Toyota’s gone and done it. It’s equipped the Etios saloon and Liva hatchback with a diesel engine – the same four-cylinder, 1.4-litre D4D engine that’s in the Toyota Corolla Altis.
To cut down costs, the engine uses a fixed geometry turbo and different gear ratios. Here, in the Etios siblings, the engine develops 67bhp of power and 17.34kgm of torque. The extra weight of the diesel engine and the additional sound deadening means the top end Etios weighs in at 1005kg – that’s 75kg more than the petrol.
The diesel engine is more focussed on city driving and pulls well from 1800rpm with peak torque kicking in at 2000rpm. But torque trails off quickly past 3500rpm and so, working this engine hard is not rewarding. Still, the slick, five-speed gearbox helps make good use of the 17.34kgm of torque at hand.
Overtaking on the highway will work the engine a fair bit and the diesel engine clatter, which is audible, gets quite intrusive at higher revs. The ratios are well matched to the engine though, and the 1.4-litre D4D has been tuned to provide the best fuel efficiency while delivering adequate performance. The Etios as per ARAI test delivers 23.59kpl. But we'll have to wait and see how it fares in our tests.
As for the ride, the Etios was always a bit stiff at low speeds but now, with the increase in weight, the suspension had to be re-tuned. This shows up in the improved bump absorption and pliancy. The car also continues to display good composure and rides nice and flat at higher speeds. The added weight of the engine has another positive side effect – the steering feels more weighty and substantial, which is nice.
The Liva diesel shares the same engine as the Etios diesel saloon and even the gearbox is identical. The only difference is that the Liva is offered with 14-inch wheels as against the saloon's 15-inchers. No surprises with the performance – the Liva hatchback behaves much like the Etios saloon. However, because of the smaller tyres, the Liva doesn’t feel as grippy as the saloon.
That apart, the Etios and the Liva look the same as before, with no changes to the trim levels. However, in diesel guise, the Liva hatchback will come only in the G variant, while the Etios saloon will not be offered in the base J variant.
The Etios and Etios Liva diesel might not be the most exciting diesels around, but if you’re looking for a practical and versatile hatch or saloon with a diesel motor, then these siblings will be right up your alley.