Just when you thought the affordable Toyota was gone for good, they¬†surprise us with this!
The Toyota Etios is taking South Africa by storm. Built in India the¬†new Tazz ¬†replacement offers excellent value for money at a starting¬†price of R115 800. Yes, that is not a typo and Toyota thus undercuts¬†almost all its competition in the Sub-B segment. The VW Vivo is¬†currently the best selling car in South Africa, but I suspect VW have¬†their work cut out for them. The Sub-B Segment is hotly contested by¬†the likes of Renault‚Äôs Sandero, VW Vivo, and Ford Figo and all but the¬†Sandero are smaller.
With the Etios you get a large car compared to the competition and you¬†also get lots of car for your money in terms of features. All models¬†have aircon, ABS brakes, two ¬†airbags and electric power steering as¬†standard but the top spec Etios Xs sedan sells for R126 600 and here¬†you also get chrome ¬†finishes, body colour handles and mirrors and even¬†foglights.
All models also receive a two year/ 30 000km service plan and a three¬†year/ 100 000km warranty. Now I want to tell you how it drives and¬†please excuse my enthusiasm but I was really expecting cheap and nasty¬†but Toyota gave me cheap and cheerful. The engine is a 1.5L 16 valve¬†DOHC four cylinder unit called the 2NR-FE and Toyota developed it from¬†scratch. Its no firecracker, but it offers nice torque from low revs¬†and it feels strong and tractable. What I like most about it is that¬†it feels like a real car, not like a Yaris or Aygo. Those are really¬†silly little things and it always feels like you are sitting on top of¬†them and not in them. The Etios feels less modern in its layout, but¬†also comes with a sense of familiarity. It‚Äôs not a city runabout like¬†the Yaris or Aygo, but rather a real car in terms of size and engine¬†capacity so you can take on a national highway with a bit more dignity¬†than a Yaris allows. You also get a real size boot in both the hatch¬†and sedan versions and the sedan‚Äôs boot is actually class leading at¬†595m3. Five people and their luggage are thus going to fit comfortably¬†and not squashed as has become the norm these days.
Its not a performance car, but acceleration as mentioned is strong and¬†you‚Äôll get from 0 to 100km/h in about 11 seconds which really isn‚Äôt¬†bad. She drinks about seven litres of petrol per 100km and the ride is¬†very comfortable. Handling is class leading and up there with the Vivo¬†and Figo and I honestly could not fault this car. The interior is even¬†nice, typically Toyota hard plastics, but not ugly or cheap looking.
I suspect Toyota has a worthy winner on its hands with this one and it¬†really deserves to do well. Thank you Toyota for not over pricing this¬†car and restoring the South African public‚Äôs faith. There was a time¬†before Etios when I felt Toyota was just over charging for the logo,¬†but South Africans are once again being given Toyota value and value¬†for money.