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Toyota Etios and Liva diesel review
Driven December 2011
If you’re serious about selling cars in India, don’t leave out the diesel variant. And Toyota seems to have got this. The Etios sedan petrol has been doing good numbers and this new diesel engine should help it along nicely up the sales charts. We went to Bengaluru to drive the new Etios and the Liva diesel to see if the competition has anything to worry about.
The D-4D powerplant is basically the 1.4-litre 4-cylinder unit from the Altis minus the VGT (variable geometry turbine). It makes 67bhp and 170Nm. For a car that weighs 980kg, it should suffice. First up, the Liva. Start it up and there’s that distinct diesel clatter. And the drone only gets louder as the revs climb. It’s a smooth engine, but the clatter can get intrusive at higher revs. Better sound deadening would have done a world of good here.
The DDIS motors in the Swift do far better on NVH. But the drive is not too bad. There’s a hint of turbo lag, but past 2000rpm, the Liva picks up and makes decent progress. It isn’t one of the quickest hatches around, but it doesn’t feel underpowered either. It’s adequate for most situations. What you do get in spades is efficiency. Toyota claims 23.59kpl (ARAI figure) for both the Etios and the Liva. We’ll wait until we do our own tests.
The Etios feels better damped. It doesn’t feel as clattery as the Liva. It also feels a wee bit faster. Wait till we V-Box it. Both cars will do just fine for regular Joe motoring, but to go fast, you really have to work the engine and the ’box.
Both cars are spacious and comfortable. They ride well and can take bad roads without batting an eyelid. They handle quite decently too. We prefer the Liva for its sensible proportions and because it looks far better than the Etios. Finished in ultra-marine blue, the Liva looks quite attractive. We highly recommend the optional body kit. Slap on some good alloys and you’re sorted in the looks department.
The Liva is now only available in one trim – there’s power steering, aircon, power windows, ABS and central locking. Airbags optional. It should’ve got rear wash/wipe too.
The Etios is out in three trim levels and carries over equipment from its petrol counterpart. So you get that garish red-and-black interior on the top-end variant. No such problems on the Liva though, which is available with a black-and-grey interior.
Will it silence the competition? Toyota’s package has potential. The brand enjoys lots of respect in India and has a reputation for producing reliable workhorses. Prices are yet to be announced, but Toyota is hinting at Swift-like pricing for the Liva – if it undercuts the Swift, it’ll see the money, honey.