Toyota is planning to inject more appeal into its Etios Liva hatchback to give it an image makeover. Though the Liva is selling in decent numbers on the promise of reliability and practicality, Toyota is keen to make it more of an emotional purchase as well. The aim is to appeal to younger buyers who are veering towards the Swift, the current king in the premium hatchback segment.
To spice up the Liva, Toyota is planning several upgrades. The recently launched limited edition Liva TRD Sportivo which, as the name suggests, gets a sporty touch with a body kit and some graphics. A minor face-lift, which will see marginal changes to the headlights, bumpers and interiors is also on the cards and will come sometime in 2013 to keep the Liva as fresh as possible.
The big news however, is the launch of a more powerful Liva which will borrow the same 1.5-litre engine in the Etios saloon. Hence, the 1.5 Liva which will produce 90bhp is expected to be significantly quicker than the current 1.2 79bhp model to enhance driver appeal. Also, the 1.5 Liva is likely to come with the Sportivo’s body kit, enhanced interiors and wider tyres.
Since the 1.5 Liva won’t benefit from a lower excise duty on small cars (applicable to cars with petrol engines below 1.2-litres), it will be significantly more expensive than the standard 1.2 Liva. However, Toyota has no plans to sell the sportier version of the Liva in big numbers and is essentially launching it as a brand building exercise to fit in its recent entry into motor racing with the one-make Etios racing series.