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Shiva Shankar Shiva Shankar Saturday 19 May 2012

Toyota Etios Liva Diesel First Impression

Toyota Etios Liva Diesel was a very important launch for Toyota, following the success of the sedan Etios. The Toyota Qualis has made the brand synonymous with supreme quality. Though discontinued now, its users still vouch for it.

Toyota Etios Liva

Entering the hatch segment was not a surprising decision that Toyota took since lately it has got very popular and has urged many premium makers to divulge in it. Toyota wanted to ride on the success of utility segment and continue its legacy in the small car segment too, which initially was a Maruti Suzuki territory only.

We test drive the Toyota Etios Diesel variant to find out if it has enough punch to fight with its competitors.


There is nothing major to distinguish the Etios from the Liva from the Front. The Liva has the same Large Headlights, Front Grill and Fog Lamps from its sibling. The side profile of the Liva looks a lot better than the Etios. Although the boot on the Etios is well blended into the overall look of the car, the Liva looks a lot better without it.

Toyota Etios Liva

The Tail Lamps on the Liva too, looks comparatively better than the Etios. The Large Triangular Lights give way to better proportioned, vertically stacked tail Lamps. Overall the rear of the Liva does not look as Cheesy as the Etios. Even the rear chrome strip does not look out of place and the rear spoiler adds that extra bit of Sportiness. Overall, the bland Etios suddenly comes to life in the Liva.

The Liva too is equipped with single wiper blades, which is quite efficient at cleaning the front wind shield.The miniature front Fog lamps are ineffective. The only thing that they do is work as effective parking lamps and Toyota gets to add that as a feature on their brochure. Dual Reverse Lamps, thankfully, make a return on the Liva.

The Ribbed roof (similar to what we saw on the Micra and the Etios) adds stability / rigidity while helping to keep the weight down.The boot, though not as large as the Etios (Obviously, what else were we to expect), comes in at a decent 251 litres and is capable of fitting in a couple of small bags in a tight squeeze. It is sufficient for city travel and the occasional outing too. The rear seats however, unlike the Etios, are foldable in the Liva. No 60:40 split, but atleast you can fit in the larger bags if you really need to.

Toyota Etios Liva

The boot floor again is just a thin piece of Corrugated PVC sheet. If I owned a Liva, I would not try and load anything heavy in the boot. The spare wheel has a standard 15” Steel Rim. I would not really call that cost cutting, as these days; everyone seems to be doing the same thing. 


The interiors of the Etios and the Liva are identical, sans the boot space.The stereo system looked much better this time around. Maybe we just got used to its look. However, there was no improvement on the sound quality.Plastic quality is strictly average. Everything is hard touch. Dashboard colour is similar to that of the Etios and helps in reducing glare on the windscreen.

Toyota Etios Liva

The flat bottom steering wheel looks sporty and is great to hold, but the feedback offered from it is negligent. It is super soft in the city but does not weigh up enough as speed increases. It does have steering height adjustment which seemed more of a gimmick to me, as the travel was barely a couple of inches. In the VX variant, we find audio controls on steering wheel also.Sit in the driver’s seat and there is little you can complain, except for maybe the lack of a height adjustable seat and adjustable seat belts. Yet the seat is positioned high enough so that even a shorter driver will have a good view of the road. The rear seat is quite thin, yet provides excellent back and thigh support. The front seat literally hugs you and gives a very comfortable feel.

The speedometer console is not in its regular place. Instead, it is right in the middle of the dashboard. Personally I don’t like the setup at all. The speedometer numbers are small and it is tough to tell the speed at first glance. There is also a shadow that is created by the needle which shows a pseudo speed about 20kmph more than what you are actually doing. The tachometer is also too far to the right to be used effectively. You don’t get any MID display too, which is the norm these days. It has just 2 basic trip meters.

The Rear Seats are comfortable and provides adequate thigh support. The recline angle is also excellent for a comfortable ride. Integrated head rests are provided all around, but we won’t complain as they are soft and it feels good to rest your head on them.

The Liva has a lot of interior space with plenty of leg room all around. The rear seats can comfortably seat 3 people and the centre passenger gets a good deal too. The middle seat is soft and the low transmission tunnel doesn’t intrude into his leg space either.The interior theme looks good, but might not suit everyone’s taste. The interior fabric quality is quite good.The AC vents are positioned quite uniquely. Toyota says this setup helps more airflow towards the rear passengers. The round Vents operate differently from the ones we see regularly, although I can’t really say if they provide any kind of an advantage. In fact I feel the standard ones are much better. You can’t completely close them either and air flows out from the sides.

Toyota Etios Liva

With a lower capacity engine, we do not think it would be any better than the Etios, which took quite a while to cool the cabin in the summer heat.You can close the vent to the left of the Front Passenger and open the glove box vent to direct the AC air into the Glove box. The 13 liter glove box can store a lot of items in it.The front doors open really wide but don’t close with a soft thud. You need to apply some amount of force to close the doors. The Door pockets are large enough to hold 1 liter bottles. You also get some storage behind the hand brake and in front of the gear lever.

The Power window switches are quite tacky. The Front door arm rests are adequate to rests your hand on, but the rear ones are quite small.OVRM’s have to be manually adjusted from inside. No electrical adjustment provided.Many features are missing to save costs. You don’t get any lane change indicators, no anti-drip wiping and the Doors don’t auto lock either. Flimsy Sun-Visors have been used; the Bonnet Lever and XL Sized Headlight Leveler look like they have been taken out of a car from the 90's.

Just to add another couple of points, the rear windows go only about 3/4th the way down. All passengers get grab handles on the roof with integrated coat hangers. Keyless entry has a separate remote control for it; it is not integrated within the key itself.


The Etios Liva Diesel is powered by a 4 cylinder SOHC D-4D 1364cc diesel unit. It produces a power of 68PS at 3800 rpm and a torque of 170Nm at 1800 – 2400 rpm. It has a 5 Speed manual transmission gearbox.

The engine of the Toyota Liva Diesel is as smooth as any other diesel car, and noisier compared to its petrol version. We took this one for a small ride on the state highway. The car impressed us with its turn radius of 4.8M, it is a hatchback and that coupled with the turn radius makes it an ideal in city alternative.

Toyota Etios Liva

Changing through different gears is not a task at all as the transmission is smooth. Another plus point is the Air-Conditioning, it is very effective and also since it can be directed in the glove box one car store items like Chocolates and beverages. The utility element of the interiors is endorsed by the cup holders, provided on each door.

The suspension levels of the Etios Liva Diesel are very appropriate and are very well balanced between stiff and soft settings. Since it borrows its engine from the sedan the performances are similar though what naturally makes the difference is the body type, the hatchback ideally should have scored more but the sedan feels tighter round the corners.

The drawback as mentioned before is the speedometer positing. It is a not a very driver friendly arrangement so that would be a strong minus for the Toyota hatch.

Toyota claims a mileage of 23 kmpl with this one, this can be a relief as petrol prices have decided not to look back and instead keep sprinting upwards. 

Tech specs
Technical Specifications
Make Toyota
Model Etios Liva
Engine cc/No of Cylinders 1364/4
Fuel Diesel
Power PS/RPM 68PS/3800
Torque Nm/RPM 170/2400
Transmission 5/Manual
Length 3775 mm
Width 1695mm
Height 1510mm
Ground clearance 170mm
Wheel Base 2550mm
Fuel Tank capacity 45 litres
Turning circle radius 4.8M
Mileage in KMPL 23 kmpl
Features GD GD(sp)
Price latest
Ex showroom Bangalore Rs. 580012 611144
On road Bangalore 702145 739208
Body coloured bumper Yes Yes
Fog lamp No Yes
Body coloured ORVM Yes Yes
Tubeless tyres Yes Yes
Alloy wheels No Yes
AC with heater Yes Yes
Power windows Yes Yes
Electric power steering Yes Yes
Central locking Yes Yes
Pillow type rear headrest Yes Yes
Rear defogger Yes No
Tilt steering Yes Yes
Chrome accented shift knob No No
Audio control on steering wheel No No
Audio System No No
Fabric Upholstery Single tone Single tone
ABS with EBD Yes Yes
SRS Airbag No Yes
Immobiliser Yes Yes
Keyless entry Yes Yes
Tyre rating 175/65 R14 175/65 R14
Variant Etios Liva Diesel GD(SP) Pulse RXZ with Dual airbag Beat Diesel LT Option Indica Ev2 GLX
Ex showroom price Bangalore (Rs.) 611144 663250 577237 514360
Engine cc/No. of Cylinders 1364/4 1461/4 936/3 1396/4
Power PS/RPM 68/4000 64/4000 58.5/4000 70/4000
Torque in Nm/RPM 170/2000 160/2000 150/1750 140/3000
Transmission 5/M 5/M 5/M 5/M
Dimensions (mm)
Length 3775 3805 3640 3690
Width 1695 1665 1595 1665
Height 1510 1525 1520 1485
Ground clearance 170 NA 175 165
Tyre Size 175/65 R14 175/60 R15 165/65 R14 165/65 R14
Alloy wheels Yes Yes Yes No
Mileage kmpl 23 23.8 24 25
Key features
Power steering Yes Yes Yes Yes
AC Yes Yes Yes Yes
Front power windows Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rear power windows Yes Yes Yes No
Central locking Yes Yes Yes Yes
Music system Yes Yes Yes Yes
ABS Yes No Yes No
Airbag 2 2 2 No

The Toyota Etios Liva is a promising car, with enough support from the Toyota brand. Their densely populated dealership and the quality of experience the company claims are sufficient to back-up this diesel hatch. The pricing of the Etios Liva Diesel has also been kept apt in line with the competition. 

Toyota Etios Liva

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