Competition Check: Toyota Etios Liva Diesel

  • Sep 6, 2011
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The diesel version of Toyota's mass-market hatch is finally out, but a host of seriously good diesel offerings stand in its way!

Ford Figo

One of the best value for money diesel vehicles around has many standout points, owing to which it has won numerous accolades last year. The diesel mill may not have great pull, but the real deal-sealers in its favour are the space it offers for its price, and fantastic balance between ride quality and comfort. The Liva in its diesel form has a great ride quality too which is neither too wallowy nor too bumpy, but the Figo (Read : First Drive) does offer better roadholding. The other thing it may lack in is when it comes to the badge value, and the allied trust that buyers have in the brand.

Maruti Suzuki Swift

The all-new Swift which has just made its appearance on the scene certainly has the headstart on the Liva when it comes to the diesel variants. The proved 1.3-litre DDiS powerplant more or less started the diesel revolution in family hatchbacks, and the new Swift (Read : First Drive) takes these same characteristics. Great fuel efficiency, larger on space, funkier when it comes to the interiors and a sharp handling car that likes being driven quick – the Swift has it all when it comes to the young buyer. The Liva mill offers better driveability and a more linear feel though – in the Swift’s case the power delivery is a little abrupt.

Tata Indica Vista

The premium hatch from Tata Motors has still not taken off in proportion to how good a car it is, and the Liva may not help its case given how similar the approach of both the cars to diesels is. Both are comfortable and very driveable, though the Liva’s diesel engine is a tad bit more refined than Tata’s use of the 1.3-litre Fiat Multijet plant. The Vista has more space too, and may look better to many as well. What it doesn’t have, much like the Figo, is the brand name and the trust that the Toyota badge inspires.

Nissan Micra

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Expensive in its diesel garb, the Micra (Read : First Drive) still is a properly plush and high-quality urban product. It feels a little tinny to drive, but offers a very good ride quality. The design is also something that is growing on people, and does stay true to its hatch design DNA better than the Liva, in my personal opinion. Driveability and pep around town are aplenty too. Where the Micra may lose out to the Liva is in terms of value for money, offering lesser space for a stiffer price tag, despite all its impressive features.

Volkswagen Polo

The Polo diesel is a good, solid car to drive, but the three-pot 1.2-litre engine itself lets the car down. It is not the most refined of the lot, and even though driveability is good it could do with more punch - especially so given the Polo’s great chassis which leads to very impressive and composed driving dynamics. We haven’t tested the Liva yet for fuel efficiency, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the 1.4 D-4D engine turns out to be more frugal. The Polo (Read : Road Test) is a better looking car though, and certainly has a greater upmarket appeal to it, but loses out when it comes to features and value for money.

Hyundai i20

Big on space, but also big on price. The diesel variant of the i20 is where Hyundai have decided to hike up its margins, but the 1.4-litre engine is a delight to drive. The car has all the grunt one would need in a straight line, but lack of good steering feel means it cannot be driven hard without getting things hairy. Compared to the Liva, it once again has a more upmarket feel, but the price that it asks for almost puts the two cars in different leagues.

Fiat Grande Punto

High on features and performance, the Grande Punto (Read : Road Test) is also a great looking car. With a purposeful design and very good driving dynamics, it remains a good choice for buyers with an eye on beauty. Sensible pricing also place it well within reach. The engine could be a little more refined though, and while driveability is great it needs to look towards the Swift, which has the same engine, for lessons in excitement. Compared to the Liva, it is a tough call between the two, but the vastly different appeals that they carry – one stands for style and the other for sensibility – should sort the confusion out amongst buyers.

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