Toyota has taken its standard Etios and given it some cladding to make it more butch. Meet the 2014 Toyota Etios Cross. We attended the launch of the 2014 Toyota Etios Cross not so long ago, but a week-long evaluation is more thorough.
Chunky looksToyota is the third manufacturer to attack the baby crossover market and this Etios Cross is aimed at the Renault Sandero Stepway and Volkswagen Polo Vivo Maxx. I'm not 100% sold on the looks, and I do think it's a little tacky. The front isn't so bad, but the side and the rear are clad in thick unpainted black plastic. The great thing about these things is that they're tough and can take a beating from nature and other car doors without leaving a massive mark. Kudos for that, then.
Solid engineThere's a 1.5-litre engine powering the 2014 Toyota Etios Cross, and with 66 kW and 132 Nm, the vehicle never feels underpowered. Power is driven to the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox which is solid and smooth in operation. While I couldn't find a trip computer, Toyota claims the Etios Cross will consume 6 l /100km - not too bad. For its 1.5 capacity, this is probably the best engine in its class and it responds well when you want to thrash it.
The drive is okay with the ride being gentle. The 2014 Toyota Etios Cross feels a lot more solid than the normal Etios and it's pleasant to drive. It's safe too, with driver and passenger airbags, as well as ABS/EBD. For a car costing this little, it's good to see there's at least some form of safety.
The interior is substantially upgraded when compared to the non-Cross Etios models. It's Indian origins means it has been engineered to be left-hand and right-hand drive, which then results in a centralised column. The infotainment system is a little basic, but it has bluetooth, aux input and USB connectivity. This centralised column also features the rev counter and speedo.
SummaryIt's not the worst car in it's class, but it's certainly not the best. For a small amount of money, you can get the Renault Sandero Stepway which in my opinion offers more car, better looks and an eco-friendly turbocharged powerplant. Still, the 2014 Toyota Etios Cross offers good all-round ability combined with fabled Toyota reliability. If you can get past the budget looks and the made in India sticker, you'll be fine.
Toyota added the Etios Cross to the range for a bit of masculinity as it seemed too many females were buying the standard Etios. The first female I showed the car to gasped and shouted 'aw cute man!' Not sure it has worked....-Ashley Oldfield
2014 Toyota Etios Cross quick specs
|Fuel economy||6 l /100km|
We like: Good engine Reliable Chunky cladding protection
We dislike: Looks might not appeal to everyone Cabin quality is below par