Johannesburg - Toyota has added a pinch of salt and a few extra spices to its Indian-built Etios with the introduction of a limited edition Sport model, which ushers in a few small running changes across the range.

Like the Yaris Bi-tone that was launched a few years ago, the Etios Sport gets a two-tone external paint job where a black roof and C-pillars contrast with one of the two available paint colours - Glacier White or Retro Red.

The wheels also got the dual-tone memo, with the Sport wearing black and silver 15-inch alloys pinched from the Etios Cross, while the chrome strip that you usually find on the Etios grille makes way for an all-black colour scheme, and that courtesy extends to the door mirrors and roof spoiler as well.

Spec upgrades

All Etios models receive a new Optitron instrument cluster with orange backlighting, while the entry Xi model now gets rear electric windows - previously they were only fitted upfront.

As before, all versions are fitted with an aircon, audio system with Bluetooth, reach-adjustable steering, dual front airbags and ABS brakes - not forgetting that it received four stars in Global NCAP’s crash tests.

The Etios is backed up by a two-year/30 000km service plan and three-year/100 000km warranty.

The sole engine choice is the familiar 1.5-litre normally aspirated unit that produces 66kW and 132Nm.

We took a brief spin on the Sport’s Gauteng based launch, serving as a reminder that this is a solid little car that’s easy to drive, and the free-revving engine provides reasonably brisk performance that’s pretty much as good as you could expect at this end of the market.

TOYOTA ETIOS PRICES

Hatch

1.5 Xi 66kW/132Nm R171 000
1.5 Sprint 66kW/132Nm R176 300
1.5 Sport66kW/132Nm R178 800
1.5 Cross66kW/132NmR198 400

Sedan

1.5 Xi 66kW/132Nm R179 500
1.5 Sprint 66kW/132Nm R184 400

Alternatives to the 1.5 Sport

Ford Figo hatch 1.5 Trend82kW/136NmR189 900
Honda Brio hatch 1.5 Comfort65kW/109NmR176 500
Hyundai Grand i10 1.2 Fluid64kW/120NmR191 900
Kia Picanto 1.2 Style61kW/122NmR181 495
Nissan Micra Active 1.2 Visia56kW/104NmR161 500
Renault Sandero 0.9T Expression66kW/135NmR171 900
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL63kW/113NmR174 900
VW Polo Vivo 1.4 Comfortline63kW/132NmR192 000

IOL Motoring