It’s difficult to launch new products every year, especially when the industry is not performing as well as even the most pessimistic analysts would have predicted, so offering that little extra over the standard model is the trend most manufacturers are adopting. The Etios Cross is a product of this thought. But does it offer too little over the Etios Liva hatchback or enough to make it stand out?
The hatchback crossover segment is just beginning to find its footing in India. First up is the Cross Polo that has already been launched. The Cross Polo has made pocket change at best for Volkswagen, the steep price and unconvincing package over the standard Polo being the reason for it. Coming next is the Etios Cross from Toyota in May. And also displayed at the Expo was the Fiat Avventura. You can read its preview here. Unlike the Avventura that promises to be the first proper attempt at the cross hatch segment, the Etios Cross is closer in comparison to the Cross Polo.
So if you stop reading right now, you’ll write off the Etios Cross, but you shouldn’t. Because the Cross is similar to the Cross Polo but comes in an entire range instead of just the one variant of the Cross Polo. Volkswagen launched the Cross Polo in just the 1.2-litre diesel top-end highline variant with a price tag hovering around the Rs 8 lakh mark. The German carmaker’s half-hearted attempt at the segment as a result shouldn’t be the reason for cross hatches being unsuccessful. Toyota too will offer the Etios Cross in top-trim variants but there will be three engine options to choose from.
The engines are the same petrol and diesel motors in the Standard Liva and TRD Sportivo range – the 80 PS 1.2-litre petrol unit, the 90 PS 1.5-litre block from the Liva TRD Sportivo and Etios and also the 1.4-litre D4D 68 PS diesel engine. The Cross Polo is priced about Rs 60,000 over the equivalent Polo variant. Assuming Toyota adopts a similar pricing strategy with the Cross, the 80 PS Cross will cost around Rs 6.7 lakh, the 90 PS Cross will be priced at Rs 6.8 lakh approximately and the 68 PS diesel Cross will cost around Rs 7.7 lakh ex-showroom Delhi.
The Etios Cross is mechanically identical to the Liva hatchback though. No 4x4 or raised ground clearance or even larger tyres. All the Cross gets is chunky plastic cladding on the lower half of the car from the bumpers to the doors, new 10-spoke alloy wheels and roof rails. The front bumper design has changed because of the body cladding with a new fog lamp cluster and grille clearly differentiating it from the standard Liva. Being a top-end variant in each engine option, the Cross gets ABS with EBD and two airbags, two din audio system with USB, Bluetooth and Aux-in connectivity, steering mounted audio controls, cooled glove box and rear defogger and wiper.
The Cross adds to the underperforming Liva line-up and just offers something different rather than something more. It eventually will boil down to the individual taste of the customer walking into that Toyota showroom. At least Toyota has something new to sell, barring the forthcoming new Corolla Altis of course. Cumulatively the Cross with the standard Liva and the TRD Sportivos could give the Etios platform a new lease of life.
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