Toyota Etios Sprint Review
Same value, more style
Since it was launched in 2012 the Toyota Etios has been a huge seller, averaging around 1000 units a month with the entire range doing well. In 2017 Toyota fine-tuned their offerings, replacing the mid-grade Xs models with a Sprint derivative (in both hatch and sedan form) that added a dash of sportiness to the family favourite.
Basically, Toyota took already popular Etios and gave it a few tweaks that, although subtle, made a big difference. The standard 14-inch steel rims with hubcaps were exchanged for 15-inch alloy rims and 185/60R15 rubber, while the major aesthetic difference can be seen in the front where a new grille with chrome details and black inserts set it apart from the Xi models. This is enhanced by a sportier front airdam with integrated fog-lights, and a black lower grille. The changes to the rear are less obvious, but the bumper has been sculpted to fit the front’s design ethos, with a crease blending in to the number plate recess.
The mechanicals of the Etios Sprint are the same as the rest of the family, centred around a gutsy 1.5-litre petrol engine that has won the Etios legions of fans. Producing power of 66kW and torque of 132Nm may not sound like a lot on paper, but thanks to the low curb weight of the Etios both performance and fuel consumption (a claimed 6.0l/100km for the combined cycle) are exemplary. The five-speed manual, the single option in the range, has a positive shift and pairs well with the engine for zippy town driving and easy highway cruising.
The Etios offers affordable motoring, but safety hasn’t been sacrificed in a bid to keep costs down. It was good enough to receive a 4-star Global NCAP rating for adult occupant protection and a 3-star rating for child occupant protection thanks to the inclusion of driver and passenger airbags, ABS braking with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and provisions for ISOFIX child seats.
2017 also saw the entire range given improvements in the materials used in the cabin, giving it a more substantial feel. The Sprint model is fitted with remote central locking, electric windows and a height-adjustable driver’s seat, in addition to the air-con and sound system with USB and Bluetooth connectivity that are features across the range. While the specification levels are good for the money, it is the combination of features, performance and space that have made the Etios such a perennial favourite – it is one of the most spacious vehicles in its class, while the sedan version is particularly popular with young families, thanks to the 562-litre boot capacity.
The Etios Sprint fits into the middle of the Etios range and is priced at R185 000 for the Hatchback and R193 300 for the Sedan. The Etios range also features the Xi Hatchback and Sedan (R179 500 and R188 300 respectively) and the Cross Xs at R207 800. The entire Etios range is covered by a 3-services/30 000km service plan and 3-year/100 000km warranty.
Great engine and gearbox
Value for money