Preview: Toyota all set to launch Etios Liva

Toyota will be launching the Etios Liva, the hatchback version of the Etios, on June 27. This car is being keenly watched, as it will compete directly with the Maruti Swift, Hyundai i20, Skoda Fabia, Volkswagen Polo and Ford Figo.

We expect Toyota to price the car aggressively, like it has done with the Etios sedan, offering customers another large, practical hatchback. Let’s take a look at how the Liva is likely to be positioned if it has to gather some market share from its competitors. What works in Toyota’s favor is the brand image and if Toyota manages get the pricing right, the car can give its competition a run for the money.

Looks

The Toyota Etios Liva was unveiled along with the Etios sedan in December, and we managed to get a good look at the car. One thing that strikes you about the design of the Etios Liva is the amount of interior space. It appears to have quite an airy cabin. The front of the car is the same as the Etios sedan, except for a different grille. At the rear, Toyota has used flared fenders and triangular tail-lamps that give the car a stocky stance. Other quirks of the Etios are carried over to the Liva, like the single windshield wiper and central instrument panel.

Toyota etios hatchback photo
Photo: Toyota Etios Liva

On the insides, the car has a completely flat rear floor and seat squab, allowing three passengers to sit comfortably. Boot space seems good, but not as much as the i20. Overall, the car is a neatly put together package and has a bit more character than the Etios sedan.

Specifications

To take advantage of the excise duty norms in place, Toyota will launch the Etios Liva with a 1.2-litre petrol engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. However, the company has not yet officially disclosed what power specifications the engine will have, but reports suggest Toyota is playing the power figures safe in the  interest of fuel economy.

The Etios Liva will sport a 80 bhp , 1.2-litre petrol engine, with about 104 Nm of torque. It may not have as many horses as the Swift, but it will make up for it in a better torque spread, making it immensely drivable in the city. The car is expected to weigh just 890 Kg, giving it an excellent power to weight ratio.

In early 2012, Toyota will introduce a diesel engine for the Etios and the Liva. There is speculation that the engine Toyota may plonk into the Etios siblings may be a variant of the 1.4-litre D-4D engine that powers the Toyota Altis. Toyota may also introduce the powerful 1.5 litre petrol engine in the Etios Liva hatch later to compete with the 1.6-litre variant of the Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia, as well as the Fiat Punto 90HP and Tata Indica Vista petrol 90 HP.

The Liva is just slightly shorter than the Volkswagen Polo, but it’s wider and taller, giving it a roomier feel. The Hyundai i20 is slightly larger though, while the existing Maruti Swift is smaller than the Etios Liva, but the new one will be larger than the Liva.

Price and Positioning

With only a petrol model on offer at launch, expect Toyota to bring in at least four variants of the car. The base model of the Liva, will be the no frills J version, with no power steering, no power windows, but it will have air-conditioning. The top-end Liva will come with safety features such as ABS and dual airbags, all-round power windows, central-locking, power steering, but only manual HVAC.

The Etios Liva will have over 70% local content from launch, going up to 90% next year. We expect Toyota to benchmark and price the Liva just below the segment leader – Maruti Swift’s – pricing, and also to compete with the Ford Figo and Hyundai i20.

Considering the base version of the Etios sedan is priced just under Rs. 5 lakh at Rs. 4.96 lakh ex-showroom Delhi, and Maruti Swift LXi is priced at Rs. 4.19 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi, Toyota will be looking to price it in a similar manner. The top-end Swift ZXI, with climate control, alloys, airbags and rear-wash wipe is priced at Rs. 5.47 lakhs, ex-showroom Delhi.

What We Think

We expect the base version of the Etios Liva to be priced at about Rs. 4.1 lakh, while the top-end Liva will be priced at about Rs. 5.4 lakhs, ex-showroom. We’ll have the final specifications for you on June 27. Watch this space.

Key specifications: Toyota Etios Liva vs competition

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**Unconfirmed info