More Sensible Than Ever
The Toyota Vios has become a household name among Filipinos. It’s as ubiquitous as the Coca Cola and Jollibee. It’s the country’s best selling vehicle, standing at 25,740 units sold. It means that on average, 71 units are sold daily, and 3 units are sold every hour. So you better get used to the Vios’ new looks, because it just got a major refresh.
For starters, it has an all-new look. It shares the same face as the Yaris I drove in mid-2018, which is not surprising since they’re the same cars. Some people don’t like its looks, but for me, I find it better proportioned than the model it replaces. This G variant has automatic projector headlights, LED daytime running lights, and clean LED tail lights. It also has two-tone 16-inch alloys, while the lower variants either use steel wheels, hubcaps, or 15-inch alloys. While almost all body panels are new, this is just a major facelift since it still uses the same platform as the model it replaces.
It’s the same story inside. While all the interior panels are new, it still feels familiar. The amount of fake stitching, which has been a talking point with its predecessor, has been substantially reduced. Build quality is nicer with cleaner panel gaps. Hard plastics still dominate the interior but that’s expected in this class.
Up front, the driving position is quite good, though, without telescopic adjustment for the steering, some drivers will find it hard to set their ideal position.
Front and center is a 7-inch touch screen infotainment system, which works intuitively and responsively enough. The graphics aren’t the most pixel-dense, plus there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Other special creature comforts include passive entry with push-button start, automatic climate control, and power folding mirrors.
But the one thing that makes the Vios a stand out is its comprehensive list of standard safety features, which include 7 airbags, hill start assist, 3-pt seatbelts for all seats, as well as two ISOFIX child seat anchor points. A move we applaud Toyota for doing.
Space is good for four adults, but since the car is quite narrow, the middle rear passenger will struggle for shoulder room. Legroom is great, while in terms of headroom, my hair already touches the ceiling, and I’m about 5 foot 10. Meanwhile, the Vios’ trunk space lands around in the middle of the class at 478 liters. For perspective, the Honda City holds up to a crossover-like 536 liters of space.
Under the hood is a 1.5-liter inline-4 petrol engine, which produces 108 hp @ 6,000 rpm and 140 Nm of torque @ 4,200 rpm. This is mated to either a CVT or a 5-speed manual, which is equipped in this car. Getting the CVT variant also adds paddle shifters as well as a drive mode selector.
One of the Vios’ biggest improvements is its refinement. It’s a lot quieter and more comfortable than before. The suspension deals well with bumps, while the improved sound deadening makes this a refined cruiser even at triple digit speeds. The brakes also feel a lot sharper than I expected. Don’t expect it to set your pants on fire though. A Honda City feels much more fun to drive, let alone the Mazda 2, and these are due to a few things.
I do like how weighty the steering is than some of its competitors, but it caters more on stability rather than agility. It doesn’t have the quick reactions nor the same level of feel as the Mazda 2’s, but for daily use, it’s more than good for what it’s meant for.
This 5-speed manual transmission makes the Vios accelerate better. It’s about a full second quicker to 100 kph compared to the CVT, but at lower revs, there’s a huge delay in throttle response and the engine refuses to rev. I know that the engine has good power delivery, especially at the mid and top end, but the delayed throttle response in the lower revs make you downshift more often than you need to. The clutch is light, but the biting point is a bit high for my preference. Apart from these, however, while the Vios is not necessarily the most fun to drive, it’s much more refined and comfortable than before.
Fuel economy is so-so for the class. A week’s worth of driving only gave me up to 9.8 km/l, and it must be considered that I live outside Metro Manila, where traffic only occurs during the rush hour. For perspective, I regularly achieved 11 km/l in a Honda Jazz and City
Priced at P981,000, the Vios 1.5 G MT is on the pricier side of the subcompact sedan class, but its safety features help justify that. I’d personally avoid the 1.5 G Prime variant because if you’re spending close to P1.1 million for a subcompact sedan, you’d be better off in something like a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla Altis instead. Nevertheless, the Toyota Vios is still not the most exciting car to come out from Toyota, but with its refined nature and comfortable manners, it’s a car that will remain popular to a wide variety of people. In the end, most people look for reliable and comfortable transportation, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt if it were affordable and cheap to run.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★☆
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★★☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★☆
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.0 out of 5