When is the time to pen down your ownership review? According to me 5000 kms. of driving is sufficient for all vital parameters of the vehicle show their real colour. Then, here we go with my review:- Flash back
The first car of our family was Maruti 800 which was brought in 2003. An entry level car without any A/c., Power Steering, Power Windows, etc. Over a period of time I became a die-hard Maruti fan on account of its excellent service network / low running cost. The next upgrade in 2007 was naturally for another Maruti Model, ie. Esteem with CNG kit installed, which helped me in keeping the running cost very low. Both the above models were a great asset and provided reliable and economic mode of personal transport for me and my family. But things changed over a period of time. With fuel prices increasing sky-high, including the cost of CNG, the difference in running cost of a CNG fitted car and a diesel car had become negligible. Further my Esteem had also started showing signs of wear & tear after having run around 65000 kms. in 4 years. Most importantly, new flashy models were out in the market, clouding my senses. Finally in Aug 2011, I decided to upgrade my car.
My budget was around 7 Lacs (with 80% financing) and my requirement was only a sedan, considering that I alongwith my family go out of Delhi on family vacation typically twice a year & boot space was compulsory. Fuel economy was also a big factor. Being a Maruti fan, my initial choice was Maruti Dzire Petrol with CNG kit installed. Another choice was to go for a Dzire Diesel. Both would have been within my budget. After lots of discussion / calculation, finally it was decided to go for a Diesel variant, as it made sense as my average running made it economical in diesel. Moreover, the running cost between CNG & Diesel would have been same around Rs. 2/- per Km. Another advantage of going for a Diesel variant would save me from standing in CNG stations almost every alternate day for refill.
But then came the shocker.
Due to strike in Maruti plant the delivery schedule of Diesel models went upto 32-34 weeks. The resale value of my old Esteem was also going down. That was a big dampener to my spirits. I had no choice but to look for other options within my budget and other requirements including economy in fuel efficiency, low maintenance cost, good after sales service, etc. Then the option of Toyota came in. Buying Experience:
I walked into Galaxy Toyota showroom at Moti Nagar during the 1st week of Sept. Requested for test drive and the sales person was happy to offer one. What followed was an experience! I had weighed the ETIOS against Swift Dzire & I found what I needed exactly in the ETIOS. The car stood out as a no nonsense practical vehicle. What impressed me was its simplicity and great space. It had all the features I was looking for in a sedan within my budget. Simple in looks but excellent in other parameters. I went ahead and booked the vehicle (Harmony Beige, GD Model) on the 23rd Sept. without second thoughts. The sales person assured me that the delivery would be done before Diwali (25th Oct) & true to his word, I got the vehicle delivered on 23rd Oct. I also got good re-sale value for my good old Esteem.
Toyota U Trust, which deals in buying & selling used cars, offered me Rs. 1.6 Lacs for my 4 year old Esteem & I jumped for the offer, since no one in the market was offering me more than 1.25 Lacs. Initial impressions
These are my initial observations after the test drive:-
• Space (sitting & boot)- Huge
• Very responsive engine
• Very smooth gear change.
• Good pickup.
• Very light steering. Easy to drive in traffic and turn radius is also less.
• Seat comfort.
• Unconventional central dashboard.
• Huge Air cooled glove box.
• Single wiper. Covers 90% of the windscreen in one swipe.
• Last but not the least, “Toyota Brand”
Not so positive :
• Simple looks (both interior & exterior) which is subjective.
• No company fitted music system. Does not make a difference. Good quality Music systems are available in the market compared to the music system provided by the company.
• Only one remote locking key.
• Remote is only for opening & closing the door without keys. No additional security features like warning in case of unauthorized intrusion or warning in case one of the doors / boot is left open when the remote is pressed for locking.
• Door doesn't lock automatically once the car is started. Has to be done manually.
• Only one tail light blinks when the car is reversing. Looks very odd.
• Poor fabric quality for the seats. Does not matter since owners go for additional seat cover.
• No freebies Impact on Pocket
Vehicle cost 7.41 lacs.
Following Additional Accessories Cost :Rs. 27,000/- (approx)
1. Seat Covers
2. Floor Mats
3. Boot Mat
4. Mud Flaps
5. Steering cover
6. Car Stereo (Sony)
7. Rear Speakers (JBL)
8. Reverse Sensor (AutoCop)
9. Vehicle reverse alarm
10. Gear Lock (AutoCop)
11. Transparent Bumper Guards (Autographics)
12. Toyota Security System. (Got fitted from Toyota Dealer)
Except for the Toyota Security System, all other accessories were got fitted from outside accessory dealers since the rates quoted by Toyota dealer were exorbitant. For example, Sony Stereo was costing Rs. 9.500/- from a Sony dealer, while Toyota dealer was selling it at MRP price of Rs. 12,990/-. Reverse Sensor (AutoCop) cost my Rs. 2,100/- while it was Rs. 5,500/- with the Toyota Dealer. Gear Lock (AutoCop) cost me Rs. 850/- whereas at Toyota Dealership it was for Rs. 1,500/-. However, I ensured that no internal wirings are cut for installation of all accessories. As far as Toyota Security System is concerned, I had no other option, since if I had gone for AutoCop car security system costing around Rs. 4,000/-, the existing Toyota remote would have had to be changed. Only regret, that despite all security improvements in existing remote, the windows still can’t be automatically closed when the door is locked using the remote. This would have required cutting and joining existing wires, which I didn’t want to take chance. Review after driving around 8500 kms. in a little over 4 months : Exteriors
As far as the external design of the car is concerned, I liked the smiling front grille design and the overall shaping of the car. The car is definitely not as attractive, but definitely has a distinct styling and an excellent road presence. From the front it looks like Toyota Innova & from the back like Logan. Interiors / Boot
As far as interiors go, it is simple and & unconventional with the placement of speedometer dial in the centre. I personally liked the central placement, since it was different from other cars. The space provision for storing 7 water bottles & a mini-cooler glove box was a bonus for my family since we take time out twice a year for long drives. Regarding space, Etios is having the best space among C-segment and even higher-end cars. My family and I enjoyed the comfort of large cabin and boot space during our long drive from Delhi to Agra & back during Oct. last week. Three adults sat comfortably at the rear without being cramped for space. The boot was full, dumped with two big suitcases and a massive professional Yamaha Electronic Keyboard. Yet there was lots of space still available. Performance
Excellent performance both in City & highway conditions. My daily run is around 70 kms. (between Delhi – Noida) with 30% expressway & 70% city traffic conditions. Driving at top-gear on highways is an experience in itself. At constant speed between 90-95 kmpl and the vehicle is very stable. One does not realize the speed & only when you the window is opened, you realize speed at which the vehicle is moving. Suspensions are good. Road grip is excellent and does not feel unstable at high speeds. Regarding complaints of rattling sound, and High NVH levels, I have not heard anything abnormal till date. AC is very effective and I have to keep the ducts in closed position most of times. The central positioning of the speedo dial provides clear view of all the vital parameters of the vehicle while driving. Regarding water seepage, I find it amusing !!! Agreed, rubber beading is missing from the doors, but the same is there on the other side & it is virtually impossible for water to seep in. I have personally supervised during washing during first service & found no water seepage. Yes, over a period of time, dirt does got accumulated in the gaps on account of missing beads. If not cleaned regularly, the door becomes tight occasionally with the rubber beads on one side sticking on the metal sheet due to moisture/dust & more force is required to open the door in such cases. On second thoughts, I feel additional rubber beading could have been given on the doors to prevent occasional jamming. But, the company still can do the beeding fitting at extra cost for existing vehicles & I feel Etios owners would welcome it. If given an option, I would surely get it done at extra cost.
Fuel efficiency is best in class. Initially, before the 1st service, I got mileage of around 19 kmpl, which included a trip to Agra. However, after the first service (9th Nov.) & till date, I am getting an average of around 22 kmpl in Delhi-Noida section without Air Conditioner. GREAT FUEL ECONOMY !!!!
I would like to pen down an incident which occurred within one month from the date of purchase. It was around 7:00 pm and was quiet dark (being November end). I was coming back from my office at Noida Ph-II and was at the Service Lane adjacent to Greater Noida Expressway. I was driving at a speed of around 25-30 kmph. Suddenly, the front left wheel of my Eios went into a crater (around 6-8” deep and 3 feet wide) and came out. Due to the impact, the front left rim bent and the tubeless tyre became flat with all the air coming out instantly. Luckly, Toyota Road Service people came in within 45 minutes from my calling and replaced the wheel with the stepny. Luckly nothing else was damaged. The tubeless tyre was also not damaged. However, I had to get the rim replaced, costing around Rs. 900/-. I don’t know how much blame can be put on the quality of the rim, which was not able to resist the impact & got damaged. It could have happened with any other car also. However, I appreciate the promptness of the Toyota Road Service people in their assistance. Conclusion
When the elders in the house look for a life partner for their grown-up son/daughter, they match 36 “Guns” of the probable couple. 100% matching is impossible. They compromise & the relationship is accepted, if the majority of the “Guns” match. It has ben rightly said that for relationships to work, you have to do compromises. Likewise, Toyota Etios Diesel is a practical car with very good drivability, handling, comfort, space, low maintenance & great mileage. The compromise is in the looks of the interior & other minor shortcomings. For people who are concerned about interior looks & would like to show off would be disappointed. This car is not for them. I would like to quote a song from an old Rajesh Khanna movie :- Dil ko dekho, chehraa na dekho
Chehron ne laakhon ko loota
Haan, dil sacha aur chehra jhoota
Dil sacha aur chehra jhoota
Whatever I needed, I am happy that I got it in my Etios Diesel. I don’t know what the future holds as far as my relationship with Etios Diesel is concerned. That would be part of my “Long term ownership review” maybe after 2 years (or 25,000 kms.) of purchase. Till then wishing everyone “HAPPY & SAFE DRIVING”