Let us break it to you before beginning, if you know the story of Skoda Fabia Scout and Volkswagen Polo Cross, you would probably guess the story of Etios Cross right. Toyota added plastic lower body cladding around the perimeter of Liva hatchback, silver coloured scuff plates on front and rear, redesigned front grille and presented an instant crossover.
If this ideology of crossover continues among global car makers, it wouldn’t be surprising to see third party auto accessories manufacturers coming up with ‘crossover conversion kits’ for every hatchback in the market. The idea sparked when we saw Etios Cross’s plastic cladding fitment on doors and wheel arches. Makes more sense using them for driving lessons, frequent scratches and damages could be fixed with what seems to be instantly replaceable panels. But if you think the same cladding will help while off-roading with Etios Cross, you’ll be surprised how far you can take it off-road in the first place.
All said, Toyota Etios Cross certainly is a looker. Miles ahead of what Etios Liva looks like, to say the least. We received good comments from public who curiously approached while we were idling at stop lights and parking at crowded places. Those extra kilos of bare black plastic and aggressive looking front fascia do seem to be working in favour of Toyota. Those silver finished roof rails and 10-spoke alloy wheels also try to convince that Etios Cross is a rugged vehicle.
Atleast, if 4×4 drive option cannot be provided, extra ground clearance compared to Liva hatchback, larger wheels, more power out of engine and improved dynamics could have earned Etios Cross some right to its naming.
We drove V variant equipped with 1.5 litre petrol engine producing 90 PS max. power at 5,600 rpm and peak torque of 132 Nm at 3,000rpm. Also 1.4 litre diesel VD variant generating 68 PS max. power at 3,800rpm and 170 Nm peak torque between 1,800 and 2,400rpm.
Driving response of Etios Cross petrol 1.5 litre V variant is appreciable. Engine is peppy, aiding quick manoeuvre to get past fairly dense city traffic. Diesel engine on the other hand feels under-powered. Turbo-lag until about 2,000 rpm and power band upto say 4,000 rpm is what we normally expect, but since we could not feel any turbo boost pulling us ahead, it is safer to say power delivery in Etios Cross diesel is steady. Then again, it depends on whether you’re a ‘glass half-full’ or ‘glass half-empty’ kind of person.
Ride quality of Etios Cross is truly amazing, for city drive. Shocks are tuned appropriately for most Indian roads; effectively absorbs thuds from rough patches and speed breakers. But if you’re not a fan of loud music, you might need to excuse Etios Cross’s well pronounced cabin noise, be it from driving over road irregularities or throttling the ever growling engine.
Steering of Toyota Etios Cross is another topic to talk about. Steering wheel is very light; it makes you think if you’re actually performing dance moves with your hands. While nil resistance / feedback is absolutely fine for tight manoeuvring in urban jungle, it doesn’t fit the bill for wider scope of target audience. Loose steering is unpredictable while aligning itself to centre position over a turn; makes the car yaw out of desired path. At high speeds, steering becomes even lighter like if its even possible; which means the vehicle is not going to respond to your turn precisely. Only advantage in Etios Cross’s steering is that wouldn’t tire you while munching miles in city traffic.
Braking is also good for city drive only. Stopping from high speed does not provide sufficient bite. It is not easy to predict halt distance. Forget about braking while out of tarmac. Tire grip is not great.
Toyota Etios Cross is a very good buy if you want to stand out in the crowd and you don’t mind paying extra for it. Not just exterior styling, interiors too look lot different from rest of cars in segment; might strike as refreshing to some. However, life span of few interior parts and fabric are questionable. It is a good commuter, offers appreciable mileage and sensible buy for young at heart senior citizens who wouldn’t think of going off-road more than getting off curb.
Why would you buy Etios Cross:
Ride quality in city
Easy to drive in city
Why would you not buy Etios Cross:
Poor high speed control
Diesel variant is underpowered, not fun to drive
Piano black interiors
2 DIN audio system
USB & AUX-in
Steering mounted controls
Leather wrap on steering wheel
7 Bottle Holders
Day/Night Inside Rear View Mirror
Regular fabric upholstery
No electrically adjustable ORVMs
No reverse parking sensors / camera
ABS with EBD
Dual front airbags
Driver seat height adjust
251 litre bootspace
Anti-corrosion steel sheet at rust prone regions
Underbody anti-corrosion coating
New Inferno Orange
Prices (ex-showroom Delhi):
G (1.2 L petrol engine) Rs. 5,76,000/- [17.71 kmpl approx.] V (1.5 L petrol engine) Rs. 7,35,000/- [16.78 kmpl approx.] GD (1.4 L diesel engine) Rs. 6,90,432/- [23.59 kmpl approx.] VD (1.4 L diesel engine) Rs. 7,40,640/- [23.59 kmpl approx.]