Toyota has confirmed that its new entry-level car will be launched in South Africa on 21 May this year.
Built in India, the Etios will compete with the likes of Renault's Sandero and Ford's Figo, while plugging the gap for an affordable but spacious car that's been left void since the Tazz was discontinued almost six years ago.
But whereas the Tazz was really just a hand-me-down model based on the 1988 Conquest, the Etios is described by Toyota as a “bang up-to-date product that was specifically designed around the needs of today's cash-strapped, yet ever-demanding driver.”
Still, it was built to a price so don't expect it to be anywhere near as sophisticated as the new Yaris, or even the previous one for that matter.
The 1.5-litre engine that will be fitted to the Etios in South Africa may have four valves per cylinder but it makes less power than the 1.3-litre engine in the Yaris and also lacks variable valve timing.
That said, its mechanical simplicity is likely to appeal to buyers looking for a simpler engine where less can go wrong and the Etios engine's outputs of 66kW at 5600rpm and 132Nm at 3000rpm fall well within the ballpark for an entry-level engine.
Yet despite the fact that Toyota shaped the front end to resemble a smiling face with dimples, the Etios is not likely to win any beauty contests.
Toyota will offer it in hatchback and sedan formats and in Xi and XS grades, both featuring colour coded bumpers and 14-inch wheels with hubcaps. The XS trim adds a colour-coded grille and door handles as well as some chrome accents.
The pricing is still a closely guarded secret, but the rumour mill has been throwing around a base price of around R110 000, with air conditioning as standard.
Are you looking forward to this new Toyota?