The Toyota Etios Liva is an undisputed workhorse, a car, just like all the other from this Japanese automaker, promises and indeed has the capability to do the distance from the moon and back without much of a hassle. Mechanically, the Etios Liva is quite reliable and seldom do you see one broken down on the side of the road, a fact which stands by the company’s testimony of making dependable cars. But in the process of making the Liva as mechanically strong as possible, it seemed like Toyota forgot to switch its attention towards the aesthetic side of things.
When launched, the Liva, among the rivals was the humblest of the lot and indeed a bit down on the equipment list. Now however there is an update! Toyota has brought forward, after a long long time, the new 2017 Etios Liva to India. Does this hatch now have the capabilities to take on the competition, does it get what it has always been lacking in terms of creature comforts? Well, let’s take a closer look and try to seek all the answers in this detailed road test review.
2017 Toyota Etios Liva: Exteriors
Let’s first start with the looks as it is this department where most of the modifcations done with the update to the Etios Liva are majorly concentrated. Up-front you now get a much more cleaner grille which looks a tad sportier. Major modifications can be seen further down below, on the bumper, which has now been completely revamped.
Supporting a dual tone colour scheme, it gets sharp contours and augmented edges, giving it a much more contemporary look than what the car used to adorn before. There have been a similar change on the rear bumper as well. The rest of the design specifics remain exactly similar to the previous model, which is off course nothing to complain about; in addition to that, this update is a ‘facelift’ and not an altogether new generation update, so not much was expected nevertheless. Also with the makeover, the Etios gets multi-spoke alloy wheels on the top spec versions. These alloys are the same ones which were seen on Liva’s TRD Sport edition.
2017 Toyota Etios Liva: Interiors
With the exteriors done and dusted, let’s check what the Etios Liva has to offer once you step inside the cabin. In all honestly, there is not much. You continue to get the same simplistic and basic cabin layout, which is a bit of a turn-off as there was indeed quite a lot of scope for improvement.
First its the steering wheel, which ergonomically feels a bit to large to handle; however it does get mounted controls for the 2-din music system. Talking about the music system, this piece in itself feels outdated, especially if you were to compare it with the ones available on the competition. The dial for operating the air-con control module are very basic while the ones for door locks, exterior mirror adjustment and headlamp leveling feel a bit awkwardly placed.
With the update, Toyota has now revamped the centrally mounted instrument cluster and now it gets a digital tachometer, in addition to the back-lit speedometer, which now looks significantly better than the earlier one. Ergonomically, the Etios Liva’s cabin offers decent storage space, comfortable seats with good shoulder and under thigh support. To sum it up, the interiors of the Etios Liva are a love it or hate it affair, they have been designed not to look good but to work well, which they will for sure.
2017 Toyota Etios Liva: Engine and Performance
Now to the performance aspect of the 2017 Toyota Etios. This hatchback is offered with a choice of two engine options, one being petrol and the other diesel. The one which we had for this particular test was powered by a 1.4-litre, 4-cylinder turbo engine with power output figures of 67bhp and 170Nm of peak torque. This engine, we must tell you, is such a that it covers up for all the other faults that this car has, so much so that you can choose to completely igbore them.
Paired to a 5-speed manual transmission, the engine is a breeze to drive. There is a bit of turbo lag, almost negligible and the car pulls effortlessly right from the first gear. Talking about gears, the transmission unit is very smooth to operate and comes with a nice mechanical feel to it. This, coupled with a light clutch makes the whole experience of changing gears an enjoyable one.
The power delivery curve of the engine is quite linear and you will find yourself not needing to change gears that often as it never feels out of puff. What somewhat tints this experience its the car’s rather heavy steering which takes some time getting used to.
2017 Toyota Etios Liva: Verdict
Summing up the car, we would like to say that Toyota has somewhat missed an opportunity here with the 2017 Etios Liva. The automaker has done a significant bit with the exteriors of this vehicle which now look comparatively a lot better, but the same cannot be said about the cabin.However, that aside we are happy to report that on the mechanical front the Liva continues to remain as fun to drive as it used to be, so three cheers for that. So, should you buy one? Well, if you are one of those who is all about driving pleasure and can to a certain extent ignore the aesthetics of a car, then you should consider the 2017 Toyota Etios Liva. However, if you are the opposite, well then there are plenty of other fish in the water.