Etios Liva compared with small and premium hatchbacks

Till now, the question about Toyota Etios Liva, was: how does it compare with premium hatchbacks such as Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai i20, Ford Figo etc. But the sticker price of Rs 3.99 lakh for the base model has changed that completely.

With a price band of Rs 3.99 lakh to Rs 5.99 lakh, Toyota has put every hatchback sans Alto/Spark under Liva’s sights. It’s perhaps a sign of company’s confidence in Etios and Etios Liva that it has stated that there will be NO NEW LAUNCHES for the next two years.

So how does Etios Liva stand up vis-à-vis completion? It’s no longer a straight question.

With the base version of Liva, Toyota is targeting buyers of small hatchbacks such as WagonR and I10. The more loaded version puts Liva in competition with premium hatchbacks such as Maruti Suzuki Swift.

So let’s first look at how it stacks up against some of the big-selling hatchbacks.

Etios Liva vs Small Hatchbacks

Toyota Etios Liva vs Maruti Suzuki WagonR/Ritz/A-Star/Zen Estilo

Etios Liva trumps all Maruti models on space and power by a long way. It is about 20cm-25cm longer and nearly 10cm wider. In practical terms, it can seat 5 while all the Maruti cars are 4-seaters.

And it almost matches them on fuel efficiency—only A-Star notches a couple of kilometers/liter more.

When it comes to power, all the listed Maruti models have 66-67 bhp on tap while Etios Liva has 80 bhp.

But most Maruti’s models come with power steering and power windows. The base version of Liva though has neither. Neither Liva nor Maruti cars have ABS or EBD at Rs 4 lakh price point.

Toyota Etios Liva vs Hyundai i10

The base model of Hyundai i10, Era, costs Rs 3.87 lakh and does have power steering and power windows. But with a 68 bhp motor and much less space, it might lose out to Etios Liva.

The more loaded versions of i10 cost between Rs 4 lakh and Rs 4.6 lakh. It is powered by a more powerful 79 bhp engine too. But at Rs 4.59 lakh, Liva G does add the essential power windows and power steering. And another Rs 50,000 will get you Liva V, which has the Safety Package (dual airbags, ABS and EBD) as standard option. That’s not a lot of money for a more comfortable/spacious car.

While some buyers would prefer to spend the extra bucks on features, many with growing families should find the larger-sized Liva an attractive buy.

In a nutshell, we think Toyota Etios Liva offers an excellent option for those looking for a more powerful and spacious car.

Etios Liva vs Premium Hatchbacks

Things get a bit complicated here. Not the least because Toyota Etios Liva does not have a diesel option which can lower the cost of running the car substantially.

Also, as one moves to premium hatchbacks, considerations other than space too kick in. Let’s do a quick check on how Liva stacks up vis-à-vis some hot-sellers here.

Etios Liva vs Maruti Suzuki Swift

Swift pretty much pioneered this segment and has reigned supreme since its launch. It looks good, handles beautifully and the diesel option makes it very attractive for those logging lots of miles. Its only weakness is space—it’s really a 4-seater.

Liva easily trumps it for space—its 7cm more legroom and wider seats accommodate 5 people easily.

We are yet to get our hands on Liva but early reports suggest that it might have difficulty matching Swift’s brilliant handling.

If space and price are top priority then Liva surges ahead but only its base models appeal. Its higher-end V and VX would face stiff competition from Swift. At those prices Swift would be a pretty attractive buy unless you have 5 pretty tall people to ride in the car every day.

Etios Liva vs Hyundai i20

Hyundai i20 has beaten everyone’s expectations. Even the company didn’t think it will clock sales of 7,000 units a month. The Magna version costs around Rs 5 lakh and comes with power steering and power windows as standard. And if you time your purchase right, you might get alloy wheels and music system thrown in as well.

Its only weakness is that the petrol version does not give a very good real-world mileage (of around 11-12 kmpl). Liva, going by Etios experience, should do better. But Liva doesn’t quite match the fit and finish of i20. And it fails to beat it on space too. The 1.2 version of i20 too has 80 bhp like Liva.

Unless you are looking for lower running cost, i20 is very hard to beat. The i20 Asta, which costs Rs 5.8 lakh comes with both airbags and EBD. The Liva V and Liva VX too have both and are priced at Rs 5.49 lakh and Rs 5.99 lakh, respectively. So Liva doesn’t really offer any “value” advantage over i20.

So if Liva has to surge ahead of the formidable Hyundai i20, it must beat it squarely on handling. That remains to be seen.

For now, the superior fit and finish and presence of important features as standard keeps i20 a shade ahead.

Etios Liva vs Volkswagen Polo

Polo’ handsome looks and solid build quality have helped it do quite well since its launch. Its base model costs Rs 5.08 lakh and comes with power steering and power windows. The petrol engine makes 74 bhp and returns a mileage of 17 kmpl.

Liva’s G special edition costs Rs 5.05 lakh and it too has power steering and power window.

Polo is spacious too but Liva has a slight edge here. Polo’s real attraction is its premium image and option of a diesel motor. The 1.2 TDi costs Rs 5.59 lakh and would be cheaper to run. Though the 3-cylinder engine with 74 bhp would probably be less fun than Liva’s 1.2 petrol engine making 80 bhp.

Here the choice is not straight cut. But since Etios Liva—the higher models—pack a lot of features at sub-6 lakh price, we will go for it.

Etios Liva vs Ford Figo

Both cars are products of same philosophy—give maximum bang for the buck. And Figo has a lot going for it—it’s priced aggressively, starting at Rs 4.93 for the petrol variant. But the engine produces only 70 bhp. It is as spacious as Liva but overall build quality isn’t all that great—to put it ahead of Liva.

Things get a bit different when we look at the Rs 5.58 lakh Ford 1.4 Duratec. The diesel motor makes only 68 bhp but its torque makes it a great city car. Besides, it returns a mileage of 20kmpl running on much cheaper diesel. But at this price, Liva comes reasonably loaded—Figo has no airbags or EBD—Liva has both.

If you are looking for value and are operating in sub Rs 5-lakh category, Etios Liva has an edge. Overall too, unless you drive a lot in which case diesel makes sense, Liva is our preferred choice.

Conclusion

If you are operating in a sub Rs 5 lakh budget, Liva is very hard to beat. We’d say, impossible to beat in rational analysis. But the moment you cross the Rs 5 lakh barrier and inch towards Rs 5.5-6 lakh bracket, Liva’s lack of diesel option and its made-to-cost roots start making it less of a compelling buy.