. There are twin bonnet creases which add a touch of character and two trim levels available – Xi and Xs. Colour-coded bumpers and 14 inch steel wheels are included with both trim levels, while the Xs range additionally includes colour-coded door handles and grille as well as chrome accents on the outside of the car. The Etios sedan has a longer wheelbase than the hatch and a huge boot (biggest in its class) rated at 595 litres. The five-door hatch features a truncated rear and looks a bit like its older brother, the RunX, at the back.
Inside generous dimensions as well as intelligently designed seats make the Etios capable of comfortably accommodating five people with a claimed leg clearance of 160 mm. Further contributing to this sense of spaciousness is the near flat rear floor with minimal intrusion from the transmission tunnel. There is a 13 litre glove box - with a built-in cooling function, no fewer than seven one-litre-sized cup holders and a massive 595 litre boot (in the Sedan version). The hatchback's rear seats are foldable which further extends the versatility of the boot area. Standard features include power steering, air-conditioning, manual headlamp leveling, tilt-adjustable steering and, on the XS model, remote central locking and electric windows. There is also a range of accessories available as optional extras and these include protective mouldings, a selection of seat covers and stereo systems, as well as a Bluetooth kit.
All Etios models are powered by a 16 Valve 1,5 litre petrol engine that develops at 66 kW and 132 Nm of torque. Power is pushed to the wheels through a five-speed manual transmission and top speed is rated at 165 km/h, with a 0-100 km/h sprint of 11.3 seconds. Carbon dioxide emissions are set at 140 g/km for the hatch and 138 g/km for the sedan.
One the safety side, the Toyota Etios is equipped with Supplemental Restraint System front airbags (for driver and front passenger) and Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). On the security side of things an immobiliser is standard across the range, as are child protection locks on all rear doors.
If you're looking at buying a vehicle in South Africa's fast growing B-segment class, the Toyota Etios is well worth a test drive. It offers good value-for-money and fares well alongside its competitors (Ford Figo, VW Vivo, Suzuki Swift and the new Chevrolet Spark). If the old Tazz is anything to go by, the Etios has big shoes to fill, but judging by its overall package offering, this vehicle is well on its way to becoming another South African favourite. Pricing starts at R115 800 and includes a two year/30 000km service plan and a three year/100 000km warranty. (Prices are subject to change according to various factors so please consult your dealer for the latest price.)