Toyota Etios Sedan plagued with water seepage and many other problems?


Indian car buyers’ trust in Brand Toyota is legendary and of course, this is the product of Toyota Kirloskar Motors’ own making. Toyota, as a brand worldwide is known for its stellar reliability, except of course for the period over the last year or so when the brand suffered a dent in its reputation due to a spate of recalls. However, Toyota in India remained unaffected by the recalls with the Indian car buyers’ faith in the Toyota brand only growing stronger each day. Toyota began its Indian foray way back in 2000 unconventionally, with the Toyota Qualis MUV.

Toyota Qualis MUV

Toyota Qualis MUV

Very soon, the Toyota Qualis was setting sales records with the erstwhile leader of the segment, the Tata Sumo MUV, ousted from its perch. It isn’t uncommon to find Toyota Qualis MUVs having run lakhs of Kilometers with nothing more than routine maintenance like oil and oil filter changes. Such was and is the stellar reliability of most if not all Toyota vehicles sold in India thus far. However, cracks seem to appearing in Toyota’s spotless reputation for reliability and quality.

While it is still early days to really point fingers at the brand which has really earned its reputation for reliability and quality, the Toyota Etios Sedan is under the scanner for possible water seepage into the car perhaps due to a particular cost cutting measure, asides from a plethora of other possible issues. The Etios Sedan, being a low cost car model developed by Toyota, has indeed been subject to a numerous cost cutting measures for Toyota to arrive at the super competitive price tag that it retails at.

Toyota Etios Sedan

Toyota Etios Sedan

For example, by Toyota’s own admission, major electrical parts of the Etios Sedan are rated to withstand a minimum temperature of -5 to -10 degrees celsius while that of other Toyota models like the Innova and the Corolla are engineered or rather “over engineered” to withstand minimum temperatures of -35 to -40 degrees celsius. Toyota’s logic is that the Etios, being a car for Indian conditions, a land which is predominantly tropical in climate, can do with the lower rating of parts such as the ones mentioned above.

This lower rating of parts has resulted in cost savings for Toyota, which in turn has ostensibly been passed on to the Indian customer in the form of a lower and more affordable price point. The big question we asked at the time of the Toyota Etios Sedan’s launch was whether this focus on cutting costs could result in a legendary Toyota quality and reliability taking a hit. Now, the complaints emerging about the Etios Sedan’s various problems only seem to point to two things: 1. Cost cutting 2. Poor quality control at Toyota’s Indian manufacturing plant at Bidadi, off Bangalore. 3. Possible design faults in the Toyota Etios Sedan.

Toyota Etios Water Seepage Issue

Toyota Etios Water Seepage Issue

Given the traditional strengths of Toyota’s quality management and the overall high quality and reliability that other Toyota vehicles in India have exhibited thus far, a quality control issue doesn’t seem very plausible. So then, is cost cutting a major cause of the issues that Toyota Etios Sedan owners seem to be facing, or is it a design fault in the Toyota Etios Sedan? This is something that Toyota Kirloskar Motors better investigate and address, before the niggles become a major issue for the brand’s reputation as a whole.

Coming back to the issues that Toyota Etios Sedan owners seem to be reporting, a frustrated Toyota Etios Sedan owner has found a unique way to express the apathy of a particular Toyota dealership, in this case, Anamalai Toyota of Madurai, which has apparently not been able to solve the various niggles plaguing his Etios Sedan. The harried Etios owner has put out an advertisement in a popular south Indian daily, Dinamalar, highlighting his issue.

Toyota Etios Problems Advertisement

Toyota Etios Problems Advertisement

While this certainly could have been an one off case, we have more Etios owners coming out with their own lists of problems. So much so, that a Toyota Etios owner, Mr Munish, has even launched a website titled, which highlights the various issues that plagues the Toyota Etios Sedan along with the possible solutions for them. Now that we have highlighted the issues faced by Etios owners, it is up to Toyota Kirsloskar Motors India to address the problems.

Knowing brand Toyota and the high emphasis that Toyota places upon customer delight, there’s a high possibility that this problem is already being investigated by Toyota’s engineers and a solution being devised for the same. However if that isn’t the case, it could very well turn out to be a situation where Toyota will lose buyer confidence very rapidly as word, especially of the negative type spreads like wildfire. Watch this space!


  1. Balwinder Singh

    August 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    It is not a fault with companies like Toyota or any other, but with the people who own these vehicles, It is mind set that Indian can easily live with sub-standard outdated equipments and technologies, pleople in india feel proud when he own iPhone 3S, when entire europe is planning to have version 5. Maruti cars are having worst plastic material used and customers have to pay very high price for basic security features. Difference between Swift Europe and Swift India version will prove that. Cann’t we ask for more or at least NO to inferior quality and sub-standard equipments and technologies….!!!!!

  2. Kunal

    August 25, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Dear Balwinder sing,
    It is company fault, just to survive in India, or say just to prove that Toyota can make cheaper cars like Maruti, they are putting Indians at risk. Maruti may use cheap plastic, but we never heard such problem in Maruti cars ever. We are talking here about India cars and their quality, why are you comparing Swift in Europe and Indian Swift? No matter what people say, Swift is one of the best hatchback ever since day one. This has been proved again with the launch of new Swift with over 50,000 bookings. If you wanna compare, then why don’t you compare with American cars? You can get a SUV in 11 Lakhs, same SUV would cost 25 Lakhs in India with less features and quality? Its better we compare Indian cars here, and Toyota cheap cars are just pathetic. Just to prove that they can do what maruti has done from last 25 years, they have come with such pathetic quality, pathetic designs and so on. Wait another 1 year, and toyota cheap cars will have same re sale value as Fiat ars.
    No matter what material Maruti is using, they are still the best. You don’t get any problem in the cars, in the engines, cars will run without any problem for many years. And cars are cheap too. Thats the best part of Maruti. As far as standards are concerned, if you don’t like Maruti cars, we do have BM’s, Merc’s and Audi’s here.. Choice is yours..
    About iPhone, yes I do support you over here, as people in India just wanna show off these wastage of money phones.. I wish apple will launch iphone 5 in India within a month after USA launch..

  3. Rubul Mishra

    August 25, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Hi, I read this article which is very interesting & scary as well. I am an owner of Etios for last 6 months. While I do agree with the cust cutting things by Toyota, I somehow feel happy with the car and the dealer service in Pune. I don’t have any such water seepage problem in my car. I don’t know if it’s a one off case. But my heart goes with you.

  4. Balwinder Singh

    August 26, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Hi Kunal,

    Appreciate your point of view, the reason why I have choosen Swift to compare because Maruti suzuki is considered Indian Brand and common Indian never think of BMW or Audi etc. why safty features are only provided in top end versions only. if you had any chance to take a view of 50K booking’s owner 95% or may be more will be fuel efficency and low cost maintenance only and safty may be the last thing they can think off…. Is that European or US life’s value more than us ?

    What I want to expalin is safty features should be must in every car roled out in India, why Indian brand (Maruti Suzuki) is not giving me what they are offering to the european counter part, why low quality interior ????

  5. Kunal

    August 26, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Hi Balwinder,

    Appreciate your point too, safety is what we least bothered (not everybody though). We as in Indian, go for looks, brands, features and not safety. This has been proved again and again. As far as safety is concerned, Europe has some standards set by government their cars, let it be basic model or top end model, in India we don’t have such policies and that’s the reason cars like Nano exist only in India and not in any other part of the world. People here want cheap, best and branded stuff, that’s why market like Gaffar surviving here. Maruti has provided safety features as optional, its up to the people what they prefer. They just want a car or a car with some safety features. though no safety feature ensures life on road, people die in BMW and AUDI’s as well. I agree that Maruti use cheap plastic, but they still have some standard being the No.1 company of India. But what Toyota has done in their recent cars is completely point less. Toyota has always known for their quality products, but they have spoiled their reputation by offering these cheap cars just to survive in India.

    No one can get a chance to view 50k bookings and no one can say 90% people buying Swift only for fuel efficiency, if that’s the reason, people would go for Alto as Alto is almost half of Swift’s price.
    People want a car big enough to carry 5 easily, with good enough features, best in class looks + mileage + brand + after sales service network, and that’s what Maruti offer and that’s the reason of 50k bookings. You can’t expect for a company to offer all the features, best looks, mileage, space and good quality plastic with many safety features in cheap rates. That’s why automobile companies provide various segments so that people could choose what they want, and every company in India follow it.

    I can understand you point, but our government should take initiative here and set some guidelines for the companies, and that would never happen here.


  6. Mukesh

    September 3, 2011 at 7:11 am

    I am the proud owner of Etios for last two months and have driven the car from Pune to places like Lonavala, Khandala, Mahableshwar during heavy rain. I didn’t find even a single quality issue with my car. The issue reported in this article may be one isolated case. However, please be aware of smear campaign being orchestrated on Internet by some vested interests against Etios. At one point of time, I was also influenced by such stories such as of one from Mr. Munish ( I was in dilemma and had to delay my buying decision for months. However, my satisfaction level and love for my vehicle is increasing day by day. The reason being comfortable city manoeuvrability, very good fuel efficiency, plenty of cabin& boot space, and reliability of my vehicle.

    • Jay Prashanth

      September 3, 2011 at 11:56 am

      Dear Mukesh,

      Our job is to report news without any bias. If you read the story we have carried about the Etios Sedan being plagued by seepage, we have clearly mentioned on more than one occasion that the claims about seepage are being made by Etios owners and not by us. Our job is to simply highlight both sides of the story, which we believe we have done to the best of our abilities. We are delighted that you are enjoying your Etios. This said, we offer to carry your good ownership experience with the Etios on our website, if you may want us to. Wish you many more happy miles.



  7. kunal

    September 3, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Hi Mukesh,

    Thanks for your comment. Fyi, IndianCarsBikes are one of the reputed website of India in terms of news, reviews, information and a lot more things. I have been reading their reviews since a long time and have always found them 100% true. Comments could be wrong, but their reviews never. One of my friend is also proud owner of Etios and he’s now looking for a buyer for his etios. Am not saying you are wrong, all am saying is many people are having same problem which is reported over here by ICB.

    Toyota has downgraded the quality to compete with Maruti. Wait a lil longer and we all will see many customers with similar problems. Nothing against the brand, its just about quality.

    Sent from Galaxy S2 on Android.. Please excuse my brevity!!

    • Jay Prashanth

      September 3, 2011 at 11:57 am

      Dear Kunal,

      Thank you for your continued support and patronage. We’ll strive harder to live up to your expectations from ICB.



  8. Kunal

    September 5, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Cheers Jay!! :)

  9. Whiz_kid_no1

    October 25, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    This is a chronology of the cars I have owned or currently own :
    Swift-2006-till date
    Etios- 2011-
    Among all the above cars, the only car I regret buying is the ETIOS.
    I have not faced any water seepage issues , the engine is good and space is awesome.
    The car was booked on the day of launch mainly due to the T badge. However, the cost cutting has been glaring and ridiculous at times . For the price it sells and the features it offers, it is NOT a Value for Money car. It does NOT give you any ownership pleasure. Barebones is the right word for it. The Swift gave me much more pride of ownership , in fact even the Santro was a pleasure to own!

  10. Tony Joe

    November 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I own a Toyota Etios since the last six months, has used it extensively in the heaviest rains in Kerala, wash the car thoroughly every week, but has never experienced a single instance of water seepage. Also, no quality issues at all. Agreed that interiors are not top-notch quality, but something else cant be overlooked – the engine (mine is petrol)and transmission is of excellent quality, maybe due to it still being imported from Japan, and please also have a look at the price at which it is available. I was not adamant about buying this car, and test drove comparable offerings like Maruti Swift Dzire, Ford Fiesta Classic, Honda Jazz etc, and found that despite lesser interior luxury, the driving experience of Etios is much more powerful and smoother. As many reviewers have said, the steering is absolutely fabulous. Generous interior and boot space has also come in handy for me.

    • Jay Prashanth

      November 25, 2011 at 5:19 pm


      Great to hear that you’ve had a good experience with the Etios. Kindly keep updating this section as it would help prospective Etios buyers to arrive at a buying decision.



  11. Cathrine

    October 11, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    I own a Toyota Etios for four months now and had i read all that i have read now i would have never bought it. It leaks water in normal or heavy rain and they say its due to speakers fitted in my car but even after replacing the speakers i still have the same problem. the fog lights stopped working and still not fixed. i have had a horrible experience since about a month ago. talk about cutting costs and damaging toyotas reputation that is exactly what they have done with the Etios XS Sedan.

  12. Nick

    January 17, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    I have had this car for more than One and a half year and only thing i dont like in it is the Interiors. The quality is not bad but the design is. I don’t see any quality issues, far more better than Maruti Cars. Even if that bothers you, Toyota has now given an optional feature in which you can get biege/luxurios interiors though the speedometer still sits at the center but it’s acceptable. Just remember do test drive any car before you buy. I did test drive Etios and went for it. Every car isn’t perfect and has some niggles. So is etios and every other car in its segment. My requirements were low maintainence costs, A fun to drive powerful yet efficient engine and lastly, a spacious ride. Niether the I20, Polo, Figo had these reqired specs (All petrol versions & mine is Petrol Etios too). I am satisfied with the overall performance of the car. Toyota might have compromised on the interiors but under the hood it has still the Trustworthy Toyota Heart. If you are confused buying Etios do testdrive it and then decide. Good Luck!

  13. arpit

    July 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    I also own a toyota etios gd 2011 model and in rainy days my car boot and even the mats are full of water.Too much water comes in which causes so much foul smell and my friend had a tata nano and it dosent have such kind of problem then why to waste 7 to 8 lakhs on etios.I am really frustrated and the company has no solution I have even given the car to globe toyota many times they are useless.Never buy will end wasting your money and get nothing

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