Combining the rugged good looks of an SUV with the fluent drive, fuel efficiency and maneuverability of a hatch, the all-new Toyota Etios Cross is ready to write another chapter in this budget beater’s success story.
Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Glenn Crompton, Vice President of Marketing, says: “The Etios delivers exactly what customers want – car-like efficiency and typical crossover styling traits at an affordable price point. It marks our entry into yet another category in the diverse and fast growing sub-B segment of the car market. The expressive Etios family now comprises a sedan, a hatch, and the youthfully rugged Cross in its budget-oriented arsenal. Naturally it also comes with the globally renowned promise of Toyota’s QDR (Quality, Durability & Reliability) standards.”
The Etios success story
In less than two years, Etios has racked up sales in excess of 45000 units and in the process has become entrenched in the South African automotive lexicon, regularly charting on the top three bestsellers list.
Etios can claim a number of ‘bests’, including taking the title for top-selling sub-B segment sedan as well as being Toyota South Africa’s best-selling passenger car range. In fact such is the success of Etios (currently sitting at close to 30% of the sub-B passenger car market) that Toyota has been able to recapture much of the Tazz sales volume that it enjoyed prior to the discontinuation of that model in 2007.
Much of the success of Etios can be attributed to five main factors:
- Engine performance – a major purchase driver for Etios is its engine size. Boasting a 16-valve DOHC 1.5-litre engine, all models come standard with a five-speed manual transmission. Outputs are pegged at 66kW of power @ 5600 rpm and 132Nm of torque @ 3000 rpm. This translates into a 0-100km/h sprint time of 11,3 seconds for all models including the new Cross. An excellent power to weight ratio also contributes to its sparkling performance.
- Fuel consumption – despite the bigger capacity powerplant and the impressive performance, the Etios still returns a laudable average consumption of just 6.0L/100km.
- Space – the rear seat can be classified as a true 3-seater due to its expanded flat design which maximizes space, and improves ease of entry and exit for 3 adults. The rear floor is also flat, maximising the space for the passenger in the middle seat. In addition, the Etios boasts a multitude of practical interior storage spaces including seven cup holders that can accommodate 1-litre sized bottles as well as a 13-litre glove box with a cooling function. The sedan features a best-in-class boot capacity of 562 litres.
- Peace of Mind – it’s a Toyota and that means that Quality, Durability and Reliability (QDR) are a given. Backing this up is a full complement of safety kit including ABS, EBD, dual front airbags and an immobiliser.
- Affordable price – the Etios is still one of the most competitively priced vehicle ranges. Prices start from R127 800 for the Etios Xi hatch (with air con), topping out at R159 800 for the new Etios Cross.
It’s worth noting too that Etios has benefitted from continuous refinement of the package. These evolutionary upgrades to date have included:
- A new grille design
- Colour coding across the range for door mirrors and handles
- A new aero design exterior mirror featuring aero stabilising fins
- A new tail lamp design
- New front seat design including adjustable headrests for Xs models
- Re-profiled rear seat design with fully adjustable headrests (Xs)
- Auto Up electric window function on the driver’s door
- Redesigned central instrument cluster with Ice Blue backlighting, enlarged LCD display for enhanced clarity and digital clock – the latter is on Xs models only
- Lights-on warning as well as seat belt and door ajar warning buzzers (Xs)
- All-new 2-DIN Toyota audio system fitted as standard to Xs models (Xi variants pre-wired for door speakers as well as instrument panel speakers. An antenna pole is standard across the range)
- Ergonomically and aesthetically enhanced ventilation controls
- Improved NVH package which included a switch from rubber engine mounts to more refined, sound-absorbing hydraulic mounts. The silencer was also modified for enhanced insulation and the damper settings were adjusted to filter out suspension noise and improve ride quality.
Now let’s cross-examine the newcomer.
Thanks to a raft of body and cabin modifications and embellishments, the new Etios Cross allows buyers to tap into the tough image of an SUV without incurring the cost. With the focus firmly on practicality and efficiency, the Cross is just as user-friendly as its standard brethren but with the added robust appeal of a crossover.
The new Etios Cross is based on the Xs hatch, which is generously endowed when it comes to specifications. Here’s a brief rundown of the key standard features of the Etios range:
– Electric power steering
– Air conditioning with clean air filter
– Power windows (Xs – rear windows as well)
– Rear window demister with wiper (Xs)
– Double Din audio system with USB and AUX-in ports (Xs)
– Fog lights (Xs)
– Remote central locking (Xs)
– ABS, EBD, dual front airbags and immobiliser
Key exterior features (over and above the Xs grade)
- The masculine face of Etios Cross comes courtesy of a distended new grille design in matt black incorporating an unusual powder grey grille guard that extends all the way into the bumpers, mimicking the appearance of bumper overriders.
- The chunky anthracite front bumper is further enhanced by oversized fog lamps with integrated turn indicators and accented in a grey frame. The Etios Cross also gets a ribbed front scuff plate – once again in powder grey.
- Completing the front end is a revised headlight cluster with a fuller design which melds better with the new grille.
- In profile, the Etios Cross gets the full “off road” treatment in the form of black cladding (with embossed Etios Cross logos) which extends halfway up the doors. Silver shaded accent garnishes adorn the lip of the cladding.
- Prominently protruding matt black over fenders clad the wheelarches, providing visual continuity and further amping up the newcomer’s ‘SUV’ persona.
- Re-designed side mirrors feature turn indicators.
- Bringing up the rear, the back door gets a stylish garnish strip with embossed Etios Cross logo. Mirroring the frontal treatment, the rear likewise gets a new matt black bumper with a trapezoidal silver grey, ribbed scuff plate. The tail lights are also unique to the Cross and feature prominent ‘puzzle piece’ reverse light lenses.
- Final touches to further beef up the Etios Cross include a roof spoiler, multi-spoke diamond-cut 15″ alloys and a set of roof rails also finished in the de rigeur powdery silver. The latter are fully functional and able to support 50 kg of luggage or even a bicycle.
- Two new colours are exclusive to the Etios Cross – Inferno Metallic (a vivid orange) and Jet Grey Metallic.
Key interior features (over and above the Xs grade)
- Inside, the Cross edition gets all-black interiors with new sporty seat fabrics featuring special white stitching and embroidered Etios Cross logos.
- A tech-enhanced, upgraded double din audio system – as with the unit found on Xs models, this system comes with USB and AUX-in ports but adds extra functionality in the form of Bluetooth to facilitate hands-free mobile phone operation.
- To further uplift the cabin appeal the dashboard receives piano black metallic finishing and chrome detailing around the air vents.
Pricing (incl. 2-year / 30 000km service plan)
Etios 1.5 Xi Hatch (with air con) – R127 800 (incl. VAT)
Etios 1.5 Xs Hatch – R136 800
Etios 1.5 Xi Sedan – R134 500
Etios 1.5 Xs Sedan – R143 000
Etios Cross 1.5 – R159 800