FLAMBOYANT and stylish, Toyota has recently launched the new Toyota Etios Cross. The standard Etios might look sedated when compared to its steroid-injected brother, who is, well… Cross (sorry we couldn’t resist).
Making up a healthy portion of Toyota’s sales, the Etios line-up has been a solid performer, stealing the hearts of those who own one, with its spacious interior and powerful engine.
Not happy with dominating in just the small hatch segment, Toyota pumped up the Etios by placing it on stilts and slapping on some rugged SUV-type bits, like roof rails and a rear spoiler along with a new “cross grille” in the front.
It does look rather menacing in its design, thanks to the skid plate at the front and the plastic cladding. Complementing the ride are the 15-inch alloy wheels in diamond-cut design.
Ready to take the fight to the likes of VW’s Polo Cross and Renault’s Sandero Stepway, this baby crossover will still sport the familiar 1.5-litre petrol engine, which is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, found in the rest of the Etios range.
Producing 66kW of power and 132Nm of torque, it’s a reliable motor that feels preppy and will propel the car from standstill to 100km/h in approximately 11.3 seconds, strolling to a top speed of 165km/h.
By no means a quick drive, but it’s the functionality - coupled with good fuel consumption figures of roughly 6 litres/100km - that will get people huddling towards the infamous Toyota brand.
As South Africans, we do love the outdoors, and if our car is dressed in the proper attire, it does make the outdoors that much more appealing.
Moving inside, we’re pleased to see that the cabin has been reworked - updating the once dull interior. The inclusion of Bluetooth, radio with USB connectivity and air conditioning, are all nice touches and something you would want in a vehicle of this stature.
Toyota has also decided to retain the seven cup holders in this five-seater while the inclusion of a glove box with cooling function, will keep those drinks cold.
Nothing really changes under the skin. The Etios suspension is the same but does gain a couple of millimetres of extra ground clearance. Essentially, it doesn’t disappoint in ride delivery; the chassis is well sorted and will soak up the ugly bumps rather well. But the increased ride-height does change the handling dynamics through the corners, ever so slightly.
Ultimately, the Etios Cross certainly looks the part with its crossover styling. Throw into the mix Toyota’s reliability and you have a proper aggressive hatch that’ll look great in the city.
The Etios Cross comes with ToyotaCare’s two-year/30 000km service plan and three-year/100 000km warranty.
Toyota Etios Cross 1.5 XS hatch R159 800