2010 Toyota Etios

    The talking point of the Etios is its very aggressive price.

    Published on Feb 21, 2011 08:00:00 AM


    In sharp contrast to the Etios’ bland exteriors is its unconventional dashboard. The instrument panel is not where you expect it to be, the central console with two vertically stacked centre vents is like nothing we’ve seen before (the lower one can be aimed at the rear seat). The flat-bottomed steering wheel (and the massive glovebox are unique as well. The odd placement of the various bits does take some getting used to, but once you get accustomed to the new layout, the change is actually quite welcome. Surprisingly, for all the chop and change, the functionality of the cabin is brilliant. The chunky steering with its dimple finish (only available on the VXi model) feels terrific and the white semi-circular speedo and tachometer are quite distinctive, especially when lit up at night.

    However, there are plenty of low-rent bits as well. The dashboard plastics don’t have a quality feel, the air-con controls look like they have been lifted from an old Maruti and the cable-type headlamp height adjuster looks even worse. Then, the carpets are very basic and the sun visors look cheap too. Why Toyota has painted many bits in Bangkok-red lipstick is anybody’s guess. It looks too loud and out of place and is at odds with the conservative nature of this car.

    The Etios’ trump card is space. The front and rear seats are both big and wide, offering excellent back and thigh support. There is plenty of leg- and headroom around as well. The Etios is almost as wide as a Camry, so sitting three abreast at the rear is quite comfy. And making life easy for the middle passenger is the flat floor and well designed backrest. However, what these seats lack is good lateral support and passengers do slide around a bit on the flat surfaces if you corner the Etios vigorously. There are no proper headrests in the rear and no central armrest but even so the large area the seats offer, the perfect backrest angle and the ‘hip’ point translate into a very comfortable sitting posture.

    It’s not just passenger space that’s class-leading. Storage space is phenomenal too. Apart from the massive cooled glovebox, there are lots of useful cubbyholes, generous door pockets and seven bottle-holders! To top it off is a 595-litre boot which can easily swallow the luggage of five passengers on a long holiday. This is one area Toyota has not stinted on.

    Toyota Cars

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