Etios: Mass Class

The Etios marks Toyota’s entry into the volume segment in India

Published: Jan 25, 2011
Etios: Mass Class
Image: Overdrive

It couldn’t have escaped notice that despite being a relative minnow (Maruti sells 16 times as many cars), Toyota commands incredible brand equity in India. For good reason: Its research-oriented approach has ensured not a single dud in a decade.  

Etios marks Toyota’s entry into the volume segment in India.

The car looks unimaginative, with plain conservative lines that are typical of Toyota. Did you ever stick a Toyota poster on your wall? The best part is the nose with the chromed upper slat of the grille and vertical ribs in the bonnet. Toyota claims the Etios was designed to be a sedan first and then a hatch so the boot doesn’t look like a cut-paste afterthought. Unlike the Swift Dzire, the boot is well integrated.

Inside, it is plain stylistically but scores on practicality. There’s the glove box that can hold five half-litre bottles, and not at the cost of a passenger airbag. But the highlight is the steering wheel — a flat-bottomed sporty one with nice meaty grips in the 10-to-2 position (think Audi R8!). For those looking for an entry-level sedan the highlight will be the rear seat, which liberates an amazing amount of room.

There is an issue: A lot of road noise gets transferred to the cabin, particularly of water against the undercarriage.

The Etios felt sure-footed with good mechanical grip. The suspension is soft, which leads to a fair bit of body roll. It has an Automotive Research Association of India certified fuel efficiency of 17.6 kmpl. All will hinge on pricing and Toyota is making no bones about tagetting Swift Dzire. No matter how strong its brand equity, there are no plans to charge a premium for the Toyota badge. That means a starting price of under Rs. 5.5 lakh for the base ‘J’ version going up to Rs. 6.5 lakh for the fully loaded ‘VX’. If our predictions are right, Toyota will have no problem shifting every single one of the 70,000 cars planned in the first year.

Courtesy: Overdrive

(This story appears in the 28 January, 2011 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Kanakasabhai

    It is the story of many analysts praising a car and auto magazines awarding the best car of the year. The car is yet to come in the market and 70,000 people booked it without test driving and even seeing it. Toyota is indeed a great company as it has booked 70,000 cars and has 6 months waiting before showing it in show rooms in the first week of Jan. 2010. With the latest recall of 1.3 m cars and the prev. recall of 1m. cars inclg. Lexus, the quality of down market car of Etios should be top class. All analysts fail in only one thing - comparing Etios with Swift Dezire. While Etios runs on petrol, the mass selling Dezire runs on diesel - its petrol sibling hardly sells.

    on Jan 26, 2011
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