Toyota Etios Vs Maruti Suzuki Dzire

Comparison of feaures: Newcomer Toyota Etios compared to the established Dzire

While Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Tata, Ford and even General Motors have accelerated their activities in the country, Toyota has been slow and late in bringing in a mass-market model. But now, with the recent launch of the Toyota Etios sedan, the country’s entry-level sedan segment is heating up. The Etios is positioned squarely against the current and runaway segment leader – the Maruti Suzuki Dzire.

Here we take a look at the different aspects and features of these two mid-segment heavies and find out how they square up against each other.

Design

maruti suzuki dzire photo
Photo: Maruti Suzuki Dzire

First off, let’s be honest. The Suzuki Dzire is a Swift with a boot. It is not an all-new car. So when you look at it head on or from the front three-quarters angle, all is fine. But get behind the car and the problems start. The boot looks like it has been tacked on in a hurry (which actually is the case as Maruti rushed to make the best put of the Swift’s success.)

The Toyota Etios, on the other hand, has been designed as a sedan from the start. And it shows. The car looks bigger and more complete than the Dzire. But this is not to say that this alone makes it a winner . . . because its looks are rather boring. There is none of the exuberance of design you get in the chunky Swift Dzire (when looking at it from the front). It’s all about smooth, staid, straight lines. The rear is a bit like the Mahindra Renault Logan – another under-designed car. Related: Toyota Etios prices

suzuki dzire rear photo
The Toyota Etios has a strong shoulder line with an upward cut along the bottom of the door. Sculpted surface and dynamic character-line in the front and rear enhance the presence of the Etios. The rear has a fluent C pillar, rounded end and three-dimensional combination lamps that enrich the vehicle's exterior from different angles. The top variant of the Etios features six spoke alloy wheels, body coloured outside rear side view mirrors and door handles. Read our earlier story Tata Indigo Manza vs Toyota Etios vs Swift DzireThe Dzire’s top-end model also comes with all these features, but what separates the two is not just fancy gizmos but totally different looks. The Dzire has a much curvier C pillar than the Etios. And is a much heavier looking car – even though it weighs only 35 kgs more than the Swift. The wraparound headlamps in the front and curved windscreen look great.Interior: Dzire vs EtiosPhoto: Toyota Etios official photo

In the interior, the Etios looks quite contemporary and sports a centrally-mounted instrument panel, much the rage these days, with offset AC vents. The Etios offers more space on the inside with roomy interiors as compared to the Dzire. The three spoke steering wheel comes in dual tone along with the rest of the interior. The Etios has modern interiors which look attractive and clean. A class-first ‘clean air filter’ comes standard across all grades for purified air in the cabin. Scooped out headliners and the tall seating give you that sense of space, while leg room as well as shoulder room at the rear is pretty decent too.

The Maruti Suzuki Dzire sports the upper-end Swift’s dashboard and interiors. It is laid out in the traditional format with the central console in the middle and the speedo, tacho and various gauges in a scooped out shell in front of the driver. The Zxi and Zdi variants of the Dzire have steering mounted audio controls as well. These variants also come with an automatic climate control (ACC) system, which enables you to set the cabin temperature. Leg room at the back, however, is quite limited with the front seats pushed back.

Just another point to note, the lighting of the instrumentation in the Suzuki Dzire is rather dim. With dark plastic surrounding you, a brightly illuminated console could do well to add cheer to the interiors but this is missing. The entire dash layout is adventurous for the Toyota, with the central instrument console placement. In the day, it looks all right, but in the night, when you put on the headlamps, it is vastly improved and cheerful.

The quality of plastics is something that’s a bit of a disappointment, mainly because this is a Toyota product. It would be acceptable in a Suzuki, but not in a Toyota — even if it is a model that competes with a Suzuki.

Engine: Petrol Etios vs petrol DZire

Powering the front wheels of the Toyota Etios is a 1,500cc four-cylinder 16-valve DOHC petrol engine that develops 88.8 bhp at 5600 rpm and 13.5 kgm at 3000 rpm, which is mated to a five-speed manual transmission. It is just marginally more powerful than the Maruti Dzire petrol (85 bhp) and torquey as well. The extra cubes should mean the engine is not stressed. Early drive reports suggest that the benefits of the diesel-like torque is responsiveness at low revs, something that should make it more driveable on our roads. Read our Toyota Etios review

The K series engine of the Maruti Dzire is a dependable workhorse. Though not as brilliant as the 1.3 litre Fiat Multijet unit found in the diesel variant, the new-generation petrol engine delivers on mileage and performance. Initially there is a sluggishness about it, but it smoothens out as you move up the rev range. The engine produces 85 PS at 6000 rpm and a torque of 113 Nm at 4500 rpm. The engine of the Dzire is mated to a 5 speed synchromesh manual transmission. The engine has MPFI (Multi Point Fuel Injection) supply system and is BS IV compliant.

Ride and Features

The ride quality offered by both cars is quite good. The Maruti Suzuki Dzire has a softer suspension setup than the Etios. The Toyota Etios is said to handle bumps and potholes with a little bit more ease than its competitor.

However, engine noise and road surface noise are a bit intrusive in the Etios. Suzuki has not been a scrooge here. Sound-absorbing materials surround the cabin and do a good job of keeping outside noises to a minimum. The engine is also smooth, and vibrations are low even at high speeds.

The ride actually is pretty sorted out in both the cars. Body roll is slightly more in the Dzire as it is taller than the Etios. At high speeds, early reports suggest, the engine of the Etios feels less stressed but the vibrations seep through onto the steering.

The base variant, Toyota Etios J, is very basic and it doesn’t feature power steering, power windows, remote central locking and comes with black door handles and black outside rear view mirrors. The top variant, the VX, is fully loaded with these features: dual SRS airbags, ABS with EBD , air conditioning, power steering, power windows, remote central locking, tilt steering, CD/MP3 Player, steering mounted audio controls, alloy wheels, cooled glovebox, rear defogger, fog lamps, body colored door handles and outside rear view mirrors.

There is much of the same equipment in the Maruti Suzuki Dzire. ABS, dual SRS airbags, electronic power steering, power windows, remote locking, tilt steering, allow wheels body colored door handles and ORVMs are all part of the higher end Vxi and Zxi variant. Both the vehicles are evenly matched in terms of equipment.

Conclusion

The Suzuki Dzire and the Toyota Etios are close competitors. The Dzire has chirpy performance and somewhat clunky looks while the Etios feels more like a more complete package. Toyota have invested a good deal of money into this India-specific project, and while it doesn’t show immediately on the outside, the quality and promise of Toyota go a long way. For Maruti Suzuki, the Dzire was an obvious choice to build. It stood upon the success of the Swift and made a bigger car to meet the buyer’s needs and to fill a gap in the market.

It’s hard to pick from the two: Go for the Dzire if you like its looks and need Maruti’s after-sales service convenience; go for the Etios if you’re looking for a fresh face and want Toyota’s authoritative ‘quality’ stamp.

The Toyota Etios is priced between Rs. 4.96 lakh and 6.86 lakh while the Maruti Suzuki Dzire comes at Rs.5.75 lakh-Rs. 6.32lakh. All prices are ex-showroom, Delhi.