If you've been following automotive news from the country lately, you would be aware of the facelifted Etios Platinum being launched. No, it's not significantly new, although the company wants you to believe it is. This is the fourth update to the Etios range in last five years or so, which could mean two things – Etios is a hotbed for new technology introduction or else the model just hasn't been able to convince enough potential customers. The latter reason, as most of you would know seems more realistic.
So what has Toyota changed in the new Etios really? We know the Etios wasn't received well in the market due to its bland design and lack of features. It would seem that with constant updations and a vast amount of learning from customer feedback, Toyota would've made some crucial changes. Time to find out what the latest Etios brings to the table.
The design changes on the Etios and the Etios Liva are mild, at best, even if one were to compare it with the previous iteration. Even if parked next to the original Etios, the new one comes across as a minor redesign effort. There's a new bumper, fog lamps with chrome-surrounds and a new 'V'-shaped grille. The rear only features a redesigned bumpers and a bootlid integrated spoiler on the Etios. There's also a new set of 15-inch diamond-cut alloys, which quite honestly, is the best-looking part of the exterior changes.
All these changes, when combined give the Etios an incremental improvement in the looks department. Problem is, almost everything else in the competition looks much more modern and better, despite conforming to the challenge of staying under four metres, which the Etios doesn't confirm too. While it is a good thing to have more space by having a four-metre plus car, being considered a part of a lower segment might not be a very comforting idea. All said and done, the new Etios Platinum surely looks better than the outgoing version but it might not be enough of a change to turn around the fortunes of the car.
Inside the cabin, Toyota has made an effort to add in a bit of premium feel in the form of better and glossy surfaces and new upholstery colour options. The company also claims a reduction in the NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), which is a welcome change since the Etios cabin, especially in the diesel variant was quite noisy.
The engines remain unchanged on the cars as the familiar 1.5 L petrol and 1.4 L diesel engines continue to power the Etios. Toyota did consider an AMT but found it to be less reliable and high on maintenance. A torque convertor automatic would've pushed the cost beyond the competitive zone so that wasn't used either. Hence, the transmission too remains unchanged, bringing about almost no difference to the way the Etios Platinum would drive viz-a-viz the outgoing version. There have been some changes made to the suspension tuning but we can't comment on the difference it makes till we drive the vehicle.
While consumer-feedback has been one of the drivers of the changes in the new model, the centrally-located instrument cluster surprisingly continues to sit at the top of the centre-console. Not only is it inconvenient, it comes across as a pure cost-control exercise. The design, however, has been updated for the same, making it look better than earlier but once again it isn't in the league of a Hyundai Xcent or a Ford Aspire.
One commendable thing Toyota has done on the Etios is in the safety department. While front dual-airbags were have been a standard offering on the Etios for a while, the company has now thrown in ABS as standard too. In a market where many companies haven't been forthcoming to add safety features, Toyota deserves appreciation for the work done here.
The Toyota Etios Platinum is a good example of Indian engineers at the company taking in consumer feedback and making the required changes. Four updates in about five years also reflect the willingness of Toyota India to offer its consumers with an improved experience. However, the extent of this update is too small to make any significant difference to the consumer-appeal of the Etios or the Etios Liva. The Etios in its latest form already looks dated with no changes to the hard-points of the vehicle. In a market, where companies are changing the driving and interactive experience of a vehicle every couple of years, the latest introductions from Toyota seem to be a case of too little, too late. The new Liva range is priced between Rs 5.24 lakh to Rs 7.44 lakh, ex-showroom, Mumbai. The Etios Platinum has been launched between Rs. 7.96 lakh to Rs. 8.87 lakh, ex-showroom, Mumbai.