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The Etios range remains a staple in Toyota South Africa’s passenger vehicle stable – providing affordable, reliable and practical motoring to the South African public. Offered in both hatchback and sedan body styles as well as a crossover-inspired “Cross” model.

Following the introduction of the enhanced Sprint derivatives in 2017, the range is once again being treated to a host of upgrades as well as a limited-edition model.

Notching up around 1000 units per month on average, Etios remains a regular feature on the Top 10 sales charts. The hatchback models account for 65 percent of sales on average (including the Cross variant) with the sedan models being popular with families requiring the generous 562-litre luggage capacity.

LIMITED EDITION – ETIOS SPORT

The biggest news on the Etios front is the introduction of a limited edition model bearing the “Sport” moniker. Following the trend of individuality and buyers need for more expressive personal transport – the Etios Sport features a striking bi-tone colour scheme. Sporting a black roof and pillars paired with either Glacier White or Retro Red lower body finishing, the Sport proudly stands out from its ‘normal’ Etios stable mates.

Complementing the contrasting two-tone arrangement is a black radiator grille, black exterior mirrors and black treatment for the rear-roof spoiler.

Providing further differentiation and visual ‘oomph’, the Sport model rolls on 15″ alloy wheels in a bright silver finish, borrowed from the Cross variant. Shod with 185/60/R15 tyres, they offer a great balance of comfort, nimble handling and low-rolling resistance.

A Sport badge rounds up the package, signifying the special edition’s credentials. The Sport model is exclusively available in hatchback guise.

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UPGRADES ALL ROUND

The entire Etios range also receives a number of interior upgrades – testament to Toyota’s philosophy of continuously improving their product offerings.

An all-new Optitron instrument cluster is fitted across the range, providing information to the driver with greater resolution and clarity. A new digital-sweep tachometer is positioned on the left with a full-sweep speedometer completing the gauge layout. Soft, orange-hued, backlit illumination provides a unified colour scheme.

The entry-level Xi model receives an additional upgrade in the form of power windows in the rear – now providing motorised window operation right-round.

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ENTHUSIASTIC ENGINE

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 0-100 km/h sprint is completed in 11.3 seconds with a top speed of 165 km/h, making Etios one of the zippiest performers in its segment.

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 six litres per 100 kilometres. CO2 emissions are kept equally low with 138 and 136 g/km respectively.

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PEACE OF MIND

The Etios range also boasts impressive safety credentials, receiving a 4-star Global NCAP rating. This score was achieved courtesy of the following active and passive safety systems: Driver and Passenger airbags, 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 seat belt across all models.

All Etios models come with a two-year or 30 000 kilometre service plan, backed by a three-year or 100 000 kilometre warranty.

MODEL LINE-UP & PRICING

Hatch

1.5 Xi               – R171 000

1.5 Sprint         – R176 300

1.5 Cross         – R198 400

1.5 Sport        – R178 800

Sedan

1.5 Xi               – R179 500

1.5 Sprint         – R184 400

In other motoring news, Ford recently launched the all-new Fiesta in South Africa, which boasts simplified, straighter lines and de-cluttered surfaces to deliver more visual strength, while the wider grille defines the upmarket appeal of the Fiesta.