The Etios diesel’s interiors are unchanged from the petrol sibling and you get the same airy and spacious cabin. 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. Since the Etios is almost as wide as a Camry, sitting three abreast at the rear is quite a comfy affair. 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 and firm surfaces if you corner hard.
There are no proper headrests in the rear and no central armrest either. However, the spacious seats, the perfect backrest angle and the ‘hip’ point translate into a 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 the Etios has a 595-litre boot which can easily swallow the luggage of five passengers on a long holiday.
The quirky dashboard design 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 chopping and changing, the functionality of the cabin is brilliant. The chunky steering with its dimpled finish 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 tacky. Then, the carpets are very basic and the sun visors look cheap too. Why Toyota has painted many bits in lipstick red is anybody’s guess. It looks too loud and is at odds with the conservative nature of this car.