Let’s face it South African consumers have taken a pummelling of late. Economic stress is at an all-time high and the general cost of living is really beginning to take its toll (pun intended).
Against this backdrop the motor industry has seen the meteoric rise of the Sub-B segment of the market as customer demands for affordably priced, practical transportation increases by the day. Toyota has answered that call with the all-new Etios. A vehicle that has it all – space (biggest in class), pace (largest capacity engine in its price segment), kit (everything you need) and cost (from just R115 800). The newcomer also adds that elusive something extra – personality. That’s why the name “Etios” is so appropriate. It’s based on the Greek word “Ethos” meaning spirit, character, and ideals.
As Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice President Toyota SA Sales and Marketing, is at pains to point out: “The Etios was conceived after some of the most extensive market research ever conducted in South Africa by a motor company. We observed every aspect of car ownership from the standpoint of the customer including general functions, performance, QDR (Quality, Durability, Reliability), and equipment. From there, we polished and enhanced the product offering and performance aspects that were truly needed, and eliminated any excessive specifications. As a result, we were able to strike the best balance between initial purchase price, running cost, performance and specification, which are all essential to a quality, affordable, “value for money” vehicle. After all, the Tazz left us with very big shoes to fill.”
A smile never goes out of style
In creating the Etios, the designer was faced with a daunting set of criteria:
- Its looks had to appeal to as wide an audience as possible;
- At the same time it still had to be visually exciting;
- Practicality as a true five-seater family car was a non-negotiable – form had to follow function.
The all-new Toyota Etios fulfills this brief to a tee. Adopting the design philosophy of bold simplicity the newcomer is neatly proportioned and balanced in both hatch and sedan guise, while still managing to be extremely accommodating in the space department – both the sedan and hatch are genuine five-seaters.
Thanks to a long wheelbase which is tailored to suit each body type (2460mm for the hatch and 2550mm for the sedan), the Etios is not handicapped by long overhangs and the sedan in particular avoids the ‘tacked-on-tail’ look that aesthetically sabotages so many of its rivals – this despite the fact that it has far and away the biggest boot (595 L) in its class. The five-door hatch features a truncated rear that has more than a hint of the beloved RunX to it.
To round off the simplistic shape, the Etios has just a few designer touches:
- The Etios grille – shaped like a smile of course, this reflects the new family face of Toyota;
- Twin prominent bonnet creases add a touch of character;
- An upswept character line follows the contours of the doors and infuses the design with dynamism.
Exterior ornamentation is used with classic restraint and is limited to chrome garnishing on the colour-coded grille as well as the hatch or boot lid (as in the case of the sedan) of XS models. Other external XS markers are the colour-coded door handles and mirrors, as well as the front fog lights. XS hatch models also come standard with a rear window wash/wipe system. Both Xi and XS variants feature 14-inch steel wheels shod with wheel caps.
Give us a big smile now!
“… the Etios’ interior certainly will bowl you over, not least because of the sheer space on offer. There is not a shadow of a doubt that the Etios is the most comfortable car in its class.” (Autocar India)
When it comes to people- and luggage-carrying capacity, the Etios plays its strongest trump card. Both the hatch and the sedan are paragons of roominess, capable of transporting five adults in sublime comfort. Generous dimensions play their part, but so does intelligent seat design. Not only are the front, bucket-type seats with integrated headrests ergonomically engineered to combat fatigue during long-distance drives, they’re also specially designed to eke out as much legroom as possible – both the sedan and hatch offer rear leg clearance of 160mm.
Ditto the back seat which is specially engineered with an extra wide squab to easily accommodate three people. (In the case of the hatchback version, the rear seat is foldable to extend the versatility of the cargo area.) Further contributing to this sense of spaciousness is the near flat rear floor with minimal intrusion from the transmission tunnel.
It’s not just people that are well catered for in the Etios, so is their luggage and other knickknaks. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the Etios’s spatial attractions:
- 13-litre glove box – big enough to swallow a handbag or even a laptop;
- Seven 1-litre-sized cup holders;
- Driver and front passenger door pockets;
- The sedan has a ridiculously cavernous 595-litre boot – by far the biggest of any of the compact saloons currently on sale.
Unleash your inner smile
Move indoors, slip behind the sporty three-spoke steering wheel and you’ll be struck by the cockpit-like feel that is created courtesy of the central instrument cluster which is angled towards the driver. The white back lighting for the semi-circular dials coupled with the three-dimensional LED graphics make a bold style statement and require only minimal eye movement in pursuit of excellent road visibility.
Ditto the twin, vertically-stacked air conditioning vents which also have some very practical applications. They are positioned in such a way to prevent the driver’s arm or the steering wheel from interfering with the air flow. Also, the top vent is aimed directly at the rear. This in combination with the strong throw of the air conditioning means that the back seat area is chilled within seconds. It’s worth mentioning that the enormous glove box has a built-in cooling function that’s more than up to the task of storing cool drinks for everyone on board.
At a glance, here are some of the comfort and convenience features that are sure to put a smile on your dial:
- Electric power steering;
- Remote central locking (XS only);
- Tilt-adjustable steering column;
- Air conditioning with clean air filter;
- Glove box with cooling function;
- Electric front and rear windows (XS only);
- Accessory socket;
- Manual headlamp levelling system;
- Rear window demister (XS only);
- Tachometer (XS only).
Miles of Smiles
A 66kW 1.5-liter in-line 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve (2NR-FE) petrol engine featuring all-aluminium cylinder blocks has been developed from scratch and adapted to meet the specific needs of the South African market. Mated to a five-speed manual transmission, excellent fuel efficiency and drivability are the hallmarks of this drivetrain combination. The combined fuel consumption figures bear this out with the Etios returning just 5,9 L/100km and 6,0 L/100km for the sedan and hatch respectively. Engine output characteristics have been optimised with the emphasis on low speed torque (132Nm at 3000rpm) and this too is reflected in the very respectable 0-100km/h sprint which the Etios dispatches in just 11,3 seconds. Maximum speed is pegged at 165km/h.
Some other technical highlights:
- Standing oil jet technology for piston cooling.
- Forged crankshaft and connecting rod to achieve excellent durability.
- A resin intake manifold is adopted, with the aim of realising a lightweight structure.
- Electronically controlled throttle to achieve optimal engine management at all times and enhance fuel efficiency and drivability.
- A hydraulic compound-type engine mount is used for the right engine mount to achieve both excellent ride comfort and low vibration when idling.
- An engine mount with a dynamic damper is adopted for the left engine mount to reduce gear noise, thus achieving low noise and vibration during driving.
- Suspension system tuned to achieve a supple, mild ride comfort that reliably traces the bumps in the road surface. A Macpherson strut suspension is adopted for the front suspension. Shock absorber anti-dust performance is enhanced, which in turn benefits shock absorber longevity in dusty regions. A torsion beam suspension is adopted for the rear suspension. Luggage compartment width has been expanded by positioning the suspension towards the outside, also in consideration to utility. A reinforcement brace is utilised for the rear suspension to ensure handling stability.
- Fuel consumption is improved by adopting an EPS (Electric Power Steering) system (as compared to models equipped with conventional hydraulic power steering systems).
- 3-way catalyst technology is adopted in consideration for the environment, thus realising low CO2 emissions – 140 g/km for the hatch and 138 g/km for the sedan.
Good things come to those who smile
With such high stakes in the B-segment Toyota has definitely played it safe with the new Etios. ABS (Anti-lock Brake System) with EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution) is equipped as standard on all models as are SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) airbags which are adopted for the driver and front passenger.
On the security front, an immobiliser is standard across the range, as are child protection locks on the rear doors and a LED high-mount stop lamp. XS models are equipped with remote central locking.
A smile costs nothing (well almost nothing)
Etios 1.5 HB Xi – R115 800;
Etios 1.5 HB Xs – R120 900;
Etios 1.5 SD Xi – R121 800;
Etios 1.5 SD Xs – R126 600.
There is a comprehensive range of accessories available for the new Etios including a body kit, protective mouldings, a selection of seat covers and stereo systems as well as carpet overlay sets and a Bluetooth kit to name just a few of the items. For a full list of approved aftermarket items, please see the Accessories document in the press kit.
All new Etios models come with a two-year/30 000 km Service Plan included in the purchase price (service intervals are every 10 000 km), along with Toyota’s comprehensive three-year/100 000 km warranty.
The new Etios is supported by the ToyotaCare Roadside Assistance Programme and entitles customers to 24 hour roadside assistance, ensuring ultimate peace-of-mind motoring.