|The new Etios arrives - All smiles|
|Written by augetto Graig|
|Wednesday, 11 July 2012 21:32|
Toyota’s exuberant Etios 1.5 Xs hatchback is the model that the good people of Ritter’s Toyota gave Speed the opportunity to test-drive this week, and the experience was refreshingly encouraging.The Etios is a value-for-money prospect, particularly suited for a more functionary entry-level market, but equally proficient for the long-haul. However, let’s get to first things first, and the first thing any experienced driver might pay some undue attention to is the speedometer and rev-counter dials, punctuated by the tiny little odometer and distance-on-fuel indicators centred below the two disks. Luckily the Etios seems very comfortable with some individual customisation and priced at only a little over N$120 000, there could still be money left over for a little personalisation.
Apart from that unfortunate oversight in the usually stylish Toyota finishing, the Etios comes up trumps. The interior is comfortably spacious and even the hatch boot provides sufficient storage-space for one or two people’s luggage. Leg room is plenty and head space and roof clearance seem sufficient. One thing is for sure, Etios is a little bit different and its character shows through in the big round air-conditioning vents and the unique cubby-hold with locks; it opens on top instead of in front. The demo model we got to drive had a good sound system, but that does not come standard with the model. Power windows are standard with the Xs, front and rear. The rear-seats fold down together to make total luggage space of 251 litres available as and when needed.
But Etios is all about driving and when you engage the engine, activating the power-steering and livening up that specially designed Etios 1.5 electronic fuel injection engine, which delivers 66kW at 5600rpm power and up to 132Nm torque at 3000 revolutions per minute. Value additions that contribute to the Etios driving experience include the standard anti-lock braking system and the electronic brake force distribution. The engine also fits comfortably under the bonnet, with lots of space, which should make maintenance and repairs that much easier.
Free-spirited, fleet-footed and eager, very responsive and with plenty of ‘oomf’ are all adequate descriptions that apply to this smartly designed little vehicle. The Etios definitely has the ability to endear itself to the driver. Perhaps it is the strange combination of no-frills simplicity and the thoughtful provision of seven cup-holders throughout the passenger area that demonstrates the Etios’ loveable personality. The single extra-large windscreen-wiper is another example of its quirky individuality. The craftily designed front-grill which seems to smile at you whenever you approach the vehicle also adds to the pleasing effect. It is also a very useful vehicle, which might well be why Toyota markets the car as the new Etios, ‘here to make you smile.’ It sure does.