The undisputed ruler of the global and Philippine automotive market, Toyota Motors is truly a master strategist when it comes to introducing the right vehicle in the right market. Good economy, bad economy, cheap-fuel, expensive-fuel, roads, no road, Toyota has faced everything that the global demand for automobiles has thrown at them and have come out at the top with flying colors.
But what does the new model has to offer, let's find out.
Just like how they totally destroyed their competition in other countries, the Philippine market has been overwhelmed with the demand for the Toyota Vios. The sales for this car alone contributed to more than 10% of all automobiles sold in the country last year, that too in the most competitive vehicular segment, the B-segment Sedan. With the updated model, it is quite certain that the new Vios will yet again obliterate the competition once again this year.
Being among the entry level sedan class, don’t expect the Vios to look like a Jaguar. But that doesn’t mean it looks terrible. The Vios’ design team has indeed done a marvellous job at keeping the vehicle appear anything but simple. While it might look like a conventional sedan from the side, the front profile looks distinctively sporty and can give several C-segment sedans a run for their money. The design takes a lot of cues from the Corolla Altis, but still manages to stand out with its shorter and stocky build than the Altis.
The chrome front fascia works really great with the wrap around headlamps. At the rear, although the designers couldn’t do much to the vehicle’s usual boxy trunk design, the wide chrome panel on the lid does brighten things up a little. It also matches the design of the taillight cluster, which also looks great if you pay a lot of attention to detail. There’s no change in the vehicle’s overall body dimensions with the 2015 Vios. But since it’s already bigger than your average C-segment sedan, there’s no particular need for such a change. The higher variants also come with a spoiler and side skirts that provide subtle changes to the Vios’ exterior.
While most sedans are associated with luxury, the Vios’ interiors are more about practicality. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t comfortable as they offer a decent amount of leg and headroom. However, do not expect the detailing to be as upmarket as a Lexus but still serve a practical purpose. One can find some remarkable features in the automatic transmission variants such as an app enabled infotainment panel. The steering wheel however, looks solid and good to hold across all variants and has wide spokes that allow the instrument cluster to be viewed unhindered. Leather steering is available with the 1.5G variant. Climate control is present on the higher variants just like the last time, but the standard A/C unit is also quite powerful in the base model. The front seats are standard across all variants and are height adjustable. The entry level variants are provided with a 1 DIN Audio Unit with CD/AUX functionality. Yes the vehicle’s interiors don’t have much excitement to offer for an automotive geek, but work totally fine at its given price and still look far better than its competition.
The Toyota Vios is offered with a choice of two distinctive drivetrains. One is a 1.3-litre VVT-i, that generates 85 hp @ 6000 rpm and a torque of 122 Nm @ 4400 rpm. These figures certainly don’t sound that impressive, but do a marvellous job with the vehicle’s overall weight allowing the Vios to feel pretty peppy on the roads. Being the top selling model in the Philippines, the 1.3-litre variant is certainly a great vehicle if you’re looking for a great combination of affordability and fuel economy.
The other engine option is a 1.5-litre VVT-i, that is featured in a slightly larger version of the vehicle. Yes, there is a slight difference in the dimensions of the 1.3 and the 1.5 versions, but it is too miniscule to create any significant difference. Moving forward with the engine, the 1.5-litre mill is certainly a much better performing engine than the previous one. It generates a neat 107 hp @ 6000 rpm and 142 Nm of torque @ 4200 rpm. Driving this version is obviously more pleasant than the base variant and does a much better job at handling the vehicle’s weight in an efficient manner. The fuel economy certainly takes a toll due to the larger engine capacity, but the smooth driving experience does score this version some extra brownie points. Both the engines are offered with 5-speed manual gearbox or 4-speed ECT automatic transmission.
Toyota is not only famous for making cars that sell in huge numbers, but years of experience in the automotive industry has established their vehicles as some of the safest cars across the globe. The vehicle comes with front SRS airbags for the both driver and front passenger. The higher variants are also equipped with a navigation system, reverse camera with sensors alongside ABS with EBD. Despite these active security and safety measures, the vehicle’s main strength comes from its highly rigid body that efficiently absorbs shocks, keeping the occupants out of harm's way.
When you’re talking about the best selling car in the country, you certainly don’t need a verdict from us. Nevertheless, even we would agree that Toyota’s B-Segment entry in the Philippines is one of the best sedans that could be bought at the particular price tag. Its stylish exteriors, comfortable interiors, powerful engines and decent fuel-economy will definitely provide you with a superb value for each penny you have paid for this car.
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I have owned two generations of the Vios, the current one and its predecessor. And after being associated with this brand for more than a decade, the one thing I can proclaim is the car’s reliability. Never ever in my ownership experience has the Vios disappointed me and my family, in any way. The car is good to look at (won’t really entice anyone with its design though), is a joy to drive, and can carry 5 occupants in utmost comfort. I Currently own a 1.5G trim, which returns satisfactory fuel economy and is also low on maintenance.
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