The Toyota Etios Liva marks the Japanese car manufacturer’s foray into the fiercely competitive and crowded Indian small car segment. The Etios Liva is the most inexpensive Toyota on offer in the Indian market and competes with the likes of Hyundai i20, Volkswagen Polo, Ford Figo and the hot selling Maruti Swift.
The base petrol variant of the Toyota Etios Liva is priced at Rs 4.77 lakh and goes up to Rs 6.26 lakh for the top 1.5-litre in Sportz trim. The base diesel comes with the price tag of Rs 5.85 lakh and goes up to Rs 6.73 lakh for the top 1.4 litre Sportz variant. All prices are ex-showroom Kolkata. The Toyota Etios Liva is available in six petrol and four diesel variants and comes in seven colour options – Classic Grey, Symphony Silver, Celestial Black, White, Vermilion Red, Harmony Beige and Ultramarine Blue.
We got behind the wheel of the top-of-the-line Toyota Etios Liva 1.2 petrol V and 1.4 diesel GD and took it around town. Read on to find out how they fared.
Design & Engineering
The Toyota Etios Liva is a very fresh looking car. From the front, the Liva looks identical to its Etios sedan road sibling. Recently Toyota has made certain subtle changes on the exterior which led to the Liva getting a refreshed front grille, with little protrusions along the vertical slats giving it a slightly sporty appearance. Similar protrusions can also be noticed on the revamped tail light clusters. The ORVMs have lost their boxy appearance and now look sleeker which blends much better with the overall design of the Liva.
Take a walk along the side and you would find nice clean flowing lines. The rear is perhaps the most interesting part of the Liva and lends a sporty appearance to the hatchback.
The suspension architecture is the same as most hatchbacks in the country. It comprises of McPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear. The 1.4 litre diesel engine doing duty on the Liva is the same diesel motor that also powers the Etios sedan in the same state of tune. In fact, the same D 4D engine also does duty on the Toyota Corolla Altis and produces more power.
The top end trim that we tested also comes equipped with get built in turn indicators, rear wash and wiper and 12 spoke alloy wheels.
Interiors & Comfort
The wide-opening doors of the Toyota Etios Liva ensure that getting in and out of the car is fairly easy. Once you step inside the Liva, you will be pleasantly surprised by its generous interior space. The front seats, which are identical to those in the Etios sedan, offer good overall support. The rear seat has decent under-thigh support and can genuinely seat three adults.
The Toyota Liva also comes with a decent 251 litre of boot space. You do have the option to fold down the rear bench but there is no split. However, weekend travel with light luggage wouldn’t prove worrisome.
The Liva’s dashboard is carried over from the Etios sedan, so it gets centrally mounted instruments with blue backlight which although slightly unconventionally placed are still easy to read. The quality of plastics used is also identical to that of the Etios sedan and aren’t very great in terms of look and feel. Although the selection of the interior colour to dual tone (avaiable only on the top trim) from the earlier dark grey is a refreshing change and has enhanced the look of the cabin.
The Toyota Etios Liva G, GD and V trim comes equipped with a factory fitted 2 DIN music system. While the quality of the music system seemed slightly better than that of the Chevrolet U-VA, however it doesn't quite matches the quality of the factory fitted Blaupunkt system which comes with the Ford Figo.
Features like air conditioning with heater, electric power steering with tilt function, digital trip meter, 7 bottle holders and remote fuel lid and tailgate opener comes as standard across model range.
The top variant that we tested came with tachometer and rear defogger. The top petrol trim also gets steering mounted audio controls which is absent in the diesel.
Performance & Handling
Under the hood of the Toyota Etios petrol is a 4-cylinder 1.2 litre motor that delivers 80PS of maximum power at 5600rpm and 104Nm of peak torque at 3100rpm. While doing duty on the Toyota Etios diesel is the same 1.4 litre engine in similar state of tune that also powers the Etios sedan. The diesel motor puts out 68PS of maximum power at 3800rpm and 170Nm of peak torque between 1800 to 2400rpm. Both the engines are mated to a 5-speed manual transmission.
Toyota has done a neat job with the suspension set up of the Etios Liva. The tuning looks apt for handling Indian road conditions. The ride quality is good and even on rough patches, the Liva manages to sail over the potholes quite effortlessly without too much jerks and jolts being felt inside the passenger compartment.
Further adding to the list of merits are the smooth gear shifts, light clutch and feather light steering. The electrically assisted steering feels super light and maneuvering the Liva through city traffic is as simple as a walk in the park.
However, the NVH level in the Toyota Etios Liva is not very refined. While driving down the road one would constantly hear outside noise filtering into the cabin. There is still a lot of room for improvement in this regard.
Having driven the petrol and the diesel variants almost back-to-back, I must admit that it was much more fun to drive the diesel Liva. The engine feels more powerful and the 170Nm of peak torque output can be felt from almost as low as 1800rpm. Our interaction with the representatives of the local Toyota dealership revealed that that they have also received similar feedback from the customers who have test driven both the variants.
Etios Liva Petrol (left) and Etios Liva Diesel engine
The Toyota Etios Liva petrol boasts of an ARAI ratified fuel efficiency of 17.71kmpl and although we didn’t get an opportunity to perform a proper mileage test, however, it certainly wouldn’t be possible to achieve this figure in real world conditions. As per our assumption, the Toyota Etios Liva petrol should be able to deliver around 12kmpl with AC in city conditions. While cruising on the highway, expect around 15kmpl.
On the other hand, the Toyota Etios Liva diesel claims an ARAI ratified mileage of 23.59kmpl. Expect the Etios Liva diesel to deliver around 16kmpl within the city and between 18 to 19kmpl on the highway.
Basic safety features like engine immobilizer and door ajar warning comes as standard across the entire Etios Liva model range. The Etios Liva G, GD and V variants comes equipped with keyless entry. Interestingly, Toyota has also provided a number of safety features as cost options. Say for instance, dual SRS airbags is available as a cost option on the G, V and GD variants. And while ABS with EBD comes as standard in the JD and GD variants, it has been provided as a cost option on the G and V variants. In a way, it’s not such a bad thing as the car buyer has the independence to choose whether they are willing to shell out some extra cash for enhancing the safety quotient of the vehicle. In a price sensitive market like India, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if many would want to forgo having the dual SRS airbag and save some cash in the bargain.
With the Liva, Japanese car manufacturer Toyota has offered a very competent and practical city car. The Liva has everything that a typical small car buyer would desire – spacious cabin, light controls, good ride quality and decent equipment levels. The Liva is also fuel efficient offering best in class ARAI ratified mileage of 17.71kmpl (petrol) and 23.59kmpl (diesel). And although Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai are two really hot brand names in the small car segment, however, Toyota also has a global reputation as a brand and has a long presence in the Indian market. So if you look at the Etios Liva as a complete package, I think it fares well. And between the petrol and diesel, the latter takes the cake purely on the basis of drivability.