Pushing traffic on a budget: Toyota Axio Hybrid
Toyota Corolla; a well-recognised name in many families through countless generations, is known as a nice, cheap, and well-rounded car that rarely breaks on you, giving countless reliable miles.
Although the new Corolla might have a different name on its badge primarily, I can assure the Toyota Axio that is going to be featured this week is similar to all the predecessors, which undoubtedly, is a Corolla.
Keep reading to find what the new Toyota Axio Hybrid has to offer.
If you have a budget between 18-20 lac Taka to purchase a car, choices either land between the second-hand market or the budget-oriented side of the recondition market, where choices are tight.
Among the popular options, stands the Toyota Axio, a compact sedan that comes in both gasoline and hybrid variants. Although the hybrid variant that we are going to discuss today tends to be the better car to push traffic with, the gasoline version comes in cheaper.
The design of the newer shape Axio is interesting. It is a sedan on the smaller spectrum of the bunch but Toyota pushed the design team to make the car look larger than it is. The front bumper has a large linear grille design, where half of it is functional with slit cutouts to direct cold air to the radiator.
Above that, rest the headlights with HID halogen lamps, coming standard with all trim levels. The design on the rear fascia is subjective, where the boot does not sit flush with the tail lights (which come with LEDs), where it might look like the Axio lacks rear boot space, but there is plenty.
Climb inside the Axio and you will find appropriate knobs and buttons on the right positions, which are clicky and responsive. The version we tested had fabric seats, which were comfortable enough but felt narrower than usual. The steering wheel is made of leather, which feels synthetic but the quality is solid. The buttons on the wheel feel responsive, primarily used for taking calls and adjusting the volume of the speakers; where the OEM sound system has a surprising amount of clarity and bass.
Jump in the back seat and you will find there is just enough room for two people to fit comfortably, the third person needs to be crammed inside; comfort depends on the size. But other than that, the back seat feels far from a bench; the cushion backing it up is soft enough to make the ride comfortable.
The Axio under our hands came with a 1.5L 1NZ-FXE hybrid engine, when broken down, it is the same revised 1NZ-FE engine with an electric motor backing it up for the initial torque at low speeds, where the engine is least efficient. Toyota calls the whole technology "Hybrid Synergy Drive", adapted from higher-end Toyota and Lexus models respectively. Other than that, the engine is finally paired with a CVT gearbox when combined, produces 109 HP and 136 Nm of torque. The Axio can also be driven in full-electric mode until 20 kmph, where then the engine kicks in for the extra power.
Driving the Axio Hybrid
Jump in the driving seat and immediately you will notice that the car does not obnoxiously alert you on what might go wrong while you will be driving but, you are greeted with a simple cluster with a big RPM meter with a screen under it.
The knob on the gear lever is small but has a weight to it, making it feel a tad upmarket. Driving the car, the steering feedback is light where you might think it's lacking response, but the bumps give it feedback, still overly dampened nonetheless.
Throttle response is nice and punchy, when pushing hard, the acceleration is smooth but, since the engine is paired with a CVT transmission, some lag between gear shifts is expected. The suspension system of the car does an above-average job in clearing small bumps and potholes, but even on bumpy roads, the steering feels overly dampened.
The Axio shines in the traffic jams though. Manoeuvring the car is easy and the added low-end torque is prominent when going for gaps in traffic as the car easily cuts through spaces swiftly. Visibility is great and the car is easy to get used to, where you can have a good sense of what is going on inside and outside your field of vision.
Budget oriented cars are usually hard to discuss and in most cases, as these cars mostly spend a large fraction of their life cycle getting driven, where good reliability is an essential and often a highlighted aspect of the car, where the Axio does not disappoint.
Spares are easily available which even tin shed mechanics can install in no time and with regular maintenance, workshop visits are a rare case scenario. Although the steering response could be better, pushing traffic with the setup does not feel like a chore.
Thus, the Axio can be an easy bargain to get your hands on, and since this is a Toyota, it will not disappoint in the long run.
Photos by: Ayan Rahman Khan