THE ETIOS - HERE TO MAKE YOU SMILE
Racking up a total of 24 523 sales since its launch in May 2012, the Toyota Etios is now firmly entrenched as a best-seller on the South African market. To celebrate this one-year milestone, Toyota has introduced a raft of upgrades for 2013.
There are detailed alterations in the ‘fine print’, most of which focus on giving the 2013 Etios a more quality feel. Up front there is a new grille design; as before it remains black for the Xi models while the Xs models get a chrome finish.
Other visual tweaks include body colour door mirrors and handles across the range (currently Xi models have black colour coding) as well as a new exterior mirror. Not only is this feature aesthetically more flattering but the new design also enhances aerodynamic performance – aero stabilising fins on the outer mirror bases in particular contribute to ensuring handling stability and reducing wind noise.
The rear end has also been refreshed courtesy of a new tail lamp design for both the hatch as well as the sedan.
Open the doors of the top-end Xs model in either hatch or sedan and you’ll notice that substantial improvements have been made in the seating department. The front seats have height adjustment for the driver’s side, additional cushioning, lots of under-thigh support and feature adjustable headrests. (The all-in-one front seats with integrated fixed headrests remain on the Xi models.)
Another nice-to-have feature that has now been incorporated onto the standard menu for Xs variants is the Auto Up electric window function on the driver’s door.
Move to the rear and again, you are greeted by a new-found plushness thanks to a re-profiled seat design. In addition, the rear seats get bigger fixed headrests. Other items that lift the ambience on both Xi and Xs grades include the icy blue backlighting for the central instrument cluster. There’s also an all-new 2-DIN Toyota audio system fitted as standard to Xs models. It’s worth noting that Xi variants now get pre-wiring for door speakers as well as instrument panel speakers. An antenna pole is a standard fitment across the range.
The ventilation controls on the Xs grade have been replaced by solid knobs that have chrome finishing and a pleasantly tactile feel. Ditto the gear lever knob which is more in keeping with the car’s character.
Beneath the finery is the same 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder mill (coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission) punching out 66 kW at 5 600 rpm and 132 Nm of torque at 3 000 rpm endowing the Etios with a class-leading sub-11-second sprint time to 100 km/h. Fuel economy is pegged at 5,9 L / 100 km for the sedan and 6 L / 100 km for the hatch in the combined cycle.
A special focus was given to lowering in-cabin noise and what the new Etios gets is an enhanced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) package. This includes a switch from rubber engine mounts to more refined, sound-absorbing hydraulic mounts. The silencer has been modified for better NVH as well, and the damper settings have been fine-tuned to filter out suspension noise and improve ride quality. The net result is that the new Etios range is a lot quieter than before.
As Glenn Crompton, Vice President of Marketing, points out: “Toyota’s commitment to engineering precision and kaizen, or continuous improvement, is evident throughout the Etios.
“With a class-leading 1.5-litre engine, generous spec and safety kit, affordable price tag and now some extra gloss thanks to its 2013 rework, you can’t beat it as the consummate all-rounder.”