⦁ Mid-life upgrades for baby Toyota
⦁ Two shapes – hatch and sedan
⦁ One engine but three grades
PRETTY much anywhere you go in South Africa you’ll spot a Toyota Etios on your journey, sedan or hatch; indeed, according to Toyota SA, the car has become “a core model” in its marketing programme.
It well meets the three main selling points of small-car buyers: affordability, practicality and reliability. Throw in the brand’s reputation for excellent price v. quality and a reputation that goes back for decades in South Africa and it makes a lot of sense for price-sensitive families.
To hammer home the point, Toyota says almost 14 000 were delivered across South Africa in 2016.
Glenn Crompton, Toyota’s marketing boss, told The Corner in a launch-time media release this week: “The Etios pay-off line ‘Here to make you smile’ is what the car is all about: simple but rewarding motoring. Recent styling, safety and specification upgrades should continue that.”
MODEST STYLE CHANGES
A Sprint model is the newest member of the Etios family, replacing the previous mid-grade Xs with, the automaker says, “brings with it a number of unique attributes”.
Among then are a redesigned front bumper moulded to accept foul-weather lights.
The upper grille has a wing motif around the Toyota cowboy hat badge.
The rear bumper increases the cars’ overall length by 109mm (hatch) and 104mm (sedan) and the whole package rolls on BMW-like twin-spoked 15″ alloy wheel rims under 185/60 tyres.
The Sprint becomes one of three Etios models, starting with the economy-minded Xi which has been given a colour-coded grille with chromed accents. The middle model is now the Sprint with, Toyota says, “improved convenience specification to compliment the refreshed exterior styling”.
The halo mode is the hatchback Cross model with padding and cladding to masquerade as what Toyota calls “an urban adventurer’ cladding and a well-fitted and equipped cabin and exterior styling.
All three ranges share a chassis and drivetrain with Macpherson-strut / torsion beam suspension tuned, the automaker says, “to achieve supple ride comfort that confidently allows traversing of bumps in the road surface”.
We’ll one wouldn’t expect anything less from a modern car, would one?
Motivation comes from a four-cylinder, 1.5-litre, engine capable of 66kW / 132Nm and well capable of easy city driving and suitable freeway ability. It turns a five-speed manual transmission.
Toyota says fuel burn as low as six litres/100km is possible. And here are the specifications variations.
Should things go awry on the road the cars have front crash bags, anti-lock brakes with electronic pressure distribution, pre-tensioning seat belts and IsoFix child-seat anchors.
Each seat has a head restraint (The Corner really wishes folk would stop calling them headrests) and the rear centre seat also has a three-point restraint belt.
Each Etios will be delivered with a two-year or 30 000km service plan and a three-year Or 100 000km warranty (hmm, you should be working on that, Toyota)..
Service intervals 10 000km.
MODELS AND PRICES
Etios 1.5 Xi – R163 900
Etios 1.5 Sprint – R172 600
Etios 1.5 Cross – R194 300
Etios 1.5 Xi – R172 200
Etios 1.5 Sprint – R180 500