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Old 27th June 2011, 09:20   #1
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Default Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review

The Toyota Etios Liva has been launched in India at a price of Rs. 3.99 - 5.99 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you'll like:

• A neutral family hatchback with the "T" badge
• Spacious interiors can easily carry 5 adults
• Super light controls, especially steering & short-throw clutch. Effortless to drive within the city
• Well-tuned suspension. Safe handling and flat ride
• Safety package (Airbags, ABS & EBD) optional on middle variant too
• Toyota’s fuss-free ownership experience & excellent after-sales

What you won't:

• 1.2L engine lacks bottom end; isn't a class-topper like the Etios 1.5 (from which it is derived)
• Cost-cutting glaringly obvious in many areas
• Economy-grade interior quality & unconventional dashboard
• Missing equipment (climate control, height adjustable driver's seat etc.)
• Poor insulation. Engine, suspension & road noise are prominent

The Liva Diesel Review can be found at this link.

The Liva 1.5L TRD Sportivo Review can be found at this link.

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

Last edited by GTO : 27th March 2013 at 16:02. Reason: Adding link to 1.5L Review
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Old 27th June 2011, 09:21   #2
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Default Re: Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review

To say that the hatchback customer is spoilt for choice would be an understatement. The B segment space is a slugfest, and one that Maruti & Hyundai closely guard as "their turf". Clearly a segment where it's the survival of the fittest, yet the one with all the action & real volumes. If you don't sell a well-rounded product, and support it with marketing & distribution brilliance, have to watch from the sidelines. Just ask some truly competent cars that have failed to crack the code. Examples : The Tata Indica Vista (fast losing favour with the market), Honda Jazz (priced to become a dud from day one), Fiat Punto (never really took off), Skoda Fabia (2 initial years of failure, now slowly climbing) and more. On the other hand, some recent launches that made a difference are the Hyundai i20 (a truly premium hatchback), Ford Figo (well-rounded, VFM price) and the Volkswagen Polo (aspirational brand, great looker, average engines).

Toyota's approach to the Indian market can best be described as a slow & steady one. They sure take their own sweet time in launching products. Yet, whatever the Japanese giant builds in India usually goes on to top the segment. Take the case of the Fortuner; 5 years too late, but when the SUV arrived, it garnered previously unseen volumes in the Rs. 20 lakh space (Related Article). The Altis is the No.1 C+ segment sedan (frequently jostling with the quick Chevy Cruze), while the Innova continues its undisturbed run in the 9 - 11 lakh MUV segment. After establishing a foothold in these segments, Toyota now has volumes in its sight....volumes that only the sub-7 lakh category can provide. First came the Etios sedan (Link to Review) that had 20,000 bookings in 1.5 months of launch, even though a petrol is currently the only engine offered (1.4L turbo-diesel will be launched in 2 quarters). The Etios had the Dzire square in its line of fire, while the Liva does the Swift. Toyota wants a 10% market-share in India by year 2015; the Etios sedan & hatchback play a vital role to this target.

Toyota delayed the Liva’s launch by 3 months to clear up the Etios’ backlog, and because of the Japanese tragedy that led to a temporary production cut. A 2nd shift at the plant has been recently kicked in, while production targets have also been revised. Sometime in 2012, Toyota's capacity will be 2,10,000 cars p.a. (vis a vis the earlier 1,50,000). The 5 factors that matter most to this segment are brand (trust), price, fuel economy, space & looks. This is no enthusiast hatchback; yet, look at the Liva through the customer's eyes (the 5 points I mention). I must add that the Liva is the cheapest Toyota on sale anywhere in the world, period. Unfortunately, there's no hiding that fact if you spend some time with the car.

Identical to the Etios, save for the boot & shortened wheelbase, there is no doubt that the Liva is the better looking sibling. The proportions are just right, and the design wears very clean inoffensive lines. Equally, it simply doesn't look as contemporary as say, the Hyundai i20 or the upcoming all-new Swift. Still, like the Figo, the Liva wears clothes that are neutral, and won't excite or offend anyone. The smiling front grille is flanked by traditional looking headlamps. If you squint your eyes & look, you will see a lot of the Innova at the front. The side profile makes for my favourite (pictured in the opening post), though I found the rear rather boring. Toyota spices up the look of the fully-loaded VX variant (our test car) with all-round skirts & a rear spoiler. Works for me, this clean design suits my palette. The lower variants, on the other hand, will look very bland without the OEM body kit.

No one knows how to diet like the Japanese, and the Liva is amongst the lightest hatchbacks in this segment (along with the Micra and the i10). I liked the paint quality, especially of the blue shade that my test car wore. While the panel gaps are consistent all through, they are unusually large (by Toyota standards) in some areas. Case in point, the large gap between the doors & the roof section. Look closely at the exterior shots and you'll know what I am talking about.

Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review-livaspeccomparo1.jpg

Toyota equips the Liva VX (top end) variant with dual airbags, ABS + EBD brakes, keyless entry, 4 power windows, alloy wheels, cooled glovebox, rear windscreen wash & wipe, steering mounted audio controls, 4 speaker DVD / MP3 system and an audio remote control. Conspicuous by their absence are climate control, a full MID, driver's seat height adjustment and USB / AUX audio port (sold separately as a Toyota accessory).

The entry-level Liva is bare basic (not even power steering) and will only appeal to those who are on a very strict budget. In a welcome move, Toyota even provides the safety package (Airbags, ABS & EBD) on the G (middle) variant, unlike its competitors who do so exclusively on the highest trim level. The mid-variant with Airbags & ABS @ 5.05 lakhs makes the most sense to the informed customer. For the top variant, the price difference to the Swift is only about Rs. 9,000 & a close fight between the two is guaranteed. However, the fully-loaded i20 costs Rs. 34,000 more (of course, we haven't included the AT / Sun-roof version in this comparison) and offers a much longer equipment list & truly premium quality!
Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review-livaprices.jpg

Identical face to the Etios:

Clean, proportionate rear 3-quarter profile. Body kit (standard on the fully-loaded VX variant) looks neat:

This unique shade of blue is very photogenic:

Conventional headlamp design:

A closer look at the front fog lamps & bumper skirt:

The side skirts:

Single wiper has a large sweep. Excellent for driver, not so for the co-passenger:

Ribbed panel keeps roof light & rigid:

185 / 60 R15 tyres mounted on 12 spoke alloy wheels. Not a bad design for OEM. Wheels must have a narrow width as the tyres look more like 175 when viewed from the front / back. Lesser variants get 175 / 65 R14 tyres on regular steel wheels:

Lack of wheel well cladding reeks of cost cutting. Exposed wires on metal look ugly:

Outdated "flap type" door handles went out of fashion a decade back. Instead, the Liva ought to wear the "pull type" grab handles that are commonplace with modern cars:

Unlike that of the Etios, the tail-lamps here are well designed & suit the rear profile:

Thick chrome strip is a hit or miss. Most BHPians found it too garish:

Sweet rear spoiler!

Rear bumper skirts:

Last edited by GTO : 5th July 2011 at 21:36.
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Old 27th June 2011, 09:21   #3
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Default Re: Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review

The primary difference between the Liva and the Etios' interior is that, the former's wheelbase (2,460 mm) is shorter by 90 mm.

This isn't your typical tall boy hatchback and is positioned lower than the likes of the i10. Thus, you don't walk into the Liva as much as you bend down and sit "onto" the seat. The doors shut like that of any other light Japanese hatchback; don't expect a solid thud. If you've been in the Etios, you will feel right at home. The awesome, sporty steering wheel looks & feels the best in this class. Next in line to catch your eye is the extremely basic looking, center-mounted instrument console. As much as I like the steering, I hate the instrument console treatment & position. What’s wrong with conventional placement anyway?

Even with the shortened wheelbase, the Liva can easily carry 5 adults. Space packaging is top class & interior room is equal to many C segment sedans. Sure, it doesn't have the living room dimensions of the Etios. The Liva is yet amongst the most spacious hatchbacks in the market, and the back seat is a giant leap ahead of chief competitor, the Swift, in terms of legroom & shoulder room.

The Etios is an entry-level sedan; however, the Liva isn't an entry-level hatchback. Hence, the expectations in terms of interior part quality are different. Spend a little time and the cost cutting is glaringly evident. The Swift definitely edges it out in terms of plastic quality, while any comparisons to cars like the i10 are futile. Nearly all parts are hard to the touch, and you'll never forget that this is the cheapest Toyota on sale in the world. On the positive side, the interior bits & pieces are well-screwed together and panel gaps are uniform. Toyota has made liberal use of red to brighten up the interiors of the VX variant. Plus, the generous use of black (seats, carpeting, hand brake area etc.) is definitely better than the sea of light grey that some other hatchback interiors are dressed in. I quite like the colour combination of black, grey & red. It's different, yet not vulgar like the Figo's coral shade. If you didn't think too much of the center-mounted instrument console, wait till your eyes move to the rudimentary air-conditioner knobs. No, even the top-end Liva is not equipped with climate control. What's more, the air-con controls feel rather basic in their operation too (particularly the slider to choose recirculation / fresh air mode).

The thin front seats offer surprisingly good support, including the backrest. Even the integrated neck restraints do their job in a satisfactory manner. The seat compound & fabric feel durable and should easily outlast abusive use. The seats themselves are neither too soft nor hard. While front seat occupants have the space of a sedan (no elbowing the front passenger when working the gearbox), those on the rear bench will be comfortable as well. The flat floor ensures that the 5th passenger doesn't feel unwanted. And even if I set the driver's seat up for my height (5'10"), I could fit onto the seat right behind. Again, it doesn't have the excessive legroom of the Etios, yet is enough to carry the typical Indian family without complaint. The thin front seats have definitely played a part in liberating space for the back benchers. On the flip side, the rear seat back is flat & lacks any kind of contours for lateral support. I found the thigh support to be acceptable. The super-soft rear neck restraints literally work as cushions and are a great place to rest your head on. Right where the rear passengers lower leg (shin area) would meet the front seats, that area is softly padded. Thus, you can bury your feet under the front seats without worry. The front seat is positioned high enough to give rear passengers a decent amount of foot room as well. I'm not a fan of the rear door armrests that I found too thin to comfortably rest my forearms on.

Toyota has a way of making user-friendly cars. 5 minutes in the Liva and you will feel right at home. The ergonomics are spot-on (save for the instrument console), and all crucial controls are within easy reach of the driver. All-round visibility is great, including the rearward view when backing up. The meaty steering wheel is just fabulous to hold, the leather stitching feeling high quality too. It’s the best wheel from any Toyota in India (including the Camry) and is just the right size. The thick width & flat bottom give it a sporty look. The unit is tilt-adjustable, although the range is very limited (merely 2 inches of travel). Even the top variant Liva VX lacks a height-adjustable driver’s seat, much unlike its competitors. The seat itself isn't placed too low and thus, except for the shortest amongst us, no one should really have an issue. The center console – including meters and audio controls - is subtly tilted toward the driver. The speedometer is easy to read, but the odometer’s casio-like small fonts aren’t. The tiny digital fuel gauge is not user-friendly, and needs a second look to confirm the reading. The rpm counter is positioned to the extreme left; further, the orange rpm needle is quite small (1.xx cm in height) and doesn’t sweep over the numeric dial markings. Those of us who shift by the revv counter will be terribly dissatisfied. The gearshift falls right into your hand, while the pedal arrangement is spot-on too. I could also, without difficulty, adjust the main air-con vents from the driving position. Though I’m not a fan of the center-mounted meter arrangement, I’ll give it this : The frontal visibility is better than in other hatchbacks, as you don’t have to “look over” the instrument console. I find it shocking that the Liva doesn't get any multi-information-display. Two trip meters is the only data that's available.

Some utility items are sorely missed in the Toyota Liva. For instance, driver’s seat height adjustment as mentioned above. Then, the doors don't auto-lock once you start driving. A center roof lamp is absent (there’s only one at the front, next to the rear view mirror). Nor is there a one-touch-down function for the driver’s window. Get this, the power window controls don't even have any kind of marking on them. The Liva doesn’t come installed with a “headlamp on” buzzer either. Be sure to switch the lights off before locking the car. The front seat belts aren’t height-adjustable, a useful feature that the Marutis offer. I feel it’s acceptable to skimp on fancy bells & whistles, but the items listed in this paragraph have utility value on a daily basis! Then, there are the el-cheapo sun visors which really belong in an Alto.

The Liva has a generous number of cubby holes & storage spots on the inside. The front doors have wide door pockets, wide enough for you to pick a coin from their base, and can hold a 1 liter water bottle. The rear doors have 1 liter bottle holders too, in which you can either keep your replenishments or odd items (but not both together). The area ahead of the gear lever has two cup-holders, while there are some additional storage cubicles around the handbrake area, & behind the gear lever. The 13 liter glovebox is fairly deep and, Toyota claims, can hold five 500 ml bottles or a full-size ladies handbag. Seatback pockets are conspicuous by their absence. The 251L boot is standard fare within the segment.

When I tested the Liva, the weather was split between light rains and the bright sun. When it got hot, the air-conditioner performed well. However, I found the blower position I to be useless (hardly any air thrown out). In fact, on your daily drive to work, you'll most probably be using position III (instead of the usual position II).

Funky steering wheel is simply awesome. Strange though, that a designed-for-India car doesn't have the horn pad stretching out more:

Center-mounted instrument console is a negative differentiator. Majority vote against it:

Slick looking red gearshift:

Cheesy fonts & blue highlighting of the meter console. Speedometer is easy to read, RPM counter not so (from driving position):

Thin front seats offer surprisingly good support. Integrated neck restraints (head rests) work well too:

Front seats aren't adjustable for height:

No dead pedal and no space on the left to rest your foot either. You will have to park your left foot under, or ahead of, the clutch on long highway drives:

Unique, lined texture on parts of the dashboard reduces windshield glare:

Front door pockets are well sized, and can hold 1 L bottles. Door pads wear a neat design. Some parts use nicely textured material:

Front door armrests are wide. Unmarked window buttons look odd:

Stock audio has 4 speakers, all at the front (2 on the doors & 2 tweeters on the dashboard). DVD / MP3 compatible. USB / AUX connector sold separately. Has a video port at the back for an after-market TV screen. Sound quality = 7 / 10. Stereo can play DVDs. If you aren’t the iPod type, carry upto 4.7 gigs of MP3s on a single disc (dual-layer single-side DVDs go upto 8.7 GB):

Air-conditioner controls are 10 years too old in look & feel. When was the last time you used a slider for recirculation / fresh air mode? Even the Figo gets a button:

Deep 13 liter glovebox can hold five 500 ml bottles. Maybe even a 14" laptop or the full-size handbag of your girl :

That's the flap you can open to cool the glove-box. Source of cold air is from the air-con duct of the blower:

Manually-adjustable ORVMs do the job:

The unmarked pull-to-open bonnet lever (to the left) feels like it's been picked from a truck! Cable-type headlamp leveler (rotary knob) feels very rudimentary to use. Don't miss the deep cubby hole on the top right:

One bottle holder for rear passengers, along with two long storage spots:

Lack of height-adjustable seatbelts is a shocking omission:

Even with a shorter wheelbase (vis a vis the Etios), rear legroom is sufficient:

Picture with the front passenger seat pushed all the way back:

Floor hump height is minimal (about an inch). 5th occupant's feet won't be fighting for space:

Lots of foot room for rear benchers. Those with XL sized boots won’t have any trouble fitting in. Your shin area will meet softly padded material:

251 Liter boot:

Rear seat can fold down for the airport service trips. Unfortunately, no split folding option for added flexibility:

Last edited by GTO : 5th July 2011 at 21:42.
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Old 27th June 2011, 09:22   #4
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Default Re: Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review

Look at all that empty space in the engine bay:

Friendly Mod Jaggu says "that valve cover looks like it's from the Maruti 800 era of the Nineties!":

First, a word on the diesel. The Liva is rumoured to launch with the Altis’ 1.4L diesel engine, but with a fixed geometry turbo (not the VGT that the Altis is equipped with) by December 2011. Expected power output is in the range of ≈75 BHP. With recent petrol price hikes, the market’s fascination for economical diesels has only gotten stronger. Toyota has the car & the engine ready. However, from my conversation with various Toyota personnel, they seemed to be unanimously averse to ‘waiting periods” and stressed on how it leads to customer complaints. BHPians reported on the pre-launch Liva threads that Toyota has kept about 11,000 Livas ready, at the time of launch, to minimise the waiting period as much as possible.

The Liva's 1.2L 4 cylinder engine is a scaled-down version of the Etios' 1.5L. This DOHC 16v 1,197 cc petrol is rated at 79 BHP (5,600 rpm) and 104 Nm of torque (3,100 rpm). While the output is par for the course in the B segment, the Liva's light kerb weight gives it a power-to-weight ratio of 89 BHP / Tonne. Unfortunately, where the Etios is the class-topper in terms of driveability, the Liva's 1.2L merely does the job; it simply isn't as impressive within the city.

Toyota stressed on how the engine has been tweaked for fuel efficiency. It's conservative state of tune is obvious as soon as you get moving. The Liva lacks the sharp low-end throttle response of its sedan sibling, and bottom-end torque (below 2,000 rpm) is dull. The motor needs to be worked to perform, and you will be making judicious use of the gearbox within the city. I wouldn’t say the motor is weak, but neither is it strong by any stretch of the imagination. For instance, if you are in 2nd gear at 20 kph, acceleration thereon is slow. In the Etios, you can cross a speed breaker and happily drive along in 2nd gear itself. The Liva, however, requires a downshift to 1st. Pep really comes in once the rpm needle crosses 2,000 rpm. The motor feels punchy thereon and, if you keep the engine in the powerband, the Liva will make brisk progress. The Liva will hit a max speed of 50 kph in the short 1st, and 87 kph in 2nd gear. Outright acceleration is about on par with the Swift, though the quick i10 Kappa2 will leave both cars in its dust. The mid-range is where this motor delivers its best performance and thus, overtaking fast moving vehicles isn't a problem (though again, downshift required for most maneuvers). Note that the revv limiter cuts in at only 5,950 rpm. The Liva's refinement levels simply cannot match that of the K Series or the Kappa2; the motor makes its presence felt at all driving speeds. I would say this is more to do with the basic, inadequate cabin insulation rather than the engine per se. You can live with the NVH until 3,500 rpms (though it's always audible). Thereon, the engine gets buzzy and sends the message home loud & clear that it isn't happy at the redline. Best to work the Liva 1.2L between 2,000 - 4,000 rpm.

The 5 speed gearbox's shift quality is decent & the lever slots in nicely. It is the same unit as the Etios, though the gearbox here didn't feel as smooth. Probably because our test car was a brand new example, while the Etios we reviewed had a couple of thousand kms? Urban dwellers will love the (incredibly) short-throw clutch that is just effortless to use. This attribute will definitely help in those bumper to bumper drives from home <-> work. The Liva is poorly insulated from exterior sounds. Engine, road & tyre noise are particularly high, even at 80 - 90 kph. No problem with vibrations or the like though. The cabin is free of any feel of engine / drivetrain movement.

The MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear is well-balanced for Indian driving conditions. Ride quality stays consistently good, even on imperfect road conditions. The spring & damper setup is neither too stiff nor too soft; it's just right for a family hatchback. Where the Swift feels harsh, and the tallboys too bumpy, the Liva will keep its occupants happy. On the flip side, the suspension makes quite the noise when going about its work, and is especially prominent on rough roads. Again, it's all about insulation (rather, the lack of it). The Etios had balanced road manners & the Liva is no different. The handling is actually even better than the Etios, due to the shorter wheelbase and absence of a boot at the back. The Liva's neutral behaviour will suit the needs of its target customers. Outright grip levels are surprisingly good, helped in no small part by the thick 185 mm rubber. Even when pushing hard, understeer doesn’t come in that early. The Liva has good dynamic balance, and there is no sudden understeer or oversteer coming in. Body roll is well controlled too, thanks to the low + wide stance of the car. Straight line stability is satisfactory, and the Liva is at home cruising between 100 – 130 kph. Well, it's no Punto, or even as entertaining as a Swift, yet the Liva is neutral & safe. Cross winds though can affect its high speed composure. The electric power steering is effortless to use at 0 kph parking speed, as well as when pottering about in the city. You will be able to easily chuck the Liva in and out of traffic gaps. Sadly, at speed, the steering stays light and feels like a playstation wheel. Don't expect any feedback either. The turning radius of 4.8 (4.75 to be precise) meters is short enough for city U-turns. The ABS + EBD brakes perform just as expected. The pedal has predictable behaviour and is easy to modulate.

170 mm of ground clearance, with a suspension that isn't too soft, is sufficient for our roads. Also notice the gap in the wheel arches & the Liva's taller stance in the opening picture of this review. We didn't scrape anywhere on the drive. Well, Toyotas aren't known for hitting their underbelly on Indian roads.

Last edited by GTO : 5th July 2011 at 22:00.
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Old 27th June 2011, 09:22   #5
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Default Re: Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review

On the Toyota Test Track:

40 minutes on the track (each) was included into our driving session. 20 minutes on the fast section, and about 20 on the rough road / speed breaker area. The beauty of driving in a controlled environment is that you don't have to worry about other vehicles or pedestrians. The track setup allows for various kinds of driving conditions to be simulated.

The slalom course. Zig zagging through cones is a great way to understand the car's behaviour:

Rough & unlevelled road condition. Can also check for unnecessary squeaks & rattles. Notice the giant speedbreaker to the right of the picture:

Long, long empty straight:

Into the S-bend:

Eagle eyes amongst you would have already noticed the tyre marks. This is the brake test area. Slamming on the brakes at high speed lead to safe, completely predictable behaviour. It was fun to steer around an imaginary object when the ABS kicked in:

A sharp right-hander. Notice the stacked tyres:

And the super long straight section again:
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Old 27th June 2011, 09:23   #6
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Default Re: Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review

Other Points:

• Current level of localisation is 70%. Engine & transmission are imported. Toyota targets 90% localisation in <2 years.

• Those who had booked the Etios were offered wait list priority for the Liva, if they so wished. The Etios waiting period will be brought down to a month by July 2011.

• The Etios & Liva will be Toyota's first exports from India. Other parts of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India & China) region are obvious markets.

• Honestly, the Etios has it much easier than the Liva, and I won’t be surprised if the sedan garners equal / greater sales than the hatchback (much like the Vento & Polo). 1 reason : The Etios has only two primary competitors, the Dzire & the Manza (unlike the Liva which has 10). Second, the Etios engine is the best-in-class, while the Liva’s powerplant merely does the job.

• 3 year / 100,000 kms warranty as standard. No extended option.

• Note to Toyota : When you get the diesel, ensure that the massive turbo-lag is reduced. The Altis' D4-D is quite a handful in the city. A milder turbo application that focuses on driveability is the order of the day.

• Toyota didn't need to shorten the Etios' wheelbase. It would meet the sub-4 meter excise benefit category even with 90 mm more. Then why?

• Etios owners on Team-BHP have found a way to improve NVH levels; better tyres & thick (after-market) underbody coating from 3M.

• Fuel tank capacity = 45 liters. ARAI rating : 18.31 kpl (that for the Swift is 17.94 kpl).

• The short-throw clutch will take you 2 minutes of getting used to. Once done, you’ll love it.

• Red accents are only available on the VX variant. The starting J and G variants get all-black interiors, while the V variant gets dual-tone black & grey.

• The Maruti K series & the Kappa2 are undoubtedly superior engines. The Etios 1.5L may have blown the Dzire away; however, when it comes to the 1.2’s, the story is entirely the opposite.

• Rear bench space & comfort are a significant advantage over chief competitor, the Maruti Swift. This is one hatchback you can actually be driven around in.

• Non-alloy spare wheel. Tyre size is the same 185 / 60 R15.

• The front seat has a generous travel range (fore & aft). On the other hand, the steering tilt adjustment range is rather limited (rough estimate = only 2 inches of travel). Some will complain that it doesn't tilt high enough.

• Their research must have shown Indians as being really thirsty. All in all, you can hold seven 1 liter bottles in the Liva cabin, and five 500 ml bottles in the glove box!

• Rectangular storage places on either side of the handbrake are long enough to hold pens. They even have cut-outs for exactly the purpose.

• 7 colour options, though the starting variant is only available in white & silver.

• Large rear windows don’t have a quarter glass. Greenhouse is generous. No feeling of claustrophobia at all.

• Thanks to Moderator Stratos for helping with fine-tuning the pictures!

Disclaimer : Toyota invited Team-BHP for the Liva test-drive. They covered all the expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by GTO : 27th March 2013 at 16:06.
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Old 27th June 2011, 09:23   #7
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Default Re: Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review

The Smaller yet Significant Things:

Separate key & remote (unlike the integrated variety) sucks:

No MID. Two trip-meters & a tiny fuel gauge:

Unique, stacked center air-vent arrangement works without complaint:

Audio remote control for rear passengers. A subtle way of stating that you can be chauffeur-driven in this hatchback!

Floor mat fasteners are now standard fare in Toyotas:

Rear neck restraints are actually soft pillows, and a great place to rest your head on:

Rear window will roll down only about 65% (highest point) of the way:

Internal mirror allows for a sufficient field of vision:

Large steering-mounted audio control buttons are easy to use:

Nice looking door handles:

El cheapo sun visors belong to an Alto! Both get mirrors though:

All three passenger grab handles have integrated bag hooks:

You only get one cabin light, up at the front. Useful center cabin light missed:

Seatback pockets are conspicuous by their absence:

Slim armrest on the rear door. Bottle holder cum storage spot for the odd items:

Control stalks are hard, but feel durable:

A lighter coloured Liva on the move:
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Old 27th June 2011, 09:23   #8
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Default Re: Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review

A sneak peek inside the Toyota Factory:

In a first for a Team-BHP review, here's a report on how the reviewed car is manufactured. You will remember my detailed report on Ford's awesome facility from last year (Article link).

Toyota India's plant no. 2 in Bidadi district (Bangalore) is in charge of producing the Etios & Liva, and commenced operations in December 2010. The older plant no. 1 takes care of all other vehicles, including the Innova, Altis & Fortuner.

We had a guided tour of plant no.2. Believe me, it was an overwhelming feeling to be exposed to the most efficient production system in the world, a lesson in organisational brilliance if you will. Current capacity is 70,000 per annum, up to 120,000 (by October – November 2011) and 2,10,000 sometime in 2012. Plant no. 2 runs for 16 odd hours daily in two shifts; 0600 – 1430 hours, and a second shift from 1500 – 2330 hours. This facility is operational for 6 days of the week.

A freshly manufactured underbody being put through a series of tests:

Real-time status update of various lines within the factory. These screens are in place for each functional area. Green means OK, while a red alert will immediately have a supervisor visit that particular section to solve any problems. Typically Toyota; planned output was 11, while the actual turned out to be 12!

The underbody moves on to a fully automated line, where robots weld the core monocoque together:

An Etios randomly pulled off the assembly line for checks & analysis:

Being transported to the paint shop:

Detailed explanation of the paint process. Toyota Plant No.2 is the only automotive facility in India to use eco-friendly waterborne paints, supplied by Nippon. Even Toyota's own plant no.1 uses traditional paint materials:

Once painted, the doors are removed. Reason? To allow men & machinery easy access to the interiors. The exact same door is mated to the car at a later stage:

While work on the car is underway, the doors move on to another location for their internals (window assembly etc.):

Etios on the way to be "kitted" out with electrical & mechanical components:

Suspension & brake part storage. Notice how clinically clean the area is:

Once all the functional parts are in place, the doors are fitted back on:

A look at the Assembly Process:

A Liva undergoing wheel alignment:

Dyno and (ahead) brake testing:

Shower booth where the car is not only washed, but also checked for any leaks inside:

Spanking new, fresh & shiny:

Airbag sensors & functionality being tested:

Ready for delivery:

Last edited by GTO : 5th July 2011 at 22:16.
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Old 27th June 2011, 10:25   #9
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Default Re: Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review

Chief Competition to the Toyota Liva

Maruti Swift:
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What you'll like:
- Snazzy styling and image
- Value for money pricing
- Driver-oriented nature
- Excellent engine range
- Good handling & dynamics
- Maruti’s after-sales service

What you won't like:

- Lack of absolute quality
- Inconsistent fit & finish
- Rear legroom and space
- Average ride quality

Ford Figo:
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What you'll like:
- Value for money pricing
- A sturdy well-built hatchback
- Spacious, airy, interiors
- Practical & fuel efficient diesel engine
- Balanced ride & handling

What you won't like:
- Lacks the modernity of its rivals
- Cost cutting evident in several areas
- Under-powered for highway runs (both engines)
- Missing goodies (tilt adjustable steering, rear power windows etc.)
- Niggling issues already being reported

Volkswagen Polo:
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Size:  33.6 KB
What you'll like:
- Stunning looks & design
- A solidly built European car
- High quality interiors
- Excellent ride comfort
- Best-in-class gearshift
- Large 280 liter boot

What you won't like:
- Premium price tag
- Mediocre 3 cylinder 1.2L engines
- Diesel engine’s turbo lag
- Limited space for rear passengers
- Poor equipment levels at this price

Hyundai i20:
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What you'll like:
- Stunning styling
- Solid high quality build
- Premium interiors. Spacious too
- High level of equipment
- Safety features
- Hyundai’s after-sales service

What you won't like:

- Premium pricing
- Impotent 1.2L petrol engine
- Ordinary ride quality. Lacks plushness
- Ordinary high speed behaviour
- Weak air-conditioner

Hyundai i10 Kappa2:
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Size:  30.9 KB
What you'll like:
- A well-rounded city hatchback
- Best-in-class interior fit, finish and quality
- Refined 1.2L petrol is a sprightly performer
- Light clutch, gearbox & steering. Incredibly easy to drive
- Hyundai’s excellent after-sales service quality

What you won't like:

- Unsettled ride on less-than-perfect roads. Rear (especially) gets bouncy
- Narrow width makes it a strict 4 seater. Unwelcome 5th adult
- Missing goodies (No climate control, alloy wheels, dead pedal or adjustable front neck restraints)
- Severely under-tyred. An upgrade to 175/70 R13 is highly recommended

Last edited by GTO : 5th July 2011 at 22:17.
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Old 27th June 2011, 13:24   #10
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Default Re: Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review

Great review GTO. Toyota manufacturing facility tour was a plus! Rating it 5 stars.
It looks like the Polo makes more sense for those looking for a premium look & feel vehicle (even at the slight price premium). The Figo (even in its diesel avtar) makes more sense for the cost conscious buyer. The Swift neatly fills in the middle space with a balance of affordability and sportiness, and also a great image. The New Swift will only cement this position, and I'm not sure where the Liva is going to find its market.

Last edited by VeluM : 27th June 2011 at 13:27.
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Old 27th June 2011, 13:35   #11
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Default Re: Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review

As always, a fantastic review GTO!

I was one of the most-eager ones awaiting this review. Although the Liva is supposed to be Etios's hatchback sibling, many noticeable differences have cropped up between the sedan and the hatchback, most notably in the power of the engines. Fine-tuning them for FE aside, I think the guys at Toyota haven't zeroed in on the perfectly tuned powertrain yet (unlike a Kappa or a K10 series).

The Liva ticks all the right boxes for the budget and value-conscious customers - Toyota badge at an affordable price, interior space, interior quality and reasonable looks. The top-end Liva should come to around 6.5L OTR, which is okay for a VFM car. But where the Liva lacks, the competitors score. Engine punch and pull, exterior looks, better plastics. more features - as you pointed out - a Swift, i20 or even the i10 fare much, much better than the Liva.

The turnoffs - tacky central console, single front wiper, very plain and slightly-dated looks, and laggy engine. But then this IS the cheapest Toyota on offer and it has been built to a price, so by and large the budget-conscious buyer will ignore most of these aspects. Toyota might score in the VFM market, but the enthusiasts will stay away.

I can safely predict a 50/50 marketshare for the sedan and the hatchback in the near future. The Etios doesn't have many competitors and should get more takers, and the Liva, despite facing stiff competition from a range of hatches, should do reasonably well.

Thanks for the very insightful and detailed review. 5 stars yet again, GTO!

Last edited by RavenAvi : 27th June 2011 at 13:37.
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Old 27th June 2011, 13:48   #12
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Default Re: Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review

Fantastic review! Btw here few questions which are answered by Toyota Management at launch ceremony.

What about Automatic variants in ETIOS series?
No Automatic as volumes of such cars are low.

Next Major Launch from Toyota?
None in next 2 years. We Will be busy in establishing brand ETIOS.

Volumes expected from LIVA?
60K (ETIOS + LIVA combined) for current year. 100K from next year. That translates approx 8.5K per month (ETIOS + LIVA)

When diesel?
We are ready with diesel technology. But not yet decided when to launch. As target customer will be driving 2000KM a month, hence more demand of petrol.

LIVA export possibility?
Firstly we will like to establish brand ETIOS in India. Then will see potential of other markets.

Possibility of compact SUV from Toyota?
We would like to be in all segments. But firstly will like to establish ETIOS in India in couple of year. Next two year no big launch from Toyota.

ETIOS possibility in BRIC countries?
ETIOS is in great demand in INDIA. First let us focus well in INDIA. This is India first model. At this moment no export.

What are the imports in components for LIVA?
70-30% is localization ratio. That is due to engine & transmission imports.
Engine & transmission plant planned in India which will make localization 90-10%

Last edited by zalaps : 27th June 2011 at 14:00.
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Old 27th June 2011, 13:51   #13
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Default Re: Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review

Great review GTO, thanks for sharing.

Toyota is all set to become mass manufacturer with Etios and Liva (And I hope they will continue to provide quality products as I believe in quality than quantity) . The car looks promising in IMO. Anyone looking for a urban petrol hatch must add Liva to his/her shopping list. I will prefer Liva any day over current gen WagonR, i10.

But I guess the top variant is little pricey i.e. 6 lakhs? How will they fit a diesel in this car with this pricing (if they have plans to do so)? Figo still has the edge over Liva.

Anyhow the market will surely heat up once Honda is out with their Brio and then it will be very interesting to watch the battle between to Japanese brothers.

Last edited by bluevolt : 27th June 2011 at 13:53.
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Old 27th June 2011, 13:52   #14
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Default Re: Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review

Hey GTO, amazing review yet agin.. Not just the review, but the comparison and driving home the mid-variant point is critical.. Most folks would have written this off till they see the mid-variant picture!

Rated 5*s
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Old 27th June 2011, 13:56   #15
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Default Re: Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review

Absolutely brilliant review GTO. As always, Team-BHP is setting standards in India for Automotive Reviews. We absolutely need not wait for any other magazine or tv show for good reviews anymore.

Despite its several shortcomings, especially on cost-cutting front, I am dead sure that the Liva is going to set the sales charts on fire. Such is the brand image of Toyota in India and the splendid reliability of Toyota is just a small addition to a long list of positives in the Liva.

I just have only one question that needs to be answered here. How many months should one wait to get their hands in the Liva? Over to you, Toyota!
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