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The well-respected Etios range has established itself as a staple in the small passenger car market in South Africa, as well as Toyota’s arsenal. Available in both hatchback and sedan iterations, Etios has garnered appeal with customers seeking affordability, practicality and reliability.
A regular feature on the Top 10 sales list, the models’ wide appeal is evidenced by the fact that a total of 12 768 units found welcoming homes in the 2016 calendar year.
“The Etios represents one of the core models for Toyota, and has proven popular with a wide variety of customers. The pay-off line “Here to make you smile” represents what Etios is all about; simple rewarding motoring – and with the most recent styling, spec and safety upgrades, it is set to continue.” says Glenn Crompton, Vice President of Marketing.
As previewed at the Festival of Motoring held in October last year, the ‘Sprint’ model is the newest kid-on-the-block in the Etios range. So what is the Sprint all about, you might ask? The Sprint model replaces the previous mid-grade ‘Xs’ offering and brings with it a number of unique attributes.
The key change point is the new front bumper design; incorporating a large lower air dam as its main focal point. The lower air dam stretches the entire front width, and features integrated fog lamps with sculpted bezels. Subtle graining has been applied to lend an air of quality.
The lower grille is fashioned in matching black and utilises sharp horizontal slats to reinforce the muscular theme. The upper radiator grille employs a distinctive wing-like motif, with the Toyota ellipse at its centre and a broad chrome ‘brow’ forming the upper border.
The rear also receives styling tweaks in order to form a cohesive design. The rear bumper incorporates an elegant lower crease line accentuating the profile – flowing from the outer corners and blending into the number plate recess. The revised bumper treatment bumps up the overall length by 109mm (hatch) and 104mm (sedan).
Adding additional visual flair are new twin-spoke 15” alloy wheels fitted with 185/60R15 rubber and a carbon-fibre-inspired Sprint badge.
With the addition of the Sprint model, the Etios range now boasts three different models each with their own visual identity.
The entry-level Xi derivative retains its current styling, with the addition of a colour-coded grille with chrome accents, and continues to offer a strong focus on value. As mentioned, the Sprint model occupies the ‘middle ground’ and offers increased comfort and convenience specification to compliment the refreshed exterior styling.
Completing the triple play, is the Cross model (available in hatchback only), with its distinctive ‘urban-adventurer’ cladding and bespoke exterior styling.
All models have also received an upgrade to interior tactile elements, creating a greater feeling of solidity. The trilogy is underpinned by the same proven chassis and drivetrain configuration.
On the suspension front, a Macpherson strut design is adopted for the front. Shock absorber anti-dust performance is enhanced, which in turn benefits shock absorber longevity in dusty regions. A torsion-beam-type suspension is adopted for the rear, augmented by a reinforcement brace to ensure handling stability. Overall the dampening system is tuned to achieve a supple, mild ride comfort that confidently allows traversing of bumps in the road surface.
Motivation is provided by the ‘nippy’ 1.5 litre 4 cylinder power unit, producing 66kW at 5600 rpm and a complimentary 132 Nm at 3000 rpm. An outstanding characteristic of this engine is its free-revving nature and good low-speed torque delivery. This makes the Etios a breeze to navigate in and out of traffic whilst providing easy motorway cruising – particularly for a small car.
The responsive engine is paired with a 5-speed manual transmission driving the front wheels, with a positive shift action and stylised shift knob.
Fuel consumption hasn’t been forsaken, with the sedan registering 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres and the hatchback recording 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres. CO2 emissions are kept equally low with 138 and 136 g/km respectively.
On the passive safety front, occupants are protected by Driver and Passenger airbags. The active safety specification list includes ABS, EBD, seat-belts with pre-tensioner and force limiter as well as ISOFIX provision. A full quota of headrests is provided with rear passengers also receiving a 3-point centre seatbelt across all models.
All Etios models come with a 2-year/30 000 kilometre service plan, backed by a 3-year/100 000 kilometre warranty. Service intervals are set at 10 000 kilometres.