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Old 11th September 2011, 09:26   #1
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Default Toyota Etios Diesel : Test Drive & Review

The Toyota Etios Diesel has been launched in India at a price of between 6.44 – 7.87 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you'll like:

• Modern diesel engine with minimal turbo lag and excellent driveability
• Expect the best-in-class fuel efficiency (ARAI = 23.59 kpl)
• A practical family sedan
• Spacious interiors can easily carry 5 adults
• Balanced suspension tuned towards ride comfort with safe handling
• Toyota’s excellent after-sales service

What you won't:

• NVH levels are very high in the cabin above 3,000 rpm
• Engine doesn’t like to be revved beyond 3,500 rpm
• Dated, plain-vanilla styling. Lacks contemporariness
• Missing equipment (climate control, height adjustable seat, electric ORVMs etc.)
• Economy-grade interior quality & unconventional dashboard
• Cost-cutting glaringly evident in many areas


NOTE: Click any picture to open a larger higher-resolution version in a new window

Last edited by Vid6639 : 12th September 2011 at 00:02.
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Old 11th September 2011, 09:35   #2
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Default Re: Toyota Etios Diesel : Test Drive and Review

Since the Toyota Etios has already been reviewed by Team-BHP, this report will only focus on the diesel engine & changes vis-a-vis the petrol. For easy reference, here is a direct link to the full Toyota Etios test:

Exterior Design & Build Quality

Interior design, space, practicality & features

Other Pertinent Points

The Smaller & Significant Things

Last edited by Vid6639 : 12th September 2011 at 00:03.
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Old 11th September 2011, 09:51   #3
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Default Re: Toyota Etios Diesel : Test Drive and Review



Toyota launched the Etios last December and in the 10 months since, it has had a successful run, even without a diesel engine on offer. The Etios has the brand attraction of the "big T", is spacious, has an engine tuned for driveability and offered good fuel efficiency. However, after the recent (astronomical) petrol price hike, the market has shifted toward diesels and Etios sales were beginning to fall. Maruti and Tata had the diesel demand covered with the 1.3L MJD national engine. Toyota always had plans to bring in a diesel mill for the Etios, but the launch was delayed due to the Japan Tsunami. Not wanting to lose out and capitalize on the petrol model’s success, they ramped up their operations and have been able to launch the car with just a month's delay of the initial launch plan (August 2011).



The Diesel Etios is identically equipped to its petrol sibling; no features have been added or removed. There will no longer be a non-power steering "J" spec variant though. This is probably in place for 2 reasons; the heavier weight of the diesel engine and Toyota may not want to cater to the taxi market initially. The Diesel variants have a “D” suffix to the badge, resulting in the three variants called G-D, V-D and VX-D.

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Toyota has priced the Etios pretty competitively. The Diesel costs exactly Rs. 90,000 more than the petrol. Comparing it with the Dzire shows that the G-D variant is actually equivalent to the Dzire Vdi, rather than the Ldi. Both have AC, power steering and all 4 power windows. The Etios loses a tacho, audio system & fog lamps and is 8K more expensive than the Maruti. Similarly, the V-D variant matches up with the ZDi since it has ABS & Airbags. The Etios loses climate control though. The VX-D variant is exactly the same as the V-D, but gains the red interiors (I find them tacky, GTO likes them), a DVD compatible head unit, flat bottom steering wheel with audio controls and a pair of side skirts (exterior). You may as well save 40K and get the V-D variant. In comparison, the Tata Manza is still the VFM buy with many more features in each variant, and priced about 40K lesser than the equivalent Etios variants.

Externally, the Etios Diesel looks exactly like its petrol sibling. The only difference being the D badging at the rear. There’s no D-4D badge for the Etios like on the Altis. You can also spot the intercooler placed vertically, next to the radiator, when viewing the front of the car.



The 1.4L D-4 D engine code-named 1ND-TV is similar to that of the Corolla Altis; primary difference is that the Etios gets a fixed geometry turbo (FGT) vis-a-vis the Altis’ VGT (variable geometry) unit. Power is down to 67 BHP while torque on tap is 170 Nm available from 1800 rpm - 2400 rpm. The wide 600 rpm band of peak torque is something that Toyota stressed upon, to emphasize the driveability of this engine. The diesel engine adds 75 kilos to the Etios petrol's kerb weight.

On paper, the Etios has the least powerful engine of the trio, yet it makes up the power deficit with its light weight. Tipping the scales at a full 100 kilos lesser than the Dzire and 200 lesser than the Manza results in a power-to-weight ratio identical to the Maruti (and lesser than the Tata). The Etios D is also the most fuel efficient sedan in its segment with an ARAI rating of 23.59 kpl, matched only by the Indigo CS' 25 kpl.

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Last edited by Vid6639 : 12th September 2011 at 00:03.
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Old 11th September 2011, 09:54   #4
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Default Re: Toyota Etios Diesel : Test Drive and Review



Fire up the engine and you notice that the 1.4L turbo-diesel settles down to a refined idle with minimal clatter. The rocking motion, typical of some diesel engines when cranked, is well controlled. There is some diesel clatter initially, but once the engine warms up, it is really quiet on the outside. Step inside, shut the doors and you would be hard pressed to tell if you are in the petrol or diesel. There is no vibration from the steering, clutch or gear lever. Sound insulation has obviously been beefed up and it shows when you’re pottering around town. On the flip side, give the engine some stick and you know you’re in a diesel, and a fairly audible one at that. NVH levels above 2,000 rpm can get intrusive in the cabin, and at 3,000 rpm they are downright irritable. Diesel clatter is high pitched and really forces you to upshift early, or get off the gas.

Here are 2 videos of how the diesel engine sounds at idle with the hood open, and once it has been closed:




Where the Etios scores is in driveability. The clutch is extremely light, and just a gentle release with no accelerator input gets the Etios off from a standstill. There is hardly any turbo lag, and you can upshift early without getting bogged down. Power delivery is extremely linear. You do feel a small push at 1,800 rpm when the turbo kicks in. No need to downshift to 1st for Bangalore’s infamous speed breakers either; you can comfortably accelerate out in 2nd itself, unlike the Dzire (that requires a downshift). The car pulls comfortably and you can potter around the city in 2nd or 3rd gears comfortably. The gearing is just perfect, not very short nor too tall. Toyota has tuned this engine / gearbox combo very nicely, unlike the Altis Diesel that suffered from massive turbo lag. Closing gaps in traffic does not require down-shifting, and a push on the accelerator is all that is needed. Performance is not shattering and is very close to the Figo / Fiesta classic 1.4 TDCi. In fact, the driveability is actually better than the Ford engine. That's saying a lot! It must be noted though that the Mahindra Logan / Verito is still the benchmark when it comes to driveability.

While performance at lower / mid rpm ranges is very good, the same can’t be said when out on the open road. The simple 8V SOHC engine does not like to be revved. Beyond 3,500 rpm, it struggles and anything above is simply pointless. Power delivery tapers off very quickly after 3,500 rpm, diesel clatter becomes intrusive and the engine starts feeling strained. I tried pushing till the 5,000 rpm red line, but it was a real struggle, with the engine crying out loud. High revving this engine (when overtaking, for example) is absolutely pointless. The only way to drive this car is to be smooth, shift up early (below 3,000 rpm) and enjoy the torque. You can comfortably cruise at 100-110 kph on the highway where the engine is at its happiest. Highway overtaking does require a downshift, albeit progress will be slow.

The gearshifts are slick and smooth, supported by a light clutch. I actually found the gearshifts to be better than in the petrol Etios. The petrol did not like quick gear changes and used to baulk at times. The diesel handles quick changes far better, while shift quality is precise too. The gearbox is supposedly similar to the diesel Altis, with one ratio less of course. The reverse gear is engaged by lifting the collar on the knob and slotting the gear to the left of 1st position.



Toyota has beefed up the suspension to cope with the extra weight of the diesel engine. Usually, diesel variants end up having a stiffer suspension than their petrol counterparts. In the case of the Etios, it is quite the opposite. The diesel actually feels more pliant than the petrol. Where the petrol used to be skittish over bumps, the diesel is more composed thanks to the additional weight. This has resulted in slightly better ride comfort too. The handling retains the same neutral behaviour. The car has good composure, but it isn't exactly a Ford Fiesta! Body roll is present, yet not excessive, and there isn't much vertical movement either. With more weight at the front now, the car actually feels a bit tail happy which I experienced when I had to hit the brakes mid-corner for a speed breaker. It was well under control, though the rear stepped out a wee bit. Also, the added weight upfront means the light EPS steering feels heavier compared to the petrol, and is more fun to use. One area that I particularly liked in the Etios was the braking. Braking is sharp and confidence inspiring.

Last edited by GTO : 12th September 2011 at 00:09. Reason: "are" two videos
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Old 11th September 2011, 10:09   #5
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Default Re: Toyota Etios Diesel : Test Drive and Review

Other Points:

- Warranty is the same 3 years / 100,000 kms coverage. No extended warranty options available.

- Underbody coating has been added to both, the petrol and diesel Etios. This was a major grouse for Etios owners who were complaining of tyre / road noise filtering through the cabin. GTO had mentioned this in his Etios review as well:


- The G-D variant, just like the petrol, has an optional safety pack with ABS & Airbags.

- Toyota should have added a tachometer to the G-D variant. This will be sorely missed. I did highlight this point to Toyota.

- Toyota will try and push the petrol Etios more than the diesel. This may be due to production constraints. According to them, diesel only makes sense if the usage is more than 2,000 kms a month. I disagree; with the recent petrol price hikes, diesel is more economical even if the running is 1/2 that!

- To reduce NVH, Toyota has used loads of sound dampening carpets. Lift the floor mats and you can feel thick, soft cushioning.

- Toyota has used rubber mounts for the engine compared to hydraulic ones used in the Altis.

The tachometer is still marked to 7,000 rpm, though the red line zone has been changed from 6,000 rpm to 5,000:


The exhaust system is rather strange. There’s an expansion chamber, but no end can to speak of:

Last edited by Vid6639 : 12th September 2011 at 00:26. Reason: edited to 'red line zone'
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Old 12th September 2011, 00:04   #6
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Default Re: Toyota Etios Diesel : Test Drive & Review

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Old 12th September 2011, 00:14   #7
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Default Re: Toyota Etios Diesel : Test Drive & Review

Mr. Practicality!

Thanks for sharing this review with us, Vid. *Rates thread a well-deserved 5 stars*

I like the driveability you speak of; after all, we spend 99% of our time below 3,000 rpm. Also the fact that Toyota has applied underbody coating and that heavy floor cushioning to reduce the NVH. Not a fan of the Etios diesel's highway performance though. That's an area where the free-revving Dzire & Manza have an advantage.

While the Etios 1.5L petrol is my favourite in the segment (thanks to the stupendous low end torque, performance and balanced ride & handling), I have to say that the Tata Manza QJD is a formidable competitor to the Etios diesel, product to product. If only Tata would get their branding, marketing & niggle-free promise right. In fact, if Tata proves that it can make a niggle-free Manza, that would be my pick from the segment. The average Dzire isn't even in contention here in terms of product capability. It's the most cramped, and has completely unsettled ride quality. The game has moved on.

The Etios is amongst the most spacious sub 10 lakh sedans. Now, it has diesel economy too. That's reason enough for a lot of people out there. Like I said, Mr. Practicality.

Last edited by GTO : 12th September 2011 at 10:05.
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Old 12th September 2011, 00:34   #8
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Default Re: Toyota Etios Diesel : Test Drive & Review

Excellent Review Viddy!! Going by your review, the same Altis D engine in a different state of tune in Etios behaves in just the opposite manner, the Altis D scored on NVH and had to be revved to extract power but this FGT version in Etios does not like to be revved and is loud but scores on driveability. If this engine is even better in driveability than the Fiesta Classic then it is a great achievement by Toyota here.

Did you note the RPM at 100kph in 5th gear? How is the gearing compared to Fiesta Classic/Mahindra Verito?

Last edited by .anshuman : 12th September 2011 at 11:44. Reason: typo
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Old 12th September 2011, 00:38   #9
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Default Re: Toyota Etios Diesel : Test Drive & Review

Good no-nonsense review.
This should sell. With the trio of Toyota badge, Diesel engine and 6-8 Lakh pricing, this one checks all the right boxes. The good driveability is a bonus.
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Old 12th September 2011, 00:39   #10
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Default Re: Toyota Etios Diesel : Test Drive & Review

Good short and crisp TD report Vid. Nice to know that the Etios D is better to drive when compared to its petrol sibling.

I am not sure if Toyota will be able to produce so much to dethrone the Dzire.
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Old 12th September 2011, 00:44   #11
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Default Re: Toyota Etios Diesel : Test Drive & Review

The rear suspension pic looks like if something is missing. Is that all the suspension ? It takes minimalistic approach to a whole new level.
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Old 12th September 2011, 00:57   #12
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Default Re: Toyota Etios Diesel : Test Drive & Review

The Base model is priced well. But the top end is rather high. And a 1.3L extra and you can drive away with a Vento HL.
Or at almost the same price you can get a SX4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
The Etios is amongst the most spacious sub 10 lakh sedans.
Is it really more spacious than City & Vento?

Dont get me wrong, the Etios is spacious (although I did not try the back seat on the move) but even in its segment I find Manza and Logan more spacoius.

B.T.W is the Liva Diesel official TD going to be in such a separate thread.?
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Old 12th September 2011, 00:59   #13
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Default Re: Toyota Etios Diesel : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rahulkool View Post
The rear suspension pic looks like if something is missing. Is that all the suspension ? It takes minimalistic approach to a whole new level.
The beam, Coil spring, shock absorber, brake lines and brake drum are all there. Maybe it is looks empty due to the missing End Can.
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Old 12th September 2011, 03:16   #14
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Default Re: Toyota Etios Diesel : Test Drive & Review

With nothing much to differentiate this car from the competition except the Toyota-badge, its really to be seen how much the badge is valued in India.

Nice review Vid, thanks.
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Old 12th September 2011, 06:38   #15
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Default Re: Toyota Etios Diesel : Test Drive & Review

@Vid: Great review,thanks. Ideally the Etios should have got the VGT version of the Altis and Altis must have got the 2.5L D-4D of the Innova, to give it some turn of speed. Engine sounds agricultural.

Last edited by Durango Dude : 12th September 2011 at 06:40.
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