First Drive: 2017 Toyota Etios Sprint

First Drive: 2017 Toyota Etios Sprint

It might not grab the headlines like the Corolla or Hilux but Toyota’s Etios range plays an important role in the company’s makeup. Bruce Fraser headed down to the Eastern Cape to drive the new Sprint model

What is this car all about?

The Sprint – available in both hatchback and sedan guises – replaces the previous middle-of-the-range ‘X’ models in the Etios lineup and brings with it a number of unique styling features. The lower grille gets a new look while tweaks to the rear include a revised bumper.

What’s under the hood?

There is a nippy 1.5-litre petrol engine that manages to push out 66kW and 132Nm – and it is this latter figure that is most impressive with its delivery at low speeds. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and fuel consumption figures supplied indicate a reasonable 5.9l/100km. Toyota have built a reputation on reliability and this powerplant is tried and tested so expect trouble-free motoring when it comes to the mechanics.

Does is stand out from the crowd?

Not really. This vehicle is more about getting the job done – with a minimum of fuss or self-indulgent fanfare.

What’s noteworthy on the inside?

Well, there is no shortage of plastics! There is an emphasis on functionality with everything logically laid out. The sound system is simple to operate, the air-conditioning system worked a treat considering we had an outside temperature of 43 degrees in the Eastern Cape and essentials such as electric windows, USB port and Bluetooth come standard.

Is it good to drive?

While it might not be the most exciting vehicle you will ever get behind the wheel of, the Etios Sprint does what it is intended to do – provide a simple, reliable and pragmatic motoring experience for all. The ride itself is pretty comfortable and on the open road it handles well. But it is around town that it really comes into its own with its nimble maneuverability. Nipping through traffic or squeezing into tight parking bays is an absolute cinch.

Who’s going to lose sleep about this car?

By reputation alone Toyota are always going to be competitive no matter what segment they are competing in. While the Renault brand is enjoying a resurgence thanks to the likes of the excellent Sandero and Ford snare some of the market with their Figo, they will be aware of the brand loyalty Toyota enjoys. – Bruce Fraser

Fast Facts: Toyota Etios Sprint

Engine: 1.5-litre petrol
Power: 66kW at 5600rpm
Torque: 132Nm at 3200rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual
0-100km/h: 11.3 seconds
Top speed: 165km/h
Fuel: 5.9l/100km (combined)
CO2: 138g/km
Price: R172 600 (hatch); R180 500 (sedan)