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Old 31st March 2011, 23:54   #1
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Default Toyota ETIOS Ownership review : 2,000km report

I start this review by kicking myself for being a lazy bum for taking 2 months to write this review. Enough said, here it goes:

I started out looking for a good hatchback (Ford Figo Vs. Honda Jazz), and laboured over it for 5-6 months (the curse of Team-BHP!). But when Dec. 1 came and I heard about the Etios, my family decided to book immediately. We figured that we can continue looking for a hatchback, and if we find something we'll cancel our booking. Long story short, we ended up liking the Etios a lot after our test drive, and decided to put the hatchback on the back-burner (perhaps to be reconsidered if and when the Ford Fiesta hatchback makes it India side). Anyway, we don't regret that choice, and are really enjoying this car. But of course, like pretty much every car that exists, it's not for everyone. If you are looking to book / buy this car, I hope my report helps you out.

Toyota Etios
Variant: V
KMs done: ~2,000km
Services done: 1st Free service @ 1,000km
Cost On-Road: ~7.2L
Mileage: 12.8 (city, without AC), 11.9 (city, with 90% AC)

Sales Experience
Bought this car from Uttam Toyota in Delhi. Had a very good experience with them and recommend them. I got delivery towards the end of Jan, and that was quite punctual of them as I was supposed to get in Feb. (I booked the first day possible). The only things they messed up on was not having the accessories (painted bumper protectors and mud guards) ready when I was to take delivery despite several calls made by me in the days prior. But to their credit they had someone come over a day or two later and install them at my house. So no cribbing there. Other than that I still haven't got my RC, but that I suppose would be more the fault of the transport dept. than theirs. Their customer care people diligently followed up on any issues.
Also kudos to them for giving me the following accessories free (and that too being waived off just before billing - without me even having to ask / negotiate!): Rear door (i.e. trunk) chrome garnish , trunk luggage tray, USB & Aux-In Port.


POSITIVES
  • Smooth drive - the fact that the car came with Bridgestone Turanzas helps.
  • Fantastic transmission - gears are smooth yet crisp, and the ratios are so beautifully maintained that you don't have to keep downshifting as compared to most cars.
  • Peppy cars - good fun to accelerate, definitely makes use of the 1.5L engine.
  • Well priced - ok, 7L is not such a steal especially when you contrast it with the advertised starting price of the lowest variant being around 4.6L (although ex-showroom), but it's cheaper than many more.
  • Excellent exteriors - IMHO this car is very well designed and pleasing to look at. It doesn't have the oomph factor that some other cars (like the Honda City) have, but I find it hard to find any angle at which it doesn't look good. Paint quality is also good, and generally a solid exterior.
  • ABS and Front Airbags.
  • Mileage is decent - I was expecting a little better, but it is good nevertheless.
  • Fantastic space - you have to see it to believe it. Oodles of leg room in the back seat even with the driver's seat shifted all the way back.
  • Comfortable interiors - seats are very very comfortable. They are more the firm variety than soft cushy seats. IMHO not only is that better for your back etc. but will also translate to more durable upholstery.
  • Trunk space is indeed remarkable. I forget how many liters it is, but it is HUGE!
  • Decently prices accessories - not very expensive at all. For e.g. the USB and Aux-In add-on for the stereo cost about 500-600. Take that Honda Jazz owners!
  • Decently good AC - though yet to try it out in the peak of the dirty Delhi summer....(which is around the corner. )
  • Single wiper surprisingly cleans very very well.

NEGATIVES
  • Hard plastic interiors - the plastics used are regrettable. I am not in the auto industry and don't know how the costing works, but I wonder if they could have just made it a little less tacky. For e.g. the black plastic used on the top of the dash is actually decent and looks good (see 2nd last picture). But the grey plastic all around is very hard, and very basic - not luxurious at all. But durable.
  • Noise - this car is a little noisy (think VW Polo). I don't know whether that is more of a comment on the engine being noisy or the lack of damping towards the firewall / underbody of the car, but unless you have music on, you can certainly hear the car. However, it's certainly liveable and not a deal breaker.
  • Tacky speed dials etc. - ok so I can live with and get used to the display being in the center, but why on earth did Toyota make such cheap tacky dials I will never know. They are basically like stickers stuck on a piece of clear plastic. Unecessary cost cutting.
  • Bad after-AC smell - This car unfortunately also suffers like many others I have seen with the bad after-AC smell. This happens when you use the AC for a while and then turn it off (say when it is not that hot, and you have achieved the cooling you wanted). After this if you leave your blowers on, in about 20 seconds you will get this putrid damp smell. So far Toyota has not been able to sort this out. (more under).
  • Miscellaneous quirks and victims of cost-cutting (see below). Basically a no frills car.

First service
This is basically a waste of time. In essence they make you bring the car in only to give it a wash (wow), and for a 'general check-up.' Anyway, I did my part by getting it to the service station. That's as far as I would blame Toyota - that the first service is quite useless - but what follows is more a criticism of Galaxy Toyota in Okhla. Wow. These guys are genius. They turned my supposed 30min - 1 hour service into a 3 hour ordeal, out of which the service advisor spent 2 hours and 59 minutes trying to sell me under-body coating and 3M paint treatment. I didn't give in to that B.S. though. More infuriating was the fact that they didn't even really start working on my car till 2 hours into it, because the guy couldn't find my details in their system. Super Wow. Anyway, I did repeat about 4 times to them my bad after-AC smell problem. Well, supposedly they opened up a whole bunch of stuff and cleaned filters etc. but no dice. It didn't solve the problem . They basically threw up their hands and said they will ask Toyota on this. Let's just say I am expecting very little.

Miscellaneous quirks they could have done without:
  • No electric side RVMs - even my 4 year old zen estilo has this. C'mon, this isn't a premium feature.
  • No auto lock feature on the door - again, this is something that my Estilo has (and AFAIK all other Toyota cars have). I just think that having this feature (where the doors lock themselves after you reach a speed ~20 kmph) is crucial when you think about driving with kids, thieves at red lights, car jacking etc. I would still be okay if I could get it fitted for an extra cost, but Toyota has no option for this. Not cool.
  • Only one reverse light - yet another feature where my 4L estilo bests this car. I think it's just common sense that when someone wants to reverse their car at night, they are going to want to see what's behind them on both sides. According to the service technician this is "new technology" which made me almost punch his face. Maybe they should make cars autorickshaw style with 3 wheels and call it "new technology." Thumbs down on this one too.
  • Missing driver's window power window auto open - again in my Zen Estilo, if I press on the driver's window button for 2 seconds and leave it, it will automatically open the window fully on it's own. This is great for when you have to pay parking guys at the malls, and for toll booths etc. I wish they had included this feature.
  • Poor quality floor mats - although they look good and felt great when I bought them, in about a month of use the driver's side has almost worn down to half where I put my right foot. And I don't drive so much, and definitely take care of my car.
  • ICE - sounds is actually not too bad, but of course quite basic. The weird thing is that the provision for the rear parcel tray speakers (6.5") require you to not just cut the metal bracket, but also do an aftermarket cutting of the fabric rear parcel tray. Could have been implemented better as it leaves you to the mercy of sloppy aftermarket guys.
  • Rear defogger does not turn off automatically. So you need to remember to turn it off once it has defogged, otherwise I assume this is going to go bust soon.
  • Not so much of a negative, but apparently the side skirting and mud guards are incompatible. So it's a either or situation. Initially I had wanted both, and had only assumed that I could get both. But while taking delivery they showed me why installing the side skirts would disable installation of front mud guards. So I took the mud guards (practical choice), and ditched the side skirts (aesthetic, expensive choice). Not really a negative, but may be helpful to some.
  • Middle AC vents are both on the left side. Not a biggie, but while driving my left hand misses the direct cool breeze of AC air on sunny days.

CONCLUSION
All and all I am very happy with this car and think it's definitely VFM. Originally the thought of buying this car was for my family, who would rarely (5%) drive it themselves. I don't approve of buying fancy expensive cars just for the driver to enjoy. And this is a perfect balance in between a good solid reliable car, and being comfortable. IMHO it's a perfect driver driven car for the Indian mainstream. What I did not expect was that it would be a fun car to drive yourself as well! The great gear ratios will also ensure that driver's don't screw the hell out of the transmission as most of them are apparently cursed to do to your car. So yes, thumbs up overall.

Here are some pictures. Do let me know if you guys want more info or any specific pictures.
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Last edited by vebmetal : 1st April 2011 at 13:02.
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Old 1st April 2011, 13:29   #2
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Default Re: Toyota ETIOS Ownership review : 2,000km report

Thats a comprehensive report vebmetal. Thanks for sharing.

Have you any idea of the on road prices of one model below the V ?
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Old 1st April 2011, 14:28   #3
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Default Re: Toyota ETIOS Ownership review : 2,000km report

Now that's what I call a perfect ownership report. Congratulations vebmetal for your brand new Toyota Etios. Keep this thread updated with service experience and more photos. Drive Safe.
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Old 1st April 2011, 15:49   #4
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Default Re: Toyota ETIOS Ownership review : 2,000km report

Congrats vebmetal. Very intensively done, I must say. This must be a ready reckoner for all prospective Etios owners.
Enjoy the drive.

Last edited by Utopian : 1st April 2011 at 15:50. Reason: Typo
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Old 1st April 2011, 15:57   #5
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Default Re: Toyota ETIOS Ownership review : 2,000km report

First of all, congrats on your car.
Second, if it is even mildly inconvenient, go to Galaxy, Moti Nagar. Your experience at Galaxy Okhla is quite similar to my own sole experience at that workshop. Suffice to say that a simple email to Toyota did wonders for my car, and caused a lot of stress to the lazy people at Galaxy, Okhla. Galaxy, Moti Nagar is excellent and even though I stay 25 km from the place, my car is always serviced there. Once you build a relationship, they even come home for service pickup and other smaller maintenance stuff.
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Old 1st April 2011, 16:45   #6
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Default Re: Toyota ETIOS Ownership review : 2,000km report

Quote:
Originally Posted by vebmetal View Post
All and all I am very happy with this car and think it's definitely VFM. So yes, thumbs up overall. Here are some pictures. Do let me know if you guys want more info or any specific pictures.
First of all congratulations & thanks for sharing a great initial owneship experience, this being the first one for Etios at least for me. It's the tendency of human being to say only good things about any of his possessions. What I liked most in your review was accepting the car with whatever lacunae it has & confessing on that. Despite the shortcomings you are able to enjoy the car & are satisfied with your choice. I can only wish you get the maximum out of your car & keep us posted, of course with lots of pictures.
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Old 1st April 2011, 16:47   #7
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Default Re: Toyota ETIOS Ownership review : 2,000km report

Congratulations on your new ETIOS V. The exterior indeed looks quite lovely but, as you rightly pointed out the interior plastic quality leaves a lot to be desired, especially near the dash.

Also, the front single wiper does not look asthetically too nice.

However, overall a great VFM product.

Wish you happy milecrunching on the same.
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Old 1st April 2011, 16:50   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddy View Post
Thats a comprehensive report vebmetal. Thanks for sharing.

Have you any idea of the on road prices of one model below the V ?
Eddy - The one below this is the G variant, OTR Delhi is about 6.05L.

Happy Motoring !!
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Old 1st April 2011, 17:09   #9
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Default Re: Toyota ETIOS Ownership review : 2,000km report

Superb initial report on your Etios verbmetal. The car is VFM for sure but the cost cutting on the interiors is evident. Even the empty wheel wells dont look that great. On the other hand the car has a fabulous engine and you have the reliability of the Toyota badge. The car will go on forever.

Looking forward to regular updates as you keep piling on the kms. Congratulations and drive safe !!
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Old 1st April 2011, 19:09   #10
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Default Re: Toyota ETIOS Ownership review : 2,000km report

COngrats on the Etios. Seems like a good overall and practical package. But is vfm as compared to a similar priced Manza? Would you not have got more space and features for the same amount in comparison to this variant of the Etios?
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Old 2nd April 2011, 11:25   #11
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Default Re: Toyota ETIOS Ownership review : 2,000km report

Thats a very good report though after crunching 2k kms. Maybe that has given better incite into the car. The car's first hand feedback would be valuable to many. Though the interiors are letdown, overall seems a good package.

How is the driver seating, lumber and neck comfort/support for say long drives? Also, I thought the rear seat thigh support was not so good although overall comfortable.

Last edited by parsh : 2nd April 2011 at 11:31.
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Old 2nd April 2011, 11:31   #12
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Default Re: Toyota ETIOS Ownership review : 2,000km report

Thank you all for your responses! I hope it has been insightful. The next major event in this car will be at 10,000km (second free servicing), so will update then. Other than that, of course, if someone wants specific photos or have any specific questions, do let me know.
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Old 2nd April 2011, 20:03   #13
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Congrats on the new car! Amazing pics.. Nice ownership review.. The dashboard is designed a bit differently when compared to other cars... Will have to wait and see as to how well it is welcome by the users..

I am especially curious as to does it take an effort to view your dashboard console while driving?

Also did you happen to compare it with vento/manza and how it compares to them..

Happy driving!!
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Old 4th April 2011, 19:52   #14
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Default Re: Toyota ETIOS Ownership review : 2,000km report

Quote:
Originally Posted by vebmetal View Post
I start this review by kicking myself for being a lazy bum for taking 2 months to write this review.
That much more time for observations . Good to finally see your review on the forum. This will greatly help other (potential) Etios owners.

Quote:
Fantastic transmission - gears are smooth yet crisp, and the ratios are so beautifully maintained that you don't have to keep downshifting as compared to most cars.
Quote:
Peppy cars - good fun to accelerate, definitely makes use of the 1.5L engine.
Beauty of the Etios is - unlike the Manza & Dzire, it's a great car to drive, as well as be chauffeur-driven in!

Quote:
Hard plastic interiors - the plastics used are regrettable. I am not in the auto industry and don't know how the costing works, but I wonder if they could have just made it a little less tacky. For e.g. the black plastic used on the top of the dash is actually decent and looks good (see 2nd last picture). But the grey plastic all around is very hard, and very basic - not luxurious at all. But durable.
Built to a cost yes, but then, so is the car well-priced. At that retail $$$, I don't really have a problem with the Etios' interiors. The Ol' Honda City also has very basic interiors; yet, I never found complaint with them. And they sure as hell were durable.

Quote:
Tacky speed dials etc. - ok so I can live with and get used to the display being in the center, but why on earth did Toyota make such cheap tacky dials I will never know. They are basically like stickers stuck on a piece of clear plastic. Unecessary cost cutting.
I agree. The dials look real cheesy.

Quote:
No auto lock feature on the door
Especially in India, this is an extremely useful feature. Plus, it doesn't cost the manufacturer anything really! Strange of them to miss out after all the crores worth of market research they perform.

If it helps, get an Autocop / similar security system with auto-locking doors functionality.

Congrats! Here's wishing you many kms of fuss-free ownership. And do drive safe!
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Old 6th April 2011, 16:54   #15
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Default Re: Toyota ETIOS Ownership review : 2,000km report

Very good review. In regard to smell from AC . My Dzire also have the same problem i.e. when I switch on-->Switch off-->switch on the AC , I experience foul smell of dampness. Is anybody through some light on it
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