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Test Drive: Etios Liva GD SP Diesel

Etios LivaLIV TMRRW 2DAY is the tag line Toyota is using for its entry level Hatch – pitched at the millennial generation looking for a high quality brand name car – easy to drive and maintain. Suddenly after a long time feeling the need to do a TD - I requested for a test drive through the Toyota website on a whim on a Thursday afternoon scheduling a time for the next day 5 PM. No call no email till Friday morning when a person called to confirm the test drive request and mentioned the sales person would call and confirm the time for the TD. This happened like clockwork within a few minutes. There was a change in plan from my side and requested  the timing to be between 1:30 to 2 PM instead. This was agreed to. I gave my office address as the location for them.

At 1:28 PM I get a call from the sales person that he was outside our gate ! Wow – for the first time the TD vehicle has shown up at the time specified.  The sales guy made sure the vehicle was turned around and made easy to drive out for me (from a service lane still under construction that had open manhole covers) . That was a nice touch.

Test drive car was in Ultramarine Blue and was of GD SP (Safety Pack) trim. The color reminded me a lot of my Getz Electric Blue :-) .  The test drive car came with a body kit that was an add on accessory – not part of the standard – but it definitely made the car look interesting and a bit sportier. The car without the under body skirts and spoiler looks very plain and unappealing.

There were stickers on the car to indicate it was a test drive /demo vehicle. Great – good to know am not driving a customer car. Digital odometer had around a bit over 9K Kms.  Interior of the vehicle was spic and span and clean.

Steering wheel was nice and chunky and of the right size to hold with a thicker portion at 10 and 2. Steering wheel had height adjust but the seat did not. Seat felt a bit lower than needed but I was comfortable within a minute of sitting in it with just adjustment for leg room.

For my height (5’7″) there was decent leg space in the driver seat and my left leg didn’t foul with the dashboard like it did in the Figo. No dead pedal available.

1st gear slotted in nicely and surely and starting off was a piece of cake with the clutch being light and easy to operate even for a first time user of the car. No heavy diesel car clutch issues I was expecting.

Pickup from stop was decent enough - didn’t push it but when moved into second the vehicle seemed a bit slow to respond. Unfortunately the lack of the tachometer meant I had no assistance to tell if I was shifting too early etc.

Drive in 3rd and 4th were decent – again within city roads the ride was smooth and minor bumps etc were not noticed.  Even on a badly paved road at slow speed the ride was comfortable. Only one sharp bump made the suspension make an awkward sound and the vehicle sprung up a bit.

The center mounted speedo is easy to read and I got used to it in no time.

Air-conditioning seemed adequate at fan speed #2  in the afternoon Chennai heat – but again the sales guys had the Ac running before the TD itself. Over #2 the noise was a bit much.

Doors felt a bit thin and didn’t have a solid feel on closing.

Rear hatch has to be opened via central locking and the hand grip of the opening was a bit awkward.

Positives:

  • GD trim comes with ABS. Need to go to GD SP for Airbags
  • Comfortable front seats – adjustable headrest can be lived with
  • Amazing space at the rear seat – 3 people in comfort with around 4 inches to spare of legroom till the front seat (set for my driving position).
  • Flat rear floor makes middle passenger comfortable
  • Fairly decent and usable bootspace of around 251L. When folded it goes to around 500L.
  • Service interval of 10K after initial service at 1K. Also option of Smile service packages for lower costs.
  • 3 years 1Lakh Km warranty
  • ARAI claimed mileage of 23.59 (Not able to test mileage in the short drive I did)

Negatives:

  • Noise from the engine sounded like a share auto. This was heard over the AC. I guess one will get used to it over time- but for the entire duration of the test drive – this bothered me.  The Figo in comparison had a muted thrum and the Maruti diesels had a similar muted thrum that was not annoying.
  • Horn sounded adequate but was only a single one.

Missing features (that would make this a truly great car):

  • Tachometer
  • Split folding rear seat
  • Seat height adjust
  • Music system (strangely they have speakers installed for the GD SP trim but no music system)
  • Fog lamps
  • Alloys
  • Climate control / switch for fresh air/recirculation – the slider is from 1980s !!!

Availability at this time is around 30-45 days. Price for top end GD SP Diesel trim on road Chennai is 7.14L.

Overall:

You get a Toyota badge on your vehicle for the price. Ride and handling are decent enough. Feature list is a bit short and makes the Figo seem like a major value for money deal.

Also points to think about – do you really need a diesel – if not then can you spend a bit more for the Etios sedan (in petrol) ? The pricing for the top end Etios Sedan diesel on road I felt was a bit too much coming at around 9.46 on road.

 

Other Notes:

PS: Images are from www.toyotabharat.com & toyotaetiosliva.in

I just noticed – almost every  image of the Liva on the Toyota websites – are with the body kit and spoiler and with alloys (found only on the VX petrol trim) !!!! One has to pay extra for the body kit to be added to the diesels.

 

Liva Without Body Kit, Alloys

 

 

<- What it looks like without the body kit (see circled areas). Couldn’t find any other image without the body kit on the site :-) .

 

 

 

Liva With Body Skirts, Spoiler and Alloys

 

 

 

 

 

 

<- Looks much more improved with body kit, spoiler and alloys(see circled areas). Fog lamps as well.(Click on image to view larger size)

 

 

 

 

4 comments to Test Drive: Etios Liva GD SP Diesel

  • fas

    i think Liva is a very cut to the cost car, which is unlike a Toyota.

  • Sushil

    Fas – yes – it feels mostly ok but in some places the pricing does show :-) .

  • G SINGH

    I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND WHY THE LARGEST CAR MANUFACTURER IN THE WORLD HAS TRIED UNWANTED SHORTCUTS IN ETIOS LIVA DIESEL.AT LEAST THEY COULD HAVE PROVIDED BETTER SOUND INSULATION AND TACHOMETER.
    ONE CAN GET MUSIC SYSTEM AND FOG LAMPS ALWAYS AS EXTRA IF NEEDED.
    SOUND INSULATION HAS TO BE UPGRADED.

  • Sushil

    G Singh – I heard the insulation part has been added in as an after thought but still I felt that the in cabin noise was annoying.

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