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Etios Cross, the rugged hatchback

The Etios Cross is the Liva hatchback disguised as a rugged crossover in effect. We took the newest Toyota out in Mumbai to see what’s under that brawny countenance

The Toyota Etios Cross, in essence, is the Etios Liva hatch under that brawny new exterior. Technically, it’s a hatchback meant to project a rugged image for young professionals who care for their social standing, while also being price conscious. We took this interesting new Toyota vehicle out for a drive in Mumbai, as a part of a special pre-launch media drive program.

Etios Cross

Design and appearance
The Etios Cross has been extensively worked upon by Toyota designers for a rugged appeal. It features a bold new bumper with a massive front grille finished in satin silver. On the flanks the new bumper has new housings for fog lamps, finished again in satin silver with integrated turn indicators.

We love the unfaultable Toyota toughness and preciseness in assembly. That flat-bottomed, thick-rimmed steering wheel is a delight to hold, too. Pics/Amit Chhangani
We love the unfaultable Toyota toughness and preciseness in assembly. That flat-bottomed, thick-rimmed steering wheel is a delight to hold, too. Pics/Amit Chhangani

The rough-look treatment continues in profile, where the Etios Cross gets a chunky, black plastic cladding along the lower portion of its length. The lower portion of the door cladding has another contrasting layer of satin silver inserts with an angular pattern over them. On the roof, you get a pair of brand new two-tone rails, finished in black and silver.

The Etios Cross offers fantastic rear leg, knee and head room. Under thigh support and back rest comfort is also commendable
The Etios Cross offers fantastic rear leg, knee and head room. Under thigh support and back rest comfort is also commendable

The beefed up look is completed at the rear with the help of a big new plastic bumper with a silver under-cladding, carrying forward the frontal theme. The lowermost portion of the tailgate also has plastic splattering with Etios Cross branding over it in silver.

The centrally-mounted instrument console looks relatively better in the new version with black dial and blue backlight
The centrally-mounted instrument console looks relatively better in the new version with black dial and blue backlight

Engine and performance
Toyota is offering the Etios Cross with three engine variants. The most basic of the three engines is the 1.2 litre (1197cc) 4 cylinder petrol, with the 1.5 litre (1496cc) petrol being the other gasoline powered option. Finally there is also the 1.4 litre (1364cc) 4 cylinder D-4D diesel engine on offer.

We didn’t drive the 1.2 litre petrol variant as the option was not available for the media drive program. The 1.5 litre petrol engine on the Etios Cross, however, is the pick of the lot for the enthusiasts. The rev happy unit is redlined at 5900 rpm on the tacho. With peak power rated at 90PS @ 5600 rpm and peak torque output of 132 Nm at 3000 Nm, this is one naturally aspirated petrol engine we love driving while being in a small car. Fuel efficiency for this engine is rated at 16.78 kmpl. More popular diesel engine option for the Etios Cross comes in the form of the 1.4 litre diesel unit. It’s a smooth unit with linear power and torque delivery. The engine makes the car extremely tractable at slow speeds in city conditions, eliminating the need for repeated gearshifts. Fuel efficiency is rated at a high 23.59 kmpl.

Cabin design and features
The Etios Cross gets an all-black interior, which works well towards not just making the cabin look more premium than the Liva hatch but also goes well with the rugged, hard wearing positioning of the Etios Cross.

The interior of the Etios Cross remains similar to the Etios Liva hatchback and offers all the roominess and functionality offered by the former. The flat bottomed, leather wrapped, chunky steering wheel is a delight to hold.

The Etios Cross, just like the Liva excels in rear leg, head and shoulder room. Boot space, though not class leading is reasonably good at 251 litres, though the back rest is not split foldable.

Ride and handling
Toyota has kept the suspension setting and ground clearance for the Etios Cross unchanged over the Etios Liva. The Cross, thus, while offering a comfortable ride isn’t exactly meant for spirited corner carving. Pushed hard around bends, the car does exhibit a fair bit of body-roll, though the handling is good enough for the segment. It’s a practical, comfortable car with ample poise and control for everyday in-city driving and the occasional moderately enthusiastic run around the hilly bends.

Conclusion
The Etios Cross is a spinoff of the Etios Liva by Toyota to offer another option in the currently on-fire compact crossover segment. We think that there’s nothing wrong with this stylistic offshoot of the Etios hatchback. Priced at R5.76 lakh for the base G variant and R7.4 lakh ex-showroom for the top of the line diesel GV variant, the Etios Cross may appeal to those looking for a rugged looking city runabout at a decent price. Make no mistake, though, it’s no SUV and it wouldn’t really offer any functional advantages over your everyday hatchback. The Etios Cross looks nice from certain angles and in certain colours, though whether you appreciate the vocal design expression is dependent entirely on your personal choice.

Price in lakhs

Variant
G (1.2 petrol): R5.76
V (1.5 petrol): R7.35
GD (1.4 diesel): R6.9
VD (1.4 diesel): R7.40
Toyota Etios Cross Prices
(ex-showroom)

Technical specs

1.2 petrol
Power 80 PS @ 5600 rpm
Torque 104 nm @ 3100 rpm
1.5 petrol
Power 90 PS @ 5600 rpms
Torque 132 nm @ 3000 rpm
1.4 diesel
Power 68 PS @ 3800 rpm
Torque 132 nm @ 3000 rpm

Current and upcoming foes

VW Cross Polo
VW Cross Polo

The VW Cross Polo is another example of a hatchback spawning a crossover variant with some cosmetic alterations. The Cross Polo is essentially the Polo hatchback under the skin with a liberal splattering of black plastic under-cladding all around. Available only in the 1.2 TDI diesel variant, the Cross Polo drives rather well, and is a subtler exponent of what Toyota has done with the Etios Cross.
Price: Rs 7.75 lakh (ex-showroom price)

Fiat Avventura
Fiat Avventura

After the new Linea, the Avventura will be the next new product from the Italian carmaker post its decision to move away from Tata Motors and handle its sales and service network all by itself. Based on the Punto hatchback, the Avventura boasts of commendable visual enhancements such as tail gate mounted spare wheel, and appears the most convincing of the triad here as regards ‘rugged’ looks. The interior has been nicely refurbished, too. Expect the new crossover to launch by late 2014.
Price: Rs 6.5 to 7.5 Lakh (expected prices)

Suzuki S-Cross
Suzuki S-Cross

the S-Cross will lead Maruti’s charge in the compact crossover segment. The S-Cross is basically the crossover variant of the SX4. The car rides on new alloy wheels, has new fog lamp inserts and a revised grille. In profile, the car has a hint of aluminum on the side skirts, chrome door handles and a dash of chrome on the rub-strip. Expect the S-Cross to be launched early next year.
Price: Rs 6.5 to 7.5 lakh (expected prices)

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