Of course the conversion wouldn’t be complete without an exhaust pipe so loud that it drowns out the massive sound system! This is the South African way. And the vehicle of choice will more than likely house a Toyota badge on the front grille.
Yes, South Africans love their Toyotas and why shouldn’t they? Given their solid reputation and reliability, the brand has worked its way into many households and customers’ hearts. The Etios we tested should be no different as it aims to bring the Toyota badge to the masses on an affordable scale.
Fitted with a 1.5-litre petrol engine with 66kW of power, the rather large powertrain, by today’s standards, gets the small car hustling rather quickly and can do the 0-100km/h sprint in 11.3 seconds, while the top speed is a claimed 165km/h.
There’s no denying the fun-to-drive characteristics the Etios offers, mostly because of its hearty motor. However, it does return rather respectable fuel consumption figures too, averaging around 6.0 litres/100km in the hatch derivative we tested.
That said, the car may be relatively good to drive, for the price, but you can see how the Japanese automotive giant managed to keep the Etios with its price tag. Using a combination of hard plastics and durable material, the signs of cost-cutting are clear. When you get behind the wheel of the car, you’re immediately aware of its affordability.
Although, I do admit, its competitors have done a far better job at dressing up their budget buys in better quality suits. The Hyundai i10, for instance, just seems to be kitted in better trim and the finish is way up there.
However, the Etios continues to be a popular seller for the Toyota stable, and perhaps it’s the car’s easy-to-drive persona and the heritage that the badge signifies that keeps South Africans true to their beloved brand.
But, in a time where price is king, maybe Toyota will be dethroned as consumers look to other automotive companies that are really showing their mettle when it comes to such an aggressive segment and the products they’re offering.