Toyota Etios and Liva diesels : Road Test

With 1.4 litre diesel engines that also power the Corolla Altis diesel now plonked into the Toyota Etios and Liva twins, ZigWheels brings you the complete road tests of both these extremely practical cars




It's been just a few months since Toyota launched the hatchback version of its Etios sedan and christened it the Liva. Then, the Japanese manufacturer was being extremely tight-lipped of its plans of plonking a diesel engine in either of the Etios cars but that move has finally been taken care of and the Etios twins are now ready to be launched with diesel power. The petrol variants of both the Etios sedan and the Liva hatch came about as extremely practical machines in terms of their setups and space and that has been the USP of Toyota's smallest cars in India.

While the Etios sedan utilised a 1.5 litre gasoline unit arming it with decent performance, the Liva petrol went the excise duty busting way with its 1.2 litre mill. But when it came down to the diesels, both cars get a 1.4 litre D-4D 4-cylinder engine. The mill churns out 68 PS @ 3800rpm and 170 Nm @ 1800-2400rpm.





The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox with gear ratios optimised to give the best performance while keeping fuel efficiency intact. Considering that the overall kerb weight difference between the sedan and the hatch is just about 25kg, expect both to return similar efficiency figures. The Etios sedan which is the heavier of the two small Toyotas has been certified to deliver 23.59 kmpl according to ARAI. Real world conditions are a completely different story though and when we finally got done with our pain-staking fuel efficiency tests, it was the Etios sedan that turned out to be more efficient with returns of 18 kilometres to the litre. The Liva wasn’t too far behind with a figure of 17kmpl.






The Etios twins may not be cars that you would want to take to a traffic light GP, but they are by no means slouches either. Talking numbers, the Liva diesel will hit the 100 km/h mark from a standstill in 16 seconds while the Etios sedan follows in just over a second later. While we couldn’t really get to top whack on either of the two cars thanks to torrential rain during our instrumented tests, the cars will max out somewhere close to the 145 km/h mark.





These figures are in no way disappointing though, especially once you consider that the Etios twins are Toyota’s versions of family cars and as far as that role is concerned they do a great job. While the diesel cars retain their petrol siblings’ practical and spacious interiors the oil burning powerplant brings forth a fresh new perspective on drivability. The torque flows in rather linearly on both the Etios and Liva diesels and there’s a good chunk of it sitting low down in the rev range. Max torque kicks in at 1800 rpm so slow speed bumper to bumper traffic will not necessitate you to keep shifting between 1st and 2nd gears. You could just keep it in 2nd once on the move and the 1.4 litre engines will happily accelerate at a decent rate. So while the rest of the occupants in the two cars will revel in the abundance of space both fore and aft, the one in the driver’s seat will experience a stress-free drive no matter how bad the traffic is.

The same feeling carries on to the Etios twins’ ride quality with Toyota having managed to get the suspension setup bang on target for Indian conditions as the two cars simply soak up everything our roads have to throw at them. Ground clearance is awesome too and the Etios and Liva shouldn’t be hitting any speed breakers with their underbody – unless they’re the really bad kinds that we sometimes have on our roads.




NVH levels seeping into the cabin are decent enough too and while you will hear just about the right amount of engine noise seeping into the cabin (for a diesel engine), the annoying bit is when the tyres throw up bits of gravel and tarmac at the underbody – it sounds a tad too metallic and can get irritating. Braking though is a definite highlight of both cars – the Etios more than the Liva. With the cars coming to a standstill from 100 km/h in just about 3 seconds and under 50 metres, it’s the extremely composed straight line deceleration that impresses quite a bit.





The real differences between the Etios and Liva diesels though are cosmetic. For starters, the Etios seems to have gotten preferential treatment over the Liva since it gets three trim levels with the diesel engine while the Liva diesel will be available only with the base variant. All of the Etios and Liva's diesel counterparts are distinguished by the 'D' suffix for the variant name.





Despite the Liva diesel being available only in the GD variant, it still gives customers the option of choosing a safety pack that includes both ABS and Airbags for the driver and passenger clearly emphasising Toyota's commitment to safety.






As far as the interiors are concerned, the Liva diesel does disappoint somewhat and owing to its low trim level confinement begins to show the car's built-to-a-price values. No such problems with the sedan though and its equipment levels remain impressive.




Price will be the key to the Etios twins' success but judging by industry standards expect the diesel versions to be around Rs 50,000 to Rs 80,000 more expensive than their similarly equipped petrol counterparts. Gladly though, the wait isn’t too long for the exact price tags to be made available and for the bookings to start. Look out for the launch story here for the exact pricing of both cars.


Recommended Variant : Etios V