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Crossover To The Bright Side : Toyota Etios Cross

When Volkswagen introduced the Cross Polo, the segment of crossover utility vehicles boomed. Ford followed suit and introduced the highly popular Ford EcoSport. Soon crossovers started gaining popularity. All crossovers share a common ground, beefing up their existing model platforms with rugged looking body kit and enhanced capabilities. Japanese carmakers Toyota have their version of the crossover in the form of a beefed up Etios Liva.

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The love for crossovers is growing in the Nepali market and the entry of one from a loved brand like Toyota did manage to bring a smile on a lot of faces. The Etios Liva was pretty standard and not much of a head turner, but the Etios Cross looks to bring a change to that. When we got the opportunity to take it out for a test drive, we were very excited. To make the most of the chance, we took it up to Tokha to see what it had to offer.

EXTERIOR

In all honesty, the Toyota Etios Cross is an Etios Liva dressed up in a lot of plastic cladding. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What the Liva was lacking in terms of head turning capabilities, the Etios Cross makes up for with a strong visual presence.

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It exudes a muscular appearance thanks to a number of additions to the exterior. The Etios Cross features matte-finished black plastic cladding all around. Up front is a bold front grille and bull bar. In addition to that, there are prominent roof rails, skid plates, blackened B-pillar, spoiler, diamond-cut 15-inch alloy wheels, ‘Etios Cross’ badging on the boot lid and sides, ORVMs with turn indicators and rear window defogger with wiper, all of which make it seem like Toyota might have given the Etios Liva some off roading capabilities.

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Although the cladding makes the Etios Cross 120 mm longer, 40 mm wider and 45 mm taller than the Etios Liva, the ground clearance, wheel base and turning radius have barely changed. Which does raise the question of how much more enhanced the Cross is compared to the hatchback in terms of utility.

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Toyota has gone for more satin finishes than chrome, which does work out nicely for the entire design. The headlights have additional reflective extensions that connect them to the bull bar and front turn blinkers have moved from the headlamps onto the bumper on top of the fog lights.

INTERIORS

Inside, the Etios Cross features piano black interiors with gloss and matt finishes giving it a sportier feel. The top-spec V variants get chrome accents around the gear shifter and the air-con vents. It has a centrally mounted speedometer and tachometer with a blue black light and double DIN audio system with Bluetooth

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telephony and steering mounted audio controls. New fabric upholstery gets the ‘Etios Cross’ badge embroidered in the front seats. The lack of electrically adjustable wing mirrors, even on the top spec variants was shocking.

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On the space and comfort front, the Etios Cross scores high marks. There is ample leg room for everyone in the cabin. There are air bags for both driver and passenger. The newly developed air conditioning system in the Liva is carried on to the Cross ensuring superior cooling.

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The interior of the Etios Cross ticks all the right boxes and is probably one of the best things about the new Etios Cross.

PERFORMANCE

Having put so much effort on the appearance of the crossover, we were looking forward to seeing how well it fared in terms of performance.

We got our hands on the 1.2 liter petrol variant and put it to the test. The preppy nature of the petrol engine was utilized to its fullest as we made our way out of the city turmoil and into the roads  winding up through the hills of Tokha.

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It performed well in traffic and the handling of the car shone on account of its light steering. Since the changes on the Cross are purely cosmetic, the maximum power output of 79bhp and torque of 104Nm remains unchanged from the Liva. The throttle response in lower revs is good and it does well on the highway as well. We did feel a lag in pulling capacity on steep climbs but it wasn’t enough for us to complain about it.

Transmission is slick and changing through gears is a fun ordeal. Suspension is also pretty absorbent and does a decent job of tackling our roads.

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With all the spruced up fairings to make it look like an offroader, the Etios Cross doesn’t fit the bill in terms of performance. The ground clearance is the same and there is no 4×4 capability. As good as the ride quality is in the Cross, it is still pretty much similar to the Etios Liva. To be honest, the Etios Cross has little added real offroad credentials to the Liva. In fact, it was difficult for us to bring it to do any serious offroading.

VERDICT

This is by far the best in the Etios range that Toyota has on offer, and it looks like the Japanese car manufacturers are heading in the right direction in the small car segment. But has it hit the nail on the head yet? Maybe not.

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It does a good job of injecting a heavy dose of style into its hatchback platform to create a very good looking crossover. It is definitely an attention grabber and performs very well in the city and is tame off roads.

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If you are looking for an efficient crossover utility vehicle with good looks and capable ride quality, the Etios Cross will satisfy. As always, the Toyota badge will do its bit to satisfy most loyal consumers and to some extent it will help justify the price range as well.

SPECIFICATIONS

Engine Type: 4-Cylinder 16V, DOHC

Displacement: 1197cc

Fuel Type: Petrol

Maximum Power: 78.90bhp@5600rpm

Maximum Torque: 104Nm@3100rpm

Transmission: 5 speed manual

DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT

Length: 3775 mm

Width: 1695 mm

Height: 1510 mm

Wheelbase: 2460 mm

Ground Clearance: 174mm

Tyre Size: 175 / 65 R14

Suspension Front: McPherson Strut

Suspension Rear: Torsion Beam

Brakes Front: Ventilated Disc Brakes

Brakes Rear: Drum Brakes

Curb Weight: 935 kg

Fuel Tank: 45L

PRICE: NRs. 41,45,000

COLOURS: Orange, Blue, Green, Beige, Black, Red, Silver, White

ALTERNATIVE CHOICES:

Ford EcoSport, Daihatsu Terios

CONTACT:

United Traders Syndicate, Sinamangal

Ph. No: 4478301 | 4478003

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