There’s a serious question to be answered before you hunt down a new Toyota Etios 1.5 Xs: would you be content with the standard model... or would you prefer the tougher-looking Cross version for a premium of R23 000?Each has the same 1.5-litre, quad-valve, four-cylinder, 66kW/132Nm engine and five-speed manual gearbox; the cabins are the same except for embroidered seats in the Cross and a piano-black centre-facia finish.PERFECT FOR THE CITYIt does look armoured against the urban jungle and has suitable rugged look. The plastic cladding ‘armour’ comes with a load-capable pair of roof-rails and larger (alloy) rims to give the whole package that 4x4 look – which, to be fair, Toyota admits is certainly not the case.IMAGE GALLERY: 2014 Toyota Etios CrossIt also lifts the bodywork by a couple of centimeters, handy for kerbs and bouncing across potholes.The Etios Cross 1.5 Xs was launched in July 2014 in the traffic-rich, somewhat decaying, yet brilliantly ethnic melting pot of central Johannesburg. The ‘plating’, of course, is thick plastic and is intended to repel car-park dings and parking poles rather than hollow-points and thorns and it’s layered along each of the four doors and over the wheel arches.Up front it continues beneath the radiator grille and has some reinforcement from an A-shaped plastic bar reminiscent of a Toyota Hilux bakkie while more cladding protects the lower section of the tail hatch.An aerofoil hangs like an eyebrow over the rear window and up front the headlights have a treatment to distinguish them from the unarmoured model.VALUE FOR MONEYBuyers will like the 1.5 engine. It’s good for 100km/h in 11.3sec and general fuel-consumption of six litres/100km, its maker says, and is plenty powerful for the thinner Highveld air. I drove one all over central Jozi from OR Tambo and put in more than 100km in Mining Country around Springs during the one-day launch and, frankly, enjoyed the drive.The car has enough punch to keep a young driver satisfied and he or she will not, of course, have any trouble finding it in a car park.It’s based on the Etios Xs hatch, so already has electric power-steering , aircon, four power windows, rear-window demister and wiper, audio system with USB and auxiliary ports, fog lights (which on the Cross come oversized with built-in indicators), remote-controlled central locking, anti-lock brakes, two front air bags and an immobiliser and (sweet) just one very large front wiper.The Cross adds the aforementioned plastic armour, revised headlight clusters, re-designed external mirrors with turn indicators, front and rear scrape plates (just in case you decide to venture marginally off the tar), the roof rails that can handle 50kg and a very nice set of 15” alloy rims described as “diamond cut”.Overall, a fun package that, despite misgivings about the ruff-’n-tuff faux off-road appearance and swearing not to like it, well, I did.Here’s the full list of Toyota Etios prices (which include a two-year or 30 000km service plan and VAT)Etios 1.5 Xi Hatch (with aircon) - R127 800Etios 1.5 Xs Hatch - R136 800Etios 1.5 Xi Sedan - R134 500Etios 1.5 Xs Sedan - R143 000Etios Cross 1.5 - R159 800Click here to view full specificationsClick here to find out more about the new Toyota Etios Cross.Watch the Toyota Etios Size Challenge: Watch the Toyota Etios Cross: Cargo ChallengePERFECT CITY CAR: The Etios Cross is ready to make it’s mark on the urban cityscape with a masculine new look. The athletic style includes roof rails, a striking rear roof spoiler, new Cross moulded rear and front bumpers, the bold Cross grille, 15" alloy rims.