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2016 Toyota Etios Platinum Diesel Review, Road Test

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2016 Toyota Etios Platinum Diesel is a refreshed attempt at getting back the personal car buyers that Toyota had for the Etios earlier

Enchanting –

  • Front end design looks good
  • Superlative chassis, brakes, engine
  • Beige interior helps increase quality quotient
  • Fuel efficient and extremely spacious
  • Safety Kit standard on all variants
  • Toyota’s Excellent Service and Reliability record

Unsatisfying –

  • Bare basic features list
  • Dashboard stays unchanged
  • Still no major changes to design
  • Engines not powerful as competitors

Toyota, when it, came to India with a host of products it had products in the higher/premium segment. The Corolla, Fortuner, Innova and its predecessors were responsible for setting up what Toyota is in India today. Toyota globally and in India is known for making bullet proof vehicles. They don’t break down, they can take a lot of abuse and they are cheap to buy and run. Premium customers loved the idea till date and continue to bank on products that the Japanese giant has to offer.

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Toyota also makes small vehicles worldwide and they are widely appreciated on many aspects but few aspects remain a sore point. Toyota did the same for India and gave us the Etios twins. The Etios that we have here today was great on practicality, decent on performance and design. The interior were a major setback and as a result the car went into the fleet market in no time and Toyota lost the chance of impressing passenger car buyers in the personal space. Years later, after many upgrades, this time, there is a upgrade which seems to matter the most.

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The Etios Platinum is here with us today and it has something to offer that the car has never offered till date to personal car buyers. Same practicality but with more premiumness. We had a go in the booted version of the Etios which is now termed as the Etios Platinum. The car is specifically for the personal consumer and hence here is a review of the car that could still help find personal homes instead of crowded fleet manager’s garage. How good is it? We have a road test that has all of your answers.

Design

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What Toyota wants us to believe that the car has been given a substantial change to make you believe that it is worth it. How? The front is all new. The bumper is all new and it is a very busy design. Carbon, chrome and other lines run around to make sure it looks business at first sight. Grille is also an all new unit and it looks like smile from a distance.

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Yes, it isn’t a creepy smile. Toyota hasn’t changed the headlamps or the tail-lamps either and yet the car does get some attention as it is a new unit. Rear gets a large chrome garnish to make sure it looks premium. There is the 3D badges at the rear to add more bling to the package. Side profile remains identical as before. So are the alloy wheels which are the same as before. There is ETIOS badging on the c-pillar and chrome on the flap type door handles which are yet again not premium.

Interior

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Inside, is where the major changes are. The all beige interior makes thing rather interesting now. Plastic quality is just about ok and is almost on par with the segment. Decent to touch and not that cheap either. The only cheap plastic that sits in the cabin is where the 12V socket is mounted. The color of the interior makes quite a first impression. Top half of the dash continues to be black in color. Gear knob gator is now leather wrapped, hand brake feels good to hold and there is a lot of storage area including two cubby holders in the front along with a lot of areas to keep your daily items. Door pads can hold large bottles easily, they have been upgraded for quality and now wood garnish on the window switch area.

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Etios branded floor market add more to the premium appeal. The center console gets an aftermarket unit which handles all the connectivity part for audio and telephony. It is very fast and quick to connect. Although it can act up sometimes and misbehave and cut calls and music all of a sudden. Steering wheel remains the same and it is adjustable for reach. Steering is devoid of telephony controls and those can be only handled by the stereo. Sound system is as mediocre as it gets.

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Features list is bare basic, for instance you don’t even get auto-lock for a car that comes with a on-road price tag of a million rupees. Mirrors are adjustable and there are rear parking sensors on offer and that is about it. Nothing fancy on offer at all to lure customers. The button for the high beam adjuster and bonnet opener still continue to be extremely old-school, basic and cheap to touch.

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The meter continues to be mounted in between but now it has an tachometer which looks futuristic and digital to spice things up. The air vents remain the same and on the passenger side, the glovebox and air vent integration feels cheap and clever at the same time. Choose your poison. Seats are great and comfortable and they are adjustable for height on the driver side. Fabric used for them are quite an quality item. Seat belts are not adjustable.

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What this interior offers is tonnes of space. There is a lot of headroom, legroom and shoulder in both rows to accommodate all size of passengers. Seats in the back offer good support in every department. Boot stands at 595 litre which remains unbeatable till date. A/C is a chiller and works really well. There is also an armrest for passengers in the rear. Overall, quality can be witnessed but the lack of features is compensated in a way with tonnes of room and boot space.

Engine and Gearbox

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Etios Platinum on test came with a diesel engine. Starting the engine takes a lot of key play which has to be done till the very end. It continues to be the same 1.4 D4D engine that makes 68 PS of power and 170 Nm of torque. The engine is smooth and refined. NVH level are better and well controlled. The noise which creeps in the highest form is the wind noise that comes from the front. There is enough low and mid-range torque to make sure city driving is a breeze. Turbo lag is well controlled. The well matched gearing to the power band that is on offer helps extract every single horsepower from this engine.

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The light kerb weight of just around 1000 kgs makes it impressive despite the less horsepower and torque on offer. Gearbox is super smooth and great to operate despite a slightly low throw on offer. Clutch though is a long throw but is very light and isn’t big of an issue. A top-speed of 160 km/hr was seen easily and it can do 0-100 km/hr in 14 seconds. We got a mileage of 15.7 km/l after a fast run on the highway and moderate traffic in the city. Expect better numbers in sane driving though. Overall, apart from more ponies required, it does the job well and is commuter at its best.

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Dynamics

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Dynamically, with that light kerb weight that is on offer, Toyota has tuned the suspension just right for Indian conditions. The kerb weight feels so light that at flat roads without inclines, the cars continue to roll. A reason why the handbrake is a very responsive unit. The ride quality is stiff but complaint enough not to feel harsh. There isn’t any body roll which makes throwing the car around twisties a real fun. Highway stability is rock solid and stays planted at all speeds. Tyres are good in size and compound and do a good job. Brakes are really and offer good bite and pedal feel.

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What is disappointing despite wonderful chassis is the steering. It is light for city and maneuvering is easy. However, the unit does not weigh up at high speeds, the lock to lock ratio isn’t calculated at all and it isn’t that direct either. Turning in while taking corners means that it isn’t most confidence inspiring steering. Overall, apart from the steering everything is really spot on.

2016 Toyota Etios Platinum Diesel Review, Verdict

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2016 Toyota Etios Diesel Platinum then, what is it? A refined premium Etios? Yes, it is. The interior feels more welcoming, the car is comfortable for long journeys, there is a lot of space and most importantly, the Toyota badge offers reliability that is said to last two generations. The price that is being asked for the new car which will be not offered to fleet market operators is quite good and is inline with the compact sedans of today.

It may not offer the convenience and luxury features that those cars do but it does have some strong points in certain areas that we discussed above. So, If you want a package which comprises of a simple understated car for you and your family that is price well, the Platinum Etios might just the ideal thing you are looking for.

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2016 Toyota Etios Platinum Premium: Rs. 8.87 lakhs. All prices ex-showroom Mumbai

Read this too: Variant by variant detail, here!

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