Toyota Etios Liva: Road Test
Toyota's small car is finally here and the long wait seems well worth it! ZigWheels puts the Etios Liva to the test
Engine & Transmission: Efficiency is the key
There was a lot of talk of the Liva getting the big 1.5-litre engine from the sedan, but anyone who knows the Indian market would know that the hatch would be looking to exploit the maximum benefits of the excise duty concessions that the Indian government has on offer for small cars. That means that under the Etios Liva hood is a 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine (Read :Engine & Transmission). On paper, it isn’t all that bad, 80PS @ 5600rpm and 104Nm @ 3100rpm. In fact the figures are pretty close to most of the competition and better than some as well. Coupled with the Liva’s approximately 900 kg kerb weight, it should also make for a great power-to-weight ratio to score high on performance. But somehow, that’s not the case because the Etios LIVA's brief seems to be rather straight forward – better efficiency. With the gear ratios matched to make life in the city easier, the car does feel peppy enough at low revs and accelerates cleanly off the line, but the excitement tapers off much too soon and you really need to work the engine to get past 120km/h.
Our instrumented tests did see the car cross the 150km/h mark but it took a lot of patience and even more stretches of empty roads to get there. The 5-speed manual gearbox may be the culprit here with gear ratios more conducive for city driving rather than highway cruising. But that does have a rather positive effect on its fuel efficiency. The ARAI certified stat reads 18.3kmpl cumulative but real world conditions should see you get about 14.3kmpl in the city and 16.1kmpl on the highway. Considering the prices of petrol today, that’s a welcome proposition indeed! All through the test, the Liva’s gearbox provided positive feel and slick shifts all the way to fifth. Predictably, the Liva didn’t scorch the acceleration runs, taking over 17 seconds to cross the 100km/h mark.
Vehicle Dynamics: Quality bits all round
The Etios LIVA is pretty long, with a 2460mm wheelbase, Apart from liberating more room on the inside, this also makes the car more stable. The car sports a MacPherson strut set-up on the front and a torsion beam at the back that soaks in almost everything that Indian roads can throw at it. The Liva is certainly capable of handling more power from the engine when it comes to handling as well. Uphill drives prove this point but the Liva does delight on tight downhill runs, though not as much as some of its other more focused handling competitors. But the best part is that Toyota has not compromised when on the safety aspect. So all the four variants of the Liva feature ventilated discs up front and drums at the back, ensuring crisp and sure braking. The 170mm ground clearance spares the underbody any hits and scrapes on the tallest of ill-constructed speed-breakers. While the lower two variants, the J and the G, sport 14” tyres, the top spec V and VX features 15” ones which not only make them look good, but also greatly enhance the handling as well as ride comfort (Read : Living with it).
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