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Toyota Platinum Etios First Drive

What is it?

Toyota Platinum Etios First Drive

Toyota's another attempt at finding more buyers for a practical and spacious family sedan, which lacked the oomph, the exciting factor it needed to lure in buyers. The Etios was refreshed in 2013, when the exterior and interior were updated. This time around too, Toyota has improved its appearance. Most importantly, after a lot of research and feedback from customers, they have added many new safety features to make it compatible with the upcoming safety norms. We will come to these later.

For now, let's have a look at the cosmetic changes. The most evident one is up front with a new bumper with black and chrome accents, and a revised V-shaped grille with black honeycomb inserts. This is a radical change over the ordinary-looking earlier model, making the front end look quite busy now. However, the slight use of chrome on a boomerang-shaped accent near the fog lamp and chrome lining on the grille have managed to add to the appeal. The same slab-sided side profile continues with the creases and old alloys. Still Toyota has added a chrome slat at the back with Etios badging, while the re-sculpted rear bumper looks sharper.

The Platinum Etios now looks more upmarket and these changes should help it stand out from the old model which will continue to be sold for the commercial and fleet market.  This should add to the joy of prospective buyers who would want their car to look different from a cab/taxi.

Toyota Platinum Etios First Drive

How is it on the inside?

Toyota Platinum Etios First Drive

Slightly different than its predecessor. Even if the overall layout remains the same, the fabric for the seats has changed and the dashboard is in dual tone - black and beige. Skimping on bells and whistles again can be understood considering it to be a budget sedan. However, some components still can’t hide the fact that the carmaker has cut corners. For example, the air-con vents look and feel very old. Overall plastic quality is average and doesn’t give a feel of a 10 lakh rupee car. The meaty steering wheel wrapped in high quality leather feels nice, but could have been set at a higher position. Unfortunately, the instrument cluster’s position remains the same, but the new meters look good and are functional.

The Etios always had a good all-round visibility even when sitting low, thanks to the large glasshouse. The Platinum Etios is no different. In fact, now the seat height can be also be adjusted. Seats are supportive due to the good side bolstering and have adequate thigh support as well. Like before, the cabin is ergonomical and there are plenty of storage places in the front and second row. The highlight remains the 13litre cooled glove box, which is fairly deep. The second row also offers generous amount of space. The door panels are nicely sculpted with comfortable arm rests. The foot room is generous, so accommodating even those with XL sized boots isn't much of a task. Although the windows don’t completely go down, they are large enough to not make anyone feel claustrophobic. Even the fifth occupant won’t feel short changed due to the 595litre boot. Thanks to the light colour, airy cabin and comfortable seats, the Etios is a good long distance companion.

Also, where Toyota has taken the game up is on safety features. ABS and EBD are standard across all variants and the body structure has been strengthened in key places. Furthermore, every trim gets Isofix mounts for child seats as well. Then the second row gets a three-point seat belt with adjustable headrest. Both these features surely make the third occupant feel secure. For the infotainment needs you get a 2-din music system that looks after-market and feels basic. But the best part is that the much-needed features missing from the predecessor have been added. This includes the door auto-lock feature, electrically foldable and adjustable ORVMs, one-touch-down function for the driver’s window, height-adjustable driver seat and adjustable head rests.

Toyota Platinum Etios First Drive

How does it drive?

Toyota Platinum Etios First Drive

Toyota has carried over the powerplants from the previous model. So what you get is a 1.5-litre petrol mill and a 1.4-litre diesel mill. We got to sample the more popular diesel unit. This produces a modest 67bhp of power and 170Nm of torque in a very linear manner. Sure it does have a turbo lag below 1,700rpm, but isn’t upsetting due to the satisfactory mid-range and car’s light weight. The motor is responsive and revs clean till 4,000rpm. Despite the fact that Toyota has worked on the cabin insulation, we could still hear the engine noise when revved or on the move. Nevertheless, with a soft clutch action, the Platinum Etios is enjoyable to drive within the city. Even on the highway, you can cruise at speeds of 100kmph at around 2,500rpm in the fifth gear. The 67bhp of power doesn't feel insufficient if you work through the gears efficiently. And this isn't difficult thanks to the slick gearbox.

Toyota Platinum Etios First Drive

The earlier versions of the Etios had a stiff ride and though Toyota has re-tuned the Platinum Etios’ suspension, it is still stiff in a good way. It is well-calibrated to absorb bumps and offer a good composure. This also offers a flat and firm ride at high speeds. Despite being just above 1000kg, the car feels stable at three-digit speeds. The steering is direct, but it is too slow like before. The brakes have a good bite and the pedal’s linearity is good to stop the car even in a panic situation. ABS and EBD have anyway got your back if and when the need arises.

Toyota Platinum Etios First Drive

Should I buy one?

It is true that the Etios sedan still lacks that quirky or cool trait that many cars of today have. But that can be avoided to look at the practical side of the car. The Platinum Etios looks better than its earlier model, is spacious, has comfortable seats, has a frugal engine, drives well, is packed with necessary equipment and is priced well. And what makes it an even sweeter deal is that all trims are by default equipped with all the new safety features.

Toyota Platinum Etios First Drive

Where does it fit in?

Priced between Rs 6.83-8.87 lakh, the Toyota Platinum Etios competes with the Fiat Linea, Mahindra Verito and even the compact sedans like the Honda Amaze, Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire etc.

Toyota Platinum Etios First Drive

Pictures by Kapil Angane

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Toyota Platinum Etios Price in India

CityOn-Road Prices
Mumbai₹ 8.3 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 8.72 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 7.95 Lakhs onwards
Pune₹ 8.26 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 8.29 Lakhs onwards
Ahmedabad₹ 7.87 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 8.1 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 8.01 Lakhs onwards
Chandigarh₹ 7.88 Lakhs onwards
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