AutonetMagz – The newest LCGC MPV with 7-seater capacity from Toyota, the new Toyota Calya who recently introduced on the 2016 GIIAS, has received many good responds from the customers, proven with more than 17,300 units of order until September 2016.
This time, we are given a chance by Toyota to test the new Calya along with other journalists from other media at Bandung and Garut area. Besides become a selling point city for the Calya, the twisty and climbing roads towards Garut and Bandung become a test point to prove the Toyota Calya ability.
In terms of design, the looks are quite good, as we initially think its just a longer version of Agya, but in fact it have a new design along with several new details on the side pillar and side window.
The design line tends towards sporty, along with the two tone wheels with 14 inches, covered with a Bridgestone Ecopia tyres who looks too small for the overall design. The rear indeed not too proportional, as they need to allow more space at the rear and fit another seats, but again, their effort in developing it, should be appreciated.
As we get in into the cabin, the LECGC ambiance almost gone, as the application of Avanza steering wheel, along with good dark brown color really elevates the ambiance. The boxy dashboard styling also looks good, although it looks quite outdated, but the visibility is ok. The front seat adopt a similar LCGC unified styling, and surely for a driver with 170 cm of height, its not supportive enough, but luckily the foam are thick enough to make it decent. The plastic dominated with a hard, thin and easy to scratch plastics, but the fit and finishing are good enough for a LCGC.
Entering the 2nd row cabin, the car felt spacious, even for one of our member with 190 cm of height, the space at the 2nd row are quite decent, the headroom also ok. The seats itself quite similar as the Avanza seats, along with the ISOFIX, 3 headrest, and three 3-point seatbelts. The material and contour of the seats are sufficient to be used for a long distance trip.
Moving to the 3rd row seats, you could see that the car is an actual 7-seater cars, not a 5+2 like its rival, you could see that it have a proper headroom and leg room, despite its quite cramped. Toyota also fitted the third row with 2 headrest, and 2 3-point seatbelts for the rear passengers.
In terms of practicability, the car are quite practical, thanks to a set of cup holder (8-pieces), and many storage, plus a one touch tumble features to make ease the access towards the 3rd row seats.
The bootspace also decent, according to our testing, when we raise all the seats, Calya still able to accommodate a small bag, a medium suitcase, and a medium backpack, and surely it could be expanded by folding the 3rd row seats.
The folding mechanism are still similar as Toyota Avanza, but not a split folding, as the lower base are folded in one piece.
Entertainment and Features
The audio system also good, just mentioned the Bluetooth, Aux, USB, MP3, etc has become standard, as the Bluetooth system adopt dual Bluetooth system where you could connect two device at the same time to the head unit. The sound quality are mediocre, with less bass and less treble, surely replacing the 4 standard speakers could improved it.
For safety features, the new Toyota Calya fitted with a Dual SRS Airbag, ABS, Side impact beam, and dual stabilizer at the front and rear suspensions for the G variant. So do the MID features, as it shows the speedometer, tachometer, fuel consumption, mileage, etc, along with ECO indicator.
One unique things from the new Calya is what they call as an Air circulator, or what we say as a Fan for the 2nd row passenger. It works like an ordinary AC, but only the blower, and no evaporator, as when we try it at noon, you could feel the wind from the fan, but different when we try it at night, as probably cold air in Garut make the wind felt cooler.
At this chance, we try the manual and automatic version, both are G variant, as both of them have a different character when tested in a hilly roads of Nagrek and Kamojang.
Let’s try the manual transmission first, as we instantly felt that the engine noise and vibration are much lower compared to the 3 cylinder engine applied on Agya, as the 3NR-FE 1.2 liter Dual VVT-i 4 cylinder use a 0W-20 as a standard, so no wonder its far much smoother. Frankly, for the manual transmission version, the power are decent, and felt more responsive than Agya, plus the stability are better, despite the wheels are small. We did drive it up to 130 km/h and the car felt much better even if you compared it with Avanza, probably the application of full monocoque chassis, and stabilizer at both of the wheels contributes to this performance. The electric powered steering wheel also quite light to be driven, but felt slightly heavier in high speed.
But a different things came when we enter Nagrek roads, as the road are dominated with a steep climbing roads and turns, despite it bale to climb, the Toyota Calya we drive with 4 peoples inside are working hard to climbed the route, as heard from the engine revving and often downshifting the transmission to maintain the torque.
After trying the MT, we try the AT variant, as the characteristic are still similar with the MT, we are not too fond with the AT, as its a conventional torque converter who have a big gap when kickdown at D position to pass another car. Everytime we want to pass other cars, we have to change the transmission to 2 position and lick down the pedal to able to do it. While at steep roads, the car have to work much harder compared to the MT variant. Looks like the 88 PS and 104 Nm of torque are not designed to face the steep roads route, especially mated with an AT.
The car fuel consumption also decent, as based on the MID, we manage to set 16 km/liter with a combination of highway, traffic jam, steep roads, and an aggressive driving style. We could get up to 19 km/l for an economical driving style, and 13 km/l at a heavy traffic route in Dago and Bandung, all those FC are set on the AT variant, with 1-2 km/l better FC for the MT.
The suspension setups are far more better compared to Agya, even Avanza, as the Calya suspension tends to be more comfort, not stiff, and not bouncy like the first generation of Avanza. As we felt when the car filled with 4 person and passing a pothole, the rebound character are good, as the stiff suspension setups also contributes to a better handling and less body roll at sharp corners in Nagrek route.
One homework to be pay attention by Toyota is probably the rear suspensions are lowered significantly when we testing it with 4 passengers on board, its not creating a bottoming condition like an over capacity cars, but again we never tested it with a 7 peoples on board.
With a price tag up to IDR 150 million, the new Toyota Calya could become an attractive choices, considering Avanza price are too much, and Datsun GO+ Panca have a lower accommodation. The car have a better build quality, better comfort, safety features, and surely Toyota brand, along with AT or MT choices compared to its competitor. We do love how Toyota improved the suspensions to make it more stable and comfort in high speed for a car in its segment, as in term sof equipment, the car have a similar features even if you compared it to Avanza G variant, except for its double blower.
But again, several weakness that we should addressed such as less supportive seats profile at the front, lack of power for outside of city driving, no double blower, and laggy plus underpower automatic transmission for driving against slopes and steep roads.
But again, the car price are around IDR 60 million cheaper than a Toyota Avanza G Automatic, as we do recommend the new Toyota Calya if you are driving more inside the cities, but if you are facing a far more challenging roads, with steep and twisty corners like in Nagrek, we think the car are lacking of power and not suitable for those conditions.
What we like:
- Safety Features
- Fuel Consumption
- Much Better Compared To Agya
What We Don’t like:
- Slow and laggy AT gearbox
- Underpower engine
- Less Supportive front seats
- Too skinny from the side profile