Lindt is a premium chocolate maker globally known for its dark chocolates. The texture, the smoothness and the joy of having a Lindt is all down to its consistency and quality. One of the best bitter chocolates that are available today. What if the Swiss chocolate company decides to compete with maybe a Kitkat? A similar situation has occurred in the Indian auto industry too.
Just like Toyota in India got into the mass car segment and introduced the Etios range. Recently, the hatchback and the sedan both got a facelift, we got our hands on the facelifted Liva hatch and we find out how good are they. The Etios Liva's front gets an upgrade. The fascia looks different because of a new front grille. The smiley grille has gone and even the chrome usage has been reduced. The headlamps are the same and even the front bumper and fog lamps remain identical. The side profile of the Etios Liva looks proportionate and compact too. The Liva's trendy colours do add on some glam to its styling, and rear looks stylish as well. The Liva doesn't have unwanted styling elements and is good for someone who needs a subtle looking hatch.
Let's be honest about the fact that not many of us like the interior styling of the instrument panel. The circular air-con vents might be highly effective, but they miss out on the appeal bit and even the central instrument cluster isn't something one will appreciate. The quality of the Etios Liva for the price is acceptable, however not its design. The central instrument cluster has always been no-no for all recently launched cars. In terms of features, the Liva is a well-loaded product.
The Liva's recent upgrade to adjustable headrest was a very good option. This makes the car feel a lot more premium on the inside. The Japanese car maker has changed a lot of things in the Etios family after a delayed customer feedback. The space in the front row is good and even the seats are large enough, however the second row is a bit tight for knee room. There is a lot of stowage space. One can store seven litres of bottles in the Liva alone, which is humongous. Then there is a decent size boot as well. Seating comfort, driving position, access to controls, these are some elements that Toyota well has taken care of.
Now it is time for the engines. First is the 1.2-litre petrol, which will be the most selling engine today as the fuel prices have seen a major dip and petrol has seen a major jump in demand. The engine is quiet and this engine produces about 80bhp of power. Most of the power is available at higher revs, so you need to downshift for an overtake, especially while driving on an highway. Most of the drivers prefer relaxed type of driving then this engine will perfectly suit this requirement. The power produced by the engine is sufficient for city driving and it even returns a decent figure of 12 km per litre in city driving and with highway, the mixed figure is close to 14 km/litre. The five-speed transmission is smooth and has short throws.
The diesel engine of the Etios Liva is a gem. This is a 1.4-litre engine that churns out 67bhp of power. Let us not go by the numbers, once you get behind the wheel you realise how good this engine is. Be in almost any gear, the engine pulls without any hesitation. This is what Toyota's are known for, and this diesel engine has the typical Toyota characteristics, which makes the Japanese auto giant one the best sellers in the world. The oil burner is a bit noisy, however it is highly fuel-efficient too. In city, the Etios Liva returns about 16km/l with ease, while on the highway, the figure is between 19-22km/l depending on your driving condition.
The ride comfort of the Etios Liva is very good. It doesn't feel stiff on bad roads. The suspension absorbs most of the road shocks to give a comfortable ride. However at high speeds, it does feel a bit bouncy if your tyre pressures are incorrect. The handling is good enough. It doesn't have the alacrity like its European competition, but it does a good job. The steering wheel too is light in weight and convenient to drive and park. The driving dynamics are how you get in a Toyota, there is absolutely no compromise.
Let us get this straight, making affordable cars in India is a tough task and so far Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai have been successful. The Etios Liva is a good hatchback to buy and for the price you can expect a little better quality. However, the interior styling could have been better. The biggest USP of this hatchback is the Toyota badge and bullet proof reliability of this Japanese manufacturer. The top-of-the-line variant of the Liva diesel costs about Rs 8 lakhs, there are cars with more features available at this price, but most of them lack the refinement and experience of that Toyota promises. You can't expect the same high Lindt standards for that price, which the Swiss company has set with its other range of chocolates. However, the company will deliver better product than a Cadbury and so is Toyota. They have made a lot of changes in the Etios family, we expect them to sort out the remaining ones too.
Source : MotorOctane