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First it was VW taking us down Nostalgia Lane, courtesy of its CITI VIVO, and now Toyota wants to echo the motoring sentiments of their German rival with its new Etios Sprint model. This model replaces the previous mid-grade ‘Xs’ offering and brings with it a number of unique attributes.

The key change point is the new front bumper design; incorporating a large lower air dam as its main focal point. The lower air dam stretches the entire front width, and features integrated fog lamps with sculpted bezels. Subtle graining has been applied to lend an air of quality.

The lower grille is fashioned in matching black and utilises sharp horizontal slats to reinforce the muscular theme. The upper radiator grille employs a distinctive wing-like motif, with the Toyota ellipse at its centre and a broad chrome ‘brow’ forming the upper border.

The rear also receives styling tweaks in order to form a cohesive design. The rear bumper incorporates an elegant lower crease line accentuating the profile – flowing from the outer corners and blending into the number plate recess. The revised bumper treatment bumps up the overall length by 109mm (hatch) and 104mm (sedan).

Adding additional visual flair are new twin-spoke 15″ alloy wheels fitted with 185/60R15 rubber and a carbon-fibre-inspired Sprint badge.

A peppy performer

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 engine incorporates the following technologies in order to achieve excellent performance:

  • Oil-jet technology for piston cooling.
  • Forged crankshaft and connecting rod to achieve excellent durability.
  • A resin intake manifold is adopted, with the aim of realising a lightweight structure.
  • Electronically-controlled throttle to achieve optimal engine management at all times and enhance fuel efficiency and drivability.
  • A hydraulic compound-type engine mount is used for the right engine mount to achieve both excellent ride comfort and low vibration when idling.
  • An engine mount with a dynamic damper is adopted for the left engine mount to reduce gear noise, thus achieving low noise and vibration during driving.

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 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres.

Grade Walk

Etios Xi Etios Sprint Etios Cross
Colour-coded door handles Fog lamps Silver interior handles
Colour-coded mirrors 15” Alloy wheels Colour-coded mirrors with indicator
Intermittent wiper Height-adjustable seat Rear spoiler
Cupholders Power door lock Roof rails
14” Steel wheels Remote central locking Cross exterior styling pack
Airconditioner Electric windows Side protective mouldings
4-speaker audio system with CD/USB/Aux/Bluetooth    


Safety kit

On the passive safety front, occupants are protected by Driver and Passenger airbags. The active safety specification list includes 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 seatbelt 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. Service intervals are set at 10 000 kilometres.

Model line-up & pricing

Hatch

1.5 Xi                   – R163 900

1.5 Sprint           – R172 600

1.5 Cross            – R194 300

Sedan

1.5 Xi                   – R172 200

1.5 Sprint           – R180 500

In other motoring related news, Audi recently introduced the all-new A5 & S5 COUPÉ cars.