Do you remember the Cross Polo? No? Well, it's a Volkswagen Polo with lot of pointless plastic bits and a premium price tag. It didn't set the sales charts on fire, nor did it set the VW'S cash registers ringing. But the Cross Polo sure did spark of a new segment.
Taking cues from the Cross Polo, Toyota took the sedate looking Etios Liva, put it on a steroid cycle, slapped on a lot of SUV-ish bits and brought in the Etios Cross. Basically think of it as the rough and ready version of the road going Liva. Which it isn't.
On the design front, the Cross gets a bolder face and smart looking grille guard while the sides there are decorated by black plastic cladding running from front bumper all the way to the rear. SUV elements like skid plates and roof rails add to its rugged personality. At the rear you get a spoiler and etched on the boot lid is the 'Etios Cross' lettering.
But, take the 'Cross' tag with a pinch of salt. By no means does it possess any off-roading abilities. The ground clearance stays the same and it has no 4x4 either. Bottom line - it's got the cosmetic trappings of a compact crossover but barring the brawny bits it's pretty much a Liva.
There are some nice touches. The Cross gets integrated indicators on the OVRMs, a rear spoiler and fancy diamond cut alloy wheels. As far as proportions are concerned, it's marginally bigger. Compared to the Liva, the cross is 120 mm longer, 40mm taller and 45 mm wider. Step inside and you see piano black theme on the dashboard livening things up a bit. The good news is, it's not dull or drab like the Liva cabin. Top end trim gets a 2-din audio system with USB, AUX-IN and Bluetooth. The steering is wrapped in leather and the top end Cross gets steering mounted audio controls.
The Cross comes in both petrol and diesel options. Toyota hasn't tweaked or tinkered with the engines and the power output stays the same. There is an option of two petrols and one diesel engine to choose from. The 1.2-litre, 79bhp petrol engine powers the base Etios Cross, while the top end petrol Cross employs the bigger 1.5-litre, 89bhp engine.
Doing the duty in the diesel Cross is the tried-and-tested 1.4-litre D-4D engine. We spent majority of our time behind the wheel of the diesel Cross. Since the changes on the Cross are purely cosmetic, the power output of 67bhp and torque of 170Nm remains unchanged. The diesel Cross drives and handles much like the Liva hatch.
The only difference here is that we got a lot of attention on the roads courtesy the spruced up looks. One gripe that Toyota needs to fix is the diesel murmur making into the cabin. Stress the engine a bit and far too much sound filters into the cabin for our liking.
But if you are wondering, what is the rationale or the reason behind the Etios Cross. Well, it is simple - Toyota wants to target and tap the young-and-restless out there. The Cross is primarily put together to woo in customers typically under thirty - someone, who craves the style and trappings of a compact SUV but doesn't have the money to buy one.
The Etios Cross could cost Rs 30,000 - 50,000 more than the outgoing Liva. With the launch barely a week from now it all depends how well they price the Etios Cross. Price it too high from the Liva hatch, and the Etios Cross runs the risk of meeting the same fate as the Cross Polo.