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Old 24th February 2012, 20:44   #1
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Default My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report

Hi all,

There are few good cars out there like the Etios that gets bashed so severely just because it isn't the prettiest car in India. It's a great family car and the sales figures reflect it. But on the internet, people have been throwing rotten eggs over it. I've tried my level best to write a neutral but factual ownership report.

By the end of 2010, we decided to buy a new car. Budget was around 6 lakhs and I initially looked for hatchbacks. I did look at the Dzire but later realised that it's not worth the extra money with it's elongated tail and cramped backbench.

It was around that time that the Etios was launched. I was seriously stunned by the pricing. Went to Nippon Toyota for a test drive. Everybody at home liked the car. Spacious, powerful engine, decent featurelist, a big boot and it's a Toyota! So the budget was extended to accommodate the V variant. The colour chosen was black. Overall the booking experience was very good.

A few days later, I noticed that the prices of the Aveo and the Fiesta have come down considerably. Tried both of them. I didn't like Aveo although the interior looked good. That together with the bad reviews I read, made it vanish from my mind. I did like the Fiesta. But it's not as spacious as the Etios and the horror stories about Ford's A.S.S really confused me. Later I decided to stick with the Etios because I felt it's more value for money. The Etios's V variant has ABS, Airbags, Alloy wheels etc whereas one will have to spend a lot more to get those in a Fiesta.

Took the delivery of the car on a pleasant evening of June after waiting for about 3 months. Btw,there's only one Toyota dealer in my city. Nippon Toyota. They didn't offer any discounts or free accessories. On road price, if I recall correctly was around 7.2 lakhs. Optional accessories fitted were: mud flaps!,rubber floor mats!, luggage tray, usb-aux in port, window visor, bumper corner protectors, under body coating and steering wheel cover.

Accessories added later: seat cover and horn.

OK now lets get into the serious part of the report. The car itself.

Exterior,interior,build quality and features

You generally don't see a heading like the one above. But there's nothing much to brag about any of those in the Etios.
It hasn't got the 'heads will turn and jaws will drop' kinda looks but it's not as bad as many people think it is. And in my humble opinion, the Etios looks good on red and black only. When it comes to exterior styling, I would place it ahead of the NSD(New Swift Dzire). I'm not gonna write an essay on this. See the pictures and decide. The body is made of thin and light sheets of metal. Not the best build quality. It's a similar story inside too.

The looks of the Etios's interiors has been a big a turn off for many people and it's true that Toyota has lost many potential customers because of this. When you spend 6-7 lakhs on a car you expect a much better quality and features. Cars like Beat and Figo have much better interiors. Even the use of slightly better quality plastic for that dashboard area would have made a huge difference. The dashboard is made of rough plastic which, as everybody has been saying is not so pleasing for the eyes. And they haven't done a good job of hiding the screws from the cabin.

Though not very elegant looking, the Etios has a very spacious cabin. The rear bench can accommodate 3 persons very easily and is comfortable to sit on (The absence of a big transmission tunnel hump helps a great deal here). Sporty front seats are comfortable and good looking. The steering wheel is another positive. It's fantastic to hold. The center mounted instrument cluster looks odd but it's just a matter of getting used to it. I have no problems with it at all.

Most of the features in the Etios are standard across all cars these days. Most of them are manually controlled too(no 'press the button to' s here). Everything works as they are intended. And as promised by Toyota, the AC has good cooling. There's no seat adjustment even on the top variant though. The audio system's sound quality is in the average to above average range. The interface is good enough. I didn't go for the optional DVD player (available in VX) because I always use pen drives for music. But only later I realised that it does a lot more than playing music from DVDs. It can play videos too. Features like the cooled glovebox, large bottleholders, that cavernous boot etc give you the impression that it's a practical family car.

The term 'family car' might bring the image of a lazy chubby (you know what I mean) car but it's exactly the opposite here.


Engine & Performance

The 1.5 L Petrol engine can generate 132Nm of torque and 90 PS of power. The torque, I would say is a big advantage here and helps to match the petrols in the next segment like the Vento in terms of performance.

The high power to weight ratio is another factor that is very helpful in making the Etios a real performer (It's lighter than the 90 HP Indica Vista!). It never feels like a 90 HP car. I always feel like driving a much more powerful car. Believe me it's seriously competent on the highways. Toyota has managed to give it a fantastic steering too. It's fantastic to hold and is very precise. Brakes are very good, gearshifts are very smooth... It's arguably the best driver's car in the segment. It really is fun to drive this car on the highways. It's way beyond what I expected from it. Give it more and more throttle and you will get an 'I was waiting for it' kinda response. The lightweight structure helps in negotiating curvy roads too. At speeds of around 120 kmph, the car is very stable and comfortable to ride. As you go further up(over 130kmph), you slowly start to realise that you are driving a lightweight car with an EPS .

Though the engine produces 132Nm of torque it's not enough against the diesel hatches, especially if you're running at a low rpm. In my part of the country it is a little issue as we don't have many long and deserted highways here. When you slow down and then accelerate, all those diesels with their torque suddenly jumps in front of you. Soon the traffic eases and the Etios leaves them in dust but it really is annoying when you have to overtake the same cars 4-5 times during a trip. I wish it had more torque. I know it's better than any other petrol car in the segment but I wish it had just a little more punch. One important thing to note here is that it's not practical to keep the engine at the peak torque rpm of 3000 all the time unlike the diesels for which it's often around 2000rpm. The engine is not very revv happy. It gets noisy too soon. At rpms around 3000 it sounds very good but it gets too loud above 3500 rpm.

Gearbox:
The 5 speed gearbox has very smooth gearshifts. And you can shift easily with half or even quarter clutch. But I find the 1st gear to be a bit odd. It lacks range. You will have to shift to second very quickly and you wont feel any pull until you cross 2500 rpm. But within the city, you wont need to shift again once you're in 2nd gear. You can drive at moderate speeds to very slow speeds in 2nd. This makes the Etios a good city car.

Riding comfort and suspension
Good high seating position makes ingress and egress easy though I sometimes bang my knees against that area under the steering wheel. As I have indicated earlier, all the seats are comfortable to sit on. You wont feel like 'sitting in' it though because the foam is not as thick as you see in some other cars. The Etios is said to have a very good suspension but I'm not very happy with it's ride at low speeds. It's comfortable at high speeds but at low to moderate speeds, the rear suspension bottoms out at times! Don't know if this is unique to my car only. It's not as smooth as say...Swift at low speeds. It's good but not as good as I thought it would be. I've heard that Etios's suspension is tuned for high speeds but I don't think that is the case here. Any help regarding this issue will be much appreciated. By the way, I haven't had ANY noise and vibration or water seepage issue with the Etios so far as reported by many.

The Mileage Story
Like many Etios owners on Team-BHP itself, I was very worried about it's fuel efficiency as I was getting a maximum of around 13 kmpl. I told this to a guy at Toyota whom I know well and he first told me to wait until the vehicle crosses 3500 km. Didn't notice anything much after crossing 3500. He then asked me to wait until some new equipment arrives from the UK. It was around that time that Toyota recalled the Etios for that fuel hose replacement. I was told that the replacement wont affect the FE at all and that it's a very minor leak. But I noticed a serious improvement in FE after the replacement. So I filled the tank and drove at 60-70 kmph through the outskirts of the city for about 75 km and the mileage returned was a stunning 18.66 kmpl! This trip was followed by a long trip of around 600 kms. The driving was aggressive at speeds of over 110 kmph and despite of the long idling at two places, it returned an overall FE figure of 15.7 which is very satisfying. I don't know what caused this sudden improvement in mileage. I saw the messages sent by the customers to that executive claiming a mileage of 17 and 18 waaay before they recalled the cars. So I cant tell what actually happened. Maybe other Etios owners here can throw some light on this.

After Sales Service experience

After Sales service of Toyota has been very satisfying SO FAR. There's a good healthy competition among the guys which is very beneficial for the customer. The quality of service is very good. You are unlikely to experience the same problem twice in a Toyota. No wonder why people here adore and respect the Toyota badge.

Problems faced so far

Brake squealing and some slight(but irritating) rattle inside the cabin.
Status:Fixed. Polished and interchanged the rear brake shoes. Reset the dashboard and the passenger air bag. Covered under warranty.

Inaccuracy of the fuel gauge. Sometimes the empty blinker square comes on and after some time, two squares appear. after some time it changes to one again! This keeps happening.
Status: Not fixed. They've told me to make sure that the problem is actually there because they say it's not easy to pull out everything.

Suspension issue
Status: Not fixed. Don't know what to do about this. Should I ask the guys at Toyota to fix this or is this typical of the Etios?

Overall Ownership Experience

The car has completed around 5000 km and overall I'm very satisfied with it. It's a real value for money. In my humble opinion, it's one of the most practical family cars out there and definitely the best in the segment. It can satisfy the driving enthusiast in you, has got acres of space for the rest of the family, has a cavernous boot good enough for those long vacation tours...and the list goes on. Yes the dashboard area and some other areas in the cabin should have been better. But for those who can live with it(or are patient enough to mod it ), it's the best option in the segment. It's no gamechanger like the XUV 500. It's not luxurious but it's practical. Good performance and comfort under the same roof at an affordable price. That's what this car is all about.

Cant say anything about the maintenance costs now as I haven't used up the 3 free services.

Some random thoughts
  • A better DIS is sorely missed. A 'current FE' gauge would have been great.
  • Height adjustment should've been there. You have to be very tall to see that area in front of the nose.
  • The thick A pillar is a bit of a problem while negotiating those 'L' shaped/90degree curves as it obstructs vision.
  • Good visibility all around. Without the sunfilms, it's a bit like being in a glass cage. The downside is that the cabin gets heated up very quickly if parked under the sun
  • There's no reading light for the rear seat passengers.
  • An analog fuel gauge would have been better as the current one is nowhere near accurate. Resetting the trip meter while refueling is the only way to roughly calculate the distance to empty.
  • A temperature gauge would've been nice too. The current system only helps you save your life after everything has gone wrong.
  • The stock horn is better suited for an auto rickshaw.
  • The rough plastic used in the dashboard area is a bit of a dirt magnet so is the stock fabric seats.
  • The single wiper does a surprisingly good job.
  • The front door panels should be made of better quality plastic since they have a speaker in it. At high bass you can hear it vibrating.
  • It wont cost them a fortune to hide those screws in the cabin.
  • Headlights get dimmer even when you use the power windows(when idling). Normal?!
  • It's a 'fill it shut it forget it' kinda car. No frequent inspections required.
  • The idling rpm goes well under 1000 when the AC is off. It's difficult to get the car moving from 0. You have to give a decent amount of throttle otherwise the engine will stall. So, to an extent you are forced to use the AC in the city.

Last edited by fast&furious : 25th February 2012 at 11:03.
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Old 24th February 2012, 21:20   #2
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Default re: My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report

OK it's time for some pics...
My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-etios8.jpg

My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-etios5.jpg

My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-etios-6.jpg

My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-etios1.jpg

My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-etios4.jpg

My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-etios6.jpg

Now I wont call that ugly. Worse examples are there. Figo, Wagon R, NSD etc. It definitely is not the worst looking car in India as some people have been saying.

My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-etios2.jpg

Doesn't look good from behind but much better than the Verito IMO. See the image below.

My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-from_above.jpg

Not too bad right?

My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-door.jpg
A view of the left-front door panel.

My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-apillar.jpg

The thick A pillar obstructs vision while negotiating 90 degree curves.

My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-dashboard_view.jpg

A view of the dashboard. This is the best image I have of it .

My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-front_seat.jpgMy Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-rear_seat1.jpg
Replaced the fabrics with these art leather ones.

My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-night_console.jpgMy Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-etios_instrument-cluster.jpg

My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-boot.jpg
Cavernous boot!

Now lets go under the hood.
My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-battery.jpg
Is this thing reliable?!

My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-fuse_box.jpg
Fuse box.Neat.

My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-hirn.jpg
New and old horns.

Last edited by fast&furious : 25th February 2012 at 09:58.
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Old 25th February 2012, 12:20   #3
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Default re: My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report

Mods note: Thread moved to Initial Ownership Experience & Report from Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 25th February 2012, 14:35   #4
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Default Re: My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report

Congrats on the Black Ghost. It looks damn good in black, it would have been my choice after the Red, we got, had it not been available. This is a nice comprehensive review and I am sure a lot of Etios prospective buyers will benefit from it. I can vouch for this car's driveability. As for your FE, I doubt if it is anyway affected by the hoses changes. I have extracted 18-19 (-20) on highway runs with controlled driving at speeds ranging from 60-100 on Mumbai Pune Expressway. Currently ours returns 12-14 in Pune City crawling traffic consistently that too driven by a novice driver.

Last edited by parsh : 25th February 2012 at 14:52.
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Old 25th February 2012, 14:52   #5
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Default Re: My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report

Quote:
Originally Posted by parsh View Post
Congrats on the Black Ghost. It looks damn good in black, it would have been my choice after the Red, we got, had it not been available. This is a nice comprehensive review and I am sure a lot Etios prospective buyers will benefit from it. I can vouch for this car's driveability. As for your FE, I doubt if it is anyway affected by the hoses changes. I have extracted 18-19 on highway runs with controlled driving at speeds ranging from 60-100 on Mumbai Pune Expressway. Currently ours returns 12-14 in Pune City crawling traffic consistently that too not driven by a novice driver.
Thanks Parsh. It does look good in both red and black. And it's not an eyesore, is it? The reason why I associate the FE with the hoses change is because before it I was getting only 12-13 kmpl even on highways. So something else might have happened when they changed those hoses.

By the way, do you have the suspension and that engine rpm (with ac off) issues with your car?
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Old 25th February 2012, 15:02   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fast&furious View Post
Thanks Parsh. It does look good in both red and black. And it's not an eyesore, is it? The reason why I associate the FE with the hoses change is because before it I was getting only 12-13 kmpl even on highways. So something else might have happened when they changed those hoses.

By the way, do you have the suspension and that engine rpm (with ac off) issues with your car?
Oh yeah it looks fab. Not an eyesore absolutely, it is much better looking than the competition atleast and no comparison to Logan/Verito as such.

Frankly, I feel your driving habits may have improved or your driving got tuned to how to better drive Etios, that is mostly why you must be seeing increase in FE. The FEs I quote are since before the time of replacement of the hoses in our Etios and till now.

Haven's seen any effect like that as you mention with both a/c on/off. It just pulls away seemlessly without throttle asa clutch is engaged and off the brake.
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Old 25th February 2012, 15:45   #7
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Default Re: My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report

Congratulation on owning the T badge, i am sure the association will be long and painless. Etios has some positives and some negatives, and for you the positives were far important hence you bought the car. Please do not explain or be defensive about it.

The car looks good, surely there could have been improvements but then which car is perfect? Also as long as you are happy with the FE don't bother why and how it happened
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Old 25th February 2012, 15:53   #8
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Thanks for the wonderful review. Black on Etios looks fantastic. One of my colleague is getting a Silver G-D delivered today. He was favouring black but his family was against it. He will definitely regret if he looks at your pics. The FE you are getting seems to be on the higher side. My relative owns a petrol variant and is able to extract only 15 - 16 on highways.
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Old 25th February 2012, 16:12   #9
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Default Re: My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report

Congratulations Fast&Furious

Your "Q Class" Beast looks super cool in those black pictures also the picture of interiors you posted are looking much better than what i had personally seen in Etios, which i saw while making initial inquiry and a Test Drive request which was turned downed being Sunday .

Toyota is known for its After sales service, I would like to know how was you experience regarding the same as in your post you have mentioned of inaccurate fuel gauge and suspension problem still persists.

What actual problem you have been facing regarding the suspension issue ?

The FE which you mentioned is really good for a 1.5 litre Sedan, better than some of the petrol hatchback's.

Wish you a happy and a safe ride
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Old 25th February 2012, 16:27   #10
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Thanks guys.
Quote:
Originally Posted by parsh View Post
Frankly, I feel your driving habits may have improved or your driving got tuned to how to better drive Etios, that is mostly why you must be seeing increase in FE.

Haven's seen any effect like that as you mention with both a/c on/off. It just pulls away seemlessly without throttle asa clutch is engaged and off the brake.
I noticed the improvement on the next day itself. Since I was getting a very low FE, I was driving very conservatively then. So I don't think it's a change in driving habit that resulted in better mileage. And like mayankjha1806 said, why bother about the cause if you're happy with the outcome .

Quote:
Originally Posted by guyfrmblr View Post
The FE you are getting seems to be on the higher side. My relative owns a petrol variant and is able to extract only 15 - 16 on highways.
Initially, I drove the car very conservatively to see by how much the FE has improved. I think that's why I got 18.66kmpl. Later, driving aggressively it was reduced to 15.7.

Last edited by fast&furious : 25th February 2012 at 16:29.
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Old 25th February 2012, 16:38   #11
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Default Re: My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report

Quote:
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Thanks guys.

I noticed the improvement on the next day itself. Since I was getting a very low FE, I was driving very conservatively then. So I don't think it's a change in driving habit that resulted in better mileage. And like mayankjha1806 said, why bother about the cause if you're happy with the outcome .


Initially, I drove the car very conservatively to see by how much the FE has improved. I think that's why I got 18.66kmpl. Later, driving aggressively it was reduced to 15.7.
Thats quite a thing. But yeah one way is why bother when things are good, carry on . Your aggressive FEs are quite similar to mine, 14-16 on highways. But drive it well & in limits and it can get above 19.
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Old 25th February 2012, 16:42   #12
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Default Re: My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report

Your Etios looks great in Etios, and i agree that it's one of the best colours that the car has, though in the current fuel price scenario the D-4d makes more sense, my choice will be the petrol model.
Good to know that Nippon Toyota has good service, in their earlier days(early 2000s) my relatives had to go to Ernakulam for major work on their Qualises.
P.S.-And right to say that our part of the land has no straight lonely highways but to compensate for that we have one of the curviest roads.!!!
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Old 25th February 2012, 17:05   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by driving_smartly View Post
Congratulations Fast&Furious

Your "Q Class" Beast looks super cool in those black pictures also the picture of interiors you posted are looking much better than what i had personally seen in Etios, which i saw while making initial inquiry and a Test Drive request which was turned downed being Sunday .

Toyota is known for its After sales service, I would like to know how was you experience regarding the same as in your post you have mentioned of inaccurate fuel gauge and suspension problem still persists.

What actual problem you have been facing regarding the suspension issue ?

The FE which you mentioned is really good for a 1.5 litre Sedan, better than some of the petrol hatchback's.

Wish you a happy and a safe ride
Thanks! The after sales service is simply superb. They are very friendly and are patient enough to listen to your worries about the car. I did tell them about the fuel gauge issue. They said they will definitely fix it if such a problem is there. But since it's a time consuming task they requested me to confirm it once again. There's only one Toyota dealer in my city and it's very crowded in there. You have to understand their situation also.

I haven't told them about the suspension issue. It's very comfortable at high speeds. I expected it to be the same at low speeds as well. But it's a little bouncy. It wont be a big issue, but it may not be as good as some other cars in the segment. Because of this bounciness, the rear suspension bottoms out at times while going over speed humps. Would like to know if other Etios owners like Parsh have experienced something like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
Your Etios looks great in Etios, and i agree that it's one of the best colours that the car has, though in the current fuel price scenario the D-4d makes more sense, my choice will be the petrol model.
Good to know that Nippon Toyota has good service, in their earlier days(early 2000s) my relatives had to go to Ernakulam for major work on their Qualises.
Then I must say that it's a dramatic improvement in service. They are very good these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
P.S.-And right to say that our part of the land has no straight lonely highways but to compensate for that we have one of the curviest roads.!!!
That's true. Nurburgring of India!
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Old 25th February 2012, 17:25   #14
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Default Re: My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report

Congrats for your new ETIOS. Before launch of this car there was a lot of hype that this car will beat ANHC and many cars in this segment, Though everyone would agree that this car has fallen short of those expectations but nevertheless this is one VFM car in indian market. Looks may not be that great but neither are they very bad. It looks good, will give 5.5 - 6 on the scale of 10. But the biggest plus for this car is it has tag Toyota which can be a synonym to trust and reliability. Looks can be enjoyed a lot in initial days and slowly when days become months looks really don't matter that much as the performance. If you are satisfied with performance of your car and you think you got the worth for money put in by you then don't bother about the negatives as they may be assumption of others.

Enjoy your new car and drive safe.
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Old 25th February 2012, 20:35   #15
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Default Re: My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report

Thanks.
Attached is an image of the tacho reading while idling with AC OFF. The reading is close to 600 I guess. This happens randomly (sometimes it does idle at 1000 with AC OFF). With AC ON, it's somewhere near 1000. I have to give a fair amount of throttle to raise the rpm and even then the engine sometimes stalls or comes very close to stalling. A friend of mine who drove the car also pointed out this issue. Strange.
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My Black Ghost : Toyota Etios V Ownership Report-tacho_ac_off.jpg  

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