Toyota Etios Cross vs Volkswagen Cross Polo: Comparison Review

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  • May 28, 2014
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We pitch the newly launched Toyota Etios Cross in a head-to-head with the Volkswagen Cross Polo to find out which one emerges at the top


Toyota Etios Cross and VW Cross Polo



In recent years, car manufacturers have had to work harder on their hatchbacks thanks to SUVs finding flavour with the Indian car buying public. With smaller and more affordable SUVs on sale, like the Ford EcoSport and in its own way the Renault Duster, which offer the sought after big-car feel, more space along with certain ruggedness, it is evident why the love for sport utility vehicles has constantly been on the rise. To spice up the sales, manufacturers are now giving their standard hatchbacks a new and brawny avatar. Volkswagen first did it with the Cross Polo and now Toyota has joined the bandwagon with its Etios Cross. While both cars demand a premium over their respective hatchback siblings, we pitch them against each other to find out which one is the more logical purchase.



Toyota Etios Cross and VW Cross Polo details



Like the Volkswagen Cross Polo, the Etios Cross is also based on the same platform as the Liva hatchback. That said Toyota has done a great job in making the Etios Cross look more muscular and robust. Up front, the Etios Cross features a uniquely designed front grille with silver grille guard and chin that is flanked by the fog lamps. We particularly liked the way the black front bumper blends into the flared wheel arches that continues with the large side claddings on the door and then rearward. The silver side skirt and the chrome door handles also add more character to the profile. The rear end looks intriguing thanks to the chunky rear spoiler and the black-silver combination on the bumpers. The diamond cut 15-inch alloy wheels also play their part in giving the Etios Cross a well-built persona.




Toyota Etios Cross and VW Cross Polo interiors



The Volkswagen Cross Polo on the other hand has relatively subtle changes on the outside over its hatch sibling. The side cladding isn’t as beefy as on the Etios Cross and neither does it get a grille guard. While it does try hard to make a strong impact, when parked next to the Etios Cross it simply doesn’t look as dynamic. We still like the silhouette of the Polo over that of the Etios Cross, nonetheless.


Make your way inside the two cars and it is pretty much a similar story as the exteriors. Again the Etios Cross flaunts a more appealing dashboard and seats. Although the Cross Polo sports the same interiors as the standard model it trumps the Etios Cross in terms of overall build quality.



Toyota Etios Cross and VW Cross Polo ORVMs and alloys



Toyota, on the other hand, has done well to ensure that the insides of the Etios Cross are exclusive to the model and are not replicated from its standard trim. While the instrument cluster continues to remain in the centre, the centre console gets a piano black treatment and the seats are now black fabric seats stitched with the Etios Cross logo. 

In terms of features, the Volkswagen scores higher sporting auto lock, parking sensors and electronically adjustable ORVMs, all of which are missing on its Japanese rival. Where the Etios Cross does better is usable space, both for occupants and luggage. It offers more knee and shoulder room particularly for passengers in the back seat. 




Toyota Etios Cross engine



Our test Etios Cross came with the 1.4-litre four-cylinder diesel mill that churns out 68PS of power at 3,800rpm and 170Nm of torque between1,800 to 2,000rpm. The Cross Polo comes with a three-pot 1.2-litre TDI diesel mill, which demands higher revs to bring out its peak power of 75PS at 4,200rpm but its 180Nm of torque is available at just 2,000rpm. Although the Volkswagen whips more power than the Toyota, it doesn’t feel quicker. A lot of this can be attributed to the fact that it is 125kg heavier than the Etios Cross. 


Although both cars come mated a five-speed gearbox, the Etios Cross has smoother and more precise shifts. The Volkswagen’s ‘box is notchier in operation and demands more effort from the driver. We also found the Cross Polo less driveable than the Etios Cross with the former requiring more shifts, especially in city driving conditions. On longer highway hauls this character changes for the better making the Polo Cross a good highway companion. The Etios Cross meanwhile manages to find a fine balance as far as gearing is concerned making it comfortable to drive under most conditions.



VW Cross Polo engine



Volkswagen cars have always known to be great in terms of handling and ride quality, and the Cross Polo is no different. The suspension setting is well judged and it makes easy work of potholes, road joints and undulations. It’s also comfortable taking on corners even when driven enthusiastically. Helped, of course, to some extent by the tyres it runs. The suspension on the Etios Cross isn’t as well suited for high speed cornering and as a result of setup, even though the Etios uses the same spec rubber as the Polo, the grip around bends just isn’t as good.


As far as fuel economy is concerned, both cars are almost on par, with Toyota claiming nearly 23.59kmpl for the Etios Cross while the Volkswagen Cross Polo’s efficiency is marginally lower at 22.07kmpl. Both figures as quoted by ARAI.



Toyota Etios Cross and VW Cross Polo rear



So, which of the two is the better car? The Cross Polo is better built, it has better dynamics in its favour and it has more comfort and convenience related equipment. The Etios Cross on the other hand offers more passenger space, it has nicer looking interiors and it is cheaper (at Rs 7.41 lakh ex-showroom Delhi, it is nearly Rs 35,000 less expensive) and more fuel efficient. However, if you are looking at the Cross variant over the regular hatchback, the exterior styling is key. And on this aspect, the Etios Cross is the clear winner.


Recommended Variant : Cross Polo 1.2 MPI

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