Toyota's entry level sedan, the hugely successful Etios, now gets a diesel twin. And it's ready to rattle. The diesel Etios is powered by Toyota's 1.4-litre, D-4D engine. So it has the same engine as the Corolla Altis but detuned to produce a maximum power of 68Ps at 3800rpm. It produces a maximum torque of 170Nm from 1800 to 2400rpm. Toyota has also done away with the expensive Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT) and has opted for a simpler Fixed Geometry Turbo (FGT) instead. All of this in pursuit of low cost and better fuel efficiency and Toyota claims an ARAI-certified mileage of 23.5kmpl for the Etios. And if it weren't for the Indigo e-CS which boasts of 25kmpl the Etios would have been the leader of this pack. The gearbox is again similar to the Corolla Altis, except it's a five-speed manual here. Which means, just like in the Altis, reverse gear is engaged by lifting the collar on the lever and pushing it forward to the left.
The Etios diesel is available in three variants - GD, VD and VXD. The J-variant available in petrol - the one without power steering has been done away with. The GD variant will not have the tachometer, front fog lamps, stereo and safety equipment like SRS Airbags, ABS and EBD. But Toyota has a Safety Package which can be optioned on any diesel variant for about 45,000 rupees more and which we think is a positive move and we suggest you spend that extra buck because it's worth it. The other two variants will have these as default. Externally, the diesel version mirrors its petrol twin.
The VXD starts with a fair amount of clatter. But once the engine is warmed up the noise reduces considerably. The test drive was a short one but the initial feel was pleasant. Power delivery is linear and smooth but 68PS isn't going to deliver a rocking performance. Acceleration is same as the Liva diesel with 0-100km achieved in 17.31 seconds. Its relaxed nature and strong torqueness means that long distances are covered easily. But the downside is the gearbox which is not as slick as the Etios petrol and requires a bit of muscling to engage.
Toyota has priced the Etios diesel, ex-showroom Delhi, at Rs 6.44 lakh for the GD, Rs 6.89 for GD with Safety Package, Rs 7.41 lakh for VD and Rs7.87 lakh for the VXD.
The Maruti Suzuki Dzire diesel has a price range of Rs 5.78 lakh to Rs 7.1 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, which means the base version of the Etios is costlier than that of the Dzire by almost 66,000 rupees and 55,000 rupees more than that of the Tata Manza. The price difference is significant but the Etios with its quality, space, refinement and easy going nature scores heavily over the others.
Though the customers many not take too much shine to its styling, particularly on the inside, Etios diesel is bang on the money for this segment.
The Etios has been compared to its compe