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Toyota's Etios gets a mild makeover


Wait, are you sure this is the right car?’

I asked a seemingly convinced Aditya when he turned up at the shoot location. I’d only just parted with the updated Liva, and I was hoping to see an Etios with decals and spoilers, as is almost mandatory with updates in the country. The changes, as I discovered with much help from Aditya, are subtle and few, but they do help the Etios’ case.


To list the new bits in order, the Etios has new outside rear-view mirrors with turn signal indicators embedded into them, a mildly reworked tail-lamp, a two-tone dashboard and a new multimedia unit. Yes, that sums it all up.


Simply enlisting the new bits is not much use. What’s to like is that Toyota has been listening, if not very attentively, to market feedback. The Etios, even prior to its launch, was a much-hyped product simply because it was the bearer of the Toyota badge, and it was very disappointing when it didn’t turn out to be the mini-Corolla we thought it would be. It’s not that the Etios didn’t feel premium enough – it didn’t feel premium at all. There were no features to boast about, and the interiors were a huge let-down. However, by means of this update, a lot of that is set to change. Step inside and the two-tone (beige, primarily, and dark grey top and bottom) dashboard immediately lends a light feel to the interior, and together with the fairly swanky multimedia unit and the chrome surround on the gear lever shroud, it looks a lot more acceptable as a family car.


While the new dashboard is nice to the touch, the actual quality of plastics used is still quite underwhelming. Odd gaps, flexing surfaces, the odd rattle – these are problems Toyota still hasn’t gotten rid of. Also, the dashboard layout itself is just not contemporary enough, especially when compared to other cars in this segment, and adding more colour to it isn’t a very healthy sign of aging.


The updated Etios is a step in the right direction, but it’s not a giant leap forward.
At Rs 5.46 lakh (going up to Rs 8.04 lakh for the top-end diesel) ex-showroom, Mumbai, it is now better VFM than before. However, I would rather have a no-frills Etios but one that is the last word in build quality, because that’s what Toyotas primarily stand for. So as it turns out, Aditya did turn up in the right car, but it isn’t quite the right car – not just yet – if you know what I mean.


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