- Front end design looks good
- Balanced Ride and Handling
- Beige interior helps increase quality quotient
- Extremely spacious, standard safety kit
- Toyota’s Reliability and Cheerful Service
- Lacks features
- Interior needs a new layout
- Still no major changes to design
- Unenthusiastic petrol motor
Toyota in India is making sure its entire line up of new vehicles are ready to impress its customers. We saw all new vehicles coming in the market to make sure Toyota grabs the piece of pie from its rival in India from homeland as well its own homeland. Toyota is trying hard to attract private segment car buyers to its showroom. Toyota launched the Innova and is now selling them only to private consumers. Fortuner has a very high base of private customers and so does the new Camry and Camry Hybrid.
Toyota doesn’t want to leave along its two small cars that it offers in India and has made a special version of the car for its personal car buyers segment and only offers them to it with subtle amount of changes that make a lot of difference. You saw us couple of days back review the Etios Platinum sedan and now we have the hatchback. What’s different? The engine here is petrol and there are other changes that we want to list for you. You can read the Etios for a full blown detailed test, here will try keep our maximum attention towards the petrol powertrain on offer.
Design is where the similarities are at large with the new Platinum Etios. The front is identical with a new smiling grille and a very busy designed bumper. The head and tail lamps remain the same so do the alloy wheels and the side profile. The rear continues to look a bit uninspiring, but it grows on you in the right color. Largely then, a tall boy design which isn’t to tall like its rival and manages to look quirky and contemporary at the same time.
Interior is where there is a big change. Interiors are now beige in color and the quality of plastics has increased a bit. The overall ambiance on the inside has improved as the meters look more futuristic thanks to subtle changes in front and a very interesting looking tachometer which Toyota calls Optitron. Head unit continues to look like an after market unit and has the music and telephony controls. Steering wheel doesn’t house telephony controls.
There are a lot of stowage areas in the car which includes two large cup holders and door pockets on offer. Steering wheel is well contoured and nice to hold too. Space is the highlight of the cabin. The Liva offers a lot of space in terms leg, knee, head and shoulder room. There is a large 251 litre boot which isn’t segment best, but it is very accommodating as it has a practical opening and layout. Safety wise, Toyota has given a retractable third seat belt and now dual airbags along with ABS is standard along with a well rated structure approved by NCAP.
Engine and Gearbox
The motor on paper isn’t impressive and the same story continues on the road. The engine just makes 80 PS and 104 Nm of torque from its DOHC, fuel-injected engine. There is just about enough torque when you short shift in first three gears to keep you moving in city. Ask more from the engine and you have to wait for the needle to reach 3000 RPM as the real surge begins from there and ends quickly yet again around 5000 RPM mark. Low-end power as a result is very weak. Mid-range is where you can enjoy the car but not for long. There isn’t enough top-end power either from this engine as it maxes out. The gearing isn’t very tall like its rival, but tall by Toyota standards that we have seen in previous vehicles.
All of this is done to make sure efficiency and highway cruising is effortless and it is. Our 500 km testing included a lot of highway and city driving this time and we got an economy of 14.75 km/l. The engine NVH levels are decent enough and it is a very silent engine at idle. Start redlining and it doesn’t complain at all and doesn’t sound loud to make things uncomfortable either.
We saw a top-speed of 150 km/hr which is quite low by segment standards. Despite the low kerb weight and in contrast, the lower power number, Liva remains an adequate performance equipped family car. Gearbox continues to be super smooth despite taller throws. Clutch is light and has a long throw which gets time getting used too.
Chassis wise, we managed to hop into the Liva just after dropping the Etios and the change was apparent. The ride quality was much better, there was a bit of body roll that was absent in the Etios. The Liva felt much lighter on its feet, changed directions quickly. However, as the Etios, the steering is downright unenthusiastic.
It continues to be light which aids in parking and driving in the city. Turning in quickly into the corner, providing any feedback and being 100% direct isn’t the forte of the EPS here. Despite all of this, it has a balanced ride and handling package which is on par with its rivals. Brakes continue to be good as they have enough stopping power with good pedal bite.
2016 Toyota Liva Petrol Review, Verdict
Liva then, it may not appeal immediately to prospective buyers. The new front look with the right color can actually grow on you. Saying that, Toyota changes should have been more substantial at the side and the rear which haven’t been worked upon thoroughly. Apart from that, there is the stellar diesel motor which does the job for intercity commuting and is just about enough on the highway.
Petrol may not be the ideal choice if you are a keen driver. The highlights will be Toyota’s bullet proof reliability record, a lot of space on the inside and a car that can go on and on without complaining. Just like the Etios then, if you are looking for an no frills hatchback for your daily commuting and weekend trips with family, this could be the ideal hatch you are looking for.
2016 Toyota Etios Liva Premium: Rs. 6.28 lakhs. All prices ex-showroom Mumbai
Read this too:Variant by variant detail of Liva, here!