Toyota Etios Cross driving review

Toyota has introduced a new small urban crossover

Last week WOW attended the Toyota Etios Cross launch in the urban jungle of Joburg. So, Joburg is probably my least favourite place, however for some bizarre reason it turned out to be the perfect place to launch this small crossover where it was able to show off its manoeuvrable capabilities.

The Cross has gained some negative feedback from car enthusiasts- concentrating on the look of the car and the question of why Toyota would launch an Etios crossover. The Etios Cross might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I do believe that it serves a small niche- and even people who don’t necessarily have a liking towards the hatch or sedan (like me), might fancy the Cross.


The Etios Cross combines some rugged SUV-type looks (that I quite like) with the manoeuvrability and low fuel consumption of a hatchback. The masculine face of the Cross comes courtesy of a distended new grille design in matte black incorporating an unusual powder grey grille guard that extends all the way into the bumpers, mimicking the appearance of bumper over-riders. With the price starting at R159 800, the Etios Cross allows buyers to tap into the tough image of an SUV without incurring the cost- exactly the point I got from the launch. If you are a first time car buyer looking to buy a crossover, but you don’t want to break the bank, the Etios Cross might be a strong contender. With such a low price, you might think it’s quite a basic vehicle, but the Cross has some extra features you might not expect at such a price.  Including ABS with EBD, air-conditioning, power windows all around with a driver-side one-touch up function, remote central locking, fog lights, an audio system with radio, CD, USB and auxiliary connections and Bluetooth connectivity.

At first glance I thought, ok, this is a cute little crossover. When you get in you expect the interior features to reflect the low cost of the car, but the inside of the car looks quite trendy and I was definitely not disappointed. Inside, the Cross edition gets all-black interiors with new sporty seat fabrics featuring special white stitching and embroidered Etios Cross logos. The car also has a tech-enhanced, upgraded double din audio system and to further uplift the cabin appeal the dashboard receives piano black metallic finishing and chrome detailing around the air vents.


Much success boasted by the Etios family comes from four main factors- the space, the engine performance, the price and the low fuel consumption (the Etios returns a claimed average consumption of just 6.0L/100km). Under the bonnet you will find Toyota’s 1,5-litre petrol engine with 66 kW and 132 N.m of torque. It is fitted with a five-speed manual transmission. 

The car’s main target market is men, but I actually think the Etios Cross will serve a female better- so ladies, if you’re a young, first time car-buyer looking for a not-so-expensive crossover or SUV-alternative that’s also safe and reliable and that you can manoeuvre around within the city between taxi’s as well as be able to go explore the outskirts of the city, this might be your next perfect fit.

I was very comfortable driving this car around in some unknown (and scary) areas. It was easy to drive, spacious and it feels like you get all the quality of a Toyota- so you have that peace of mind. Especially with Toyota’s standard 2-year/30 000 km service plan.