2022 Toyota Glanza makes for a smooth drive


Glanza, with new safety kit such as ESP, hill-start assist and six airbags looks like the Toyota has taken several steps in the right direction

Glanza, with new safety kit such as ESP, hill-start assist and six airbags looks like the Toyota has taken several steps in the right direction

Toyota is leveraging its global partnership with Suzuki to share models and technologies, to establish its presence in the premium hatchback segment with the Baleno-based Glanza, which opens up its doors to a wider set of customers and increases overall sales volumes. 

Earlier this year, Maruti Baleno underwent a major transformation, and now, its Toyota equivalent follows suit. Like the Maruti, the Glanza gets a new petrol engine, an automated manual transmission (AMT), which replaces its CVT (automatic), gets some structural enhancements, completely new interiors and a laundry list of equipment.

For the 2022 iteration, Toyota designers have gone to great lengths to establish family ties with its Toyota stable mates, unlike the 2019 iteration which looked identical to its Maruti twin. Its new, striking headlamps feature L-shaped LED Daytime Running Lamps and are connected by a nicely stretched chrome band, which not only visually enhances the car’s width, but it appears to be lifted off the Camry Hybrid sedan. A distinctive bull-horn design element around the front air dam looks rather radical and it is finished in a carbon fibre design to add a sporty touch, while the C-shaped chrome touches add some bling. The only other Toyota-specific change is its new 16-inch diamond-cut alloys. Side and rear profiles, however, remain identical to the Baleno.

The interiors are significantly revamped and it now gets an all-new dashboard and several other bits, which have gone a long way in upping the Glanza’s desirability quotient. Toyota’s premium-looking beige-black theme makes a great first impression, and brightens up the cabin. The use of piano black and silver highlights, with upmarket bits such as a flat-bottomed steering, an entirely new climate control console and a new free-standing touchscreen further lift its appeal.

Taking centre stage is the all-new 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It is feature packed with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, voice commands and connected car tech via an app. Further, it packs in a premium sound system that is tuned by Arkamys. Even though it has all the right ingredients on paper, its execution is not perfect – its high placement hampers frontal visibility; the screen is a bit too reflective especially under the afternoon sun; and rivals like the Tata Altroz and Hyundai i20 offer a punchier and crisper sound output.

Ergonomics, as before, are spot on and finding the right driving position is easy thanks to a tilt and telescopic steering as well as a plethora of seat adjustments. The seat cushioning, however, is too soft for comfort, which could trigger back and/or muscle aches over long drives. Rear seat space is adequate, but tall passengers will find their heads brushing against the roof. The Glanza’s seat is not as wide as the i20’s to accommodate three abreast in reasonable comfort. This Toyota finally gets dedicated AC vents and nifty charging provisions for rear occupants. Curiously, luggage space has gone down from 339 litres to 318 litres, and its high-set tall boot lip is not convenient to load and unload heavy luggage.

The Glanza gets an extremely useful 360-degree camera, which is handy while parking in and out of tight spots. Toyota also offers a retractable heads-up display, which pops out from the dash. It is a great party trick, but the speed projection is not in the driver’s natural field of vision, and hence, some might prefer leaving it tucked away. Toyota has also taken steps in the right direction by equipping the Glanza with new safety kit such as ESP, hill-start assist and six airbags. However, in-vogue features such as a sunroof, wireless charging and wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay have been given a miss.

Powering the Glanza is a 1.2-litre K12N naturally aspirated petrol unit which makes 90hp and 113Nm. In Toyota’s quest to improve fuel efficiency and keep a check on emissions, this new engine also gets engine stop-start.

This four-cylinder engine is one of the best in its class in terms of refinement and smoothness. It feels adequately peppy to potter around town in a quiet, vibe-free manner. If you have experienced the older-gen K12B, performance will feel a tad dispirited in its current guise; it does not pull as strongly nor does it spin as freely as it once did.

As delightful as the manual is, Toyota’s choice of opting for a 5-speed AMT in this segment seems like a step in the wrong direction, especially when its rivals offer more advanced and smoother dual-clutch and CVT automatic offerings. The AMT is programmed to reach the highest possible gear at the earliest in the interest of efficiency, and with gentle accelerator inputs and light traffic, it does a reasonable job with negligible ‘head nod’ between shifts. However, amidst denser traffic, where maintaining constant speeds is not possible, the AMT pauses and hunts for the correct gear, which gets quite annoying. 

This Toyota, however, proves its mettle in an area which matters to buyers – fuel efficiency. In our tests, the manual returned 13.80kpl and 17.50kpl, while the AMT returned 11.86kpl and 17.21kpl, in city and highway conditions, respectively. What is interesting is that unlike most automatic engine-stop-start systems, it does not switch on the engine automatically (while idling) if the cabin temperatures rise higher than the preset climate control temperatures; it will only do so when you depress the clutch pedal in the manual or ease off the brake pedal in the AMT.

The Glanza’s suspension has been reworked, and as a result, its low speed ride is one of the nicest in its class, absorbing potholes and road imperfections in a very mature manner. At highway speeds, however, its ride does not feel quite as plush and it transmits road shocks rather sharply into the cabin resulting in a busy ride. The steering also witnesses a huge improvement over the earlier iteration – it feels more fluid, remains reasonably light and it also returns to centre (after a U-turn) in a rather natural manner.

If you are looking for a convenient automatic hatchback, the Glanza AMT does not quite make the cut, as this transmission is not quite as smooth or sorted as the CVT it replaces. Also, if your usage includes a significant amount of highway driving, its overtly soft seats and its busy ride at higher speeds, do not make it ideal for long-distance cruising.

An attractive price tag of ₹ 6.53 lakh and ₹ 9.91 lakh, makes it hard to overlook what the Glanza brings to the table. With this mid-life update, Toyota has taken several steps in the right direction by enhancing its design and interiors, and offering a generous equipment list. Its new petrol engine is quite simply among the best in class in terms of smoothness and refinement, the manual is effortless to drive, and more importantly, it is incredibly fuel efficient, which is one of the highlights of this Toyota. The strong brand equity and the peace of mind associated with the ‘T’ badge further strengthen its case.

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