Since being introduced in 2003, the Toyota Vios has been the best-selling non-national model in Malaysia for 11 years. Now in its third generation with more than 100,000 units sold since 2013, the Vios continues to be one of the preferred models among Malaysians. Its success has been due to meeting the diversity of customer needs by providing spaciousness, good fuel economy, a comfortable ride and the high quality that Toyota is renowned for.
With such a successful formula, could the Vios be any better? The answer is ‘Yes!’, because Toyota believes in Kaizen (the Japanese word for ‘constant improvement’) and to make the Vios better, all the feedback from owners was reviewed to determine how the model can be even more appealing and better value for money to customers.
The improved Vios is now a certified EEV (Energy Efficient Vehicle). As outlined by the Malaysian authorities, the fuel economy, weight and emissions criteria have been tested and approved by the Road Transport Department. Reinforcing the commitment by UMW Toyota Motor to create ever better cars for Malaysia, the savings have been passed on to the customers.
As before, UMW Toyota Motor offers a range of variants to suit different requirements and budgets. The Improved Vios launched this month includes a new variant – the Vios 1.5GX – making it a total of 6 variants to choose from.
Prices are as follows:
1.5 TRD Sportivo with CVT RM 96,400.00
1.5 GX with CVT <New> RM 92,800.00
1.5 G with CVT RM 89,800.00
1.5 E with CVT RM 83,900.00
1.5 J with CVT RM 79,800.00
1.5 J with 5-speed Manual RM 76,500.00
* The On-The-Road Price is for Peninsular Malaysia including GST with Insurance.
NEW ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
For the Improved Toyota Vios, a brand new powertrain is installed in the model. This consists of the new 2NR-FE engine and a CVT (Continuously-Variable Transmission) in place of the conventional 4-speed automatic transmission.
The new 2NR-FE engine, like the one it replaces, has a 1.5-litre displacement with a DOHC 16-valve cylinder head. However, where the previous engine had VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) on just the intake side, this new engine has Dual VVT-i which means that the opening/closing times of the valves on the exhaust side are also continuously variable according to driving conditions.
Besides having Dual VVT-i, the all-aluminium engine also uses Iridium spark plugs and the combustion chambers now have a tapered squish design to enhance the combustion process. Oil jets provide more efficient lubrication for the pistons which reduces friction. The engineers have also reduced noise and vibration with measures such as the installation of an enhanced engine cover.
Toyota’s own factory testing shows that the Improved Vios with the new engine and CVT can achieve 18% better fuel economy than the previous engine with a 4-speed automatic transmission. If an owner travelled 25,000 km a year, this would mean fuel-savings of around 302 litres and based on a RON95 petrol price of RM1.75 a litre, this would amount to savings of RM529 each year.
For those who wish to drive in the most economical manner, there is an Eco Indicator. This small green light will appear on the instrument panel whenever the engine is running optimally and using fuel in the most efficient way. By providing a ‘challenge’ to the driver to keep the Eco Indicator light on as much as possible, more economical driving can be achieved.
Contributing to the better fuel economy is CVT which incorporates a torque converter to provide much smoother operation with less shift shocks. The computer will always maintain the transmission ratio at optimum based on driving conditions and to enhance fuel efficiency within the 0 to 100 km/h speed range (which is the most frequently used), there are more ratios available.
The CVT in the Corolla Altis has received many positive comments for its good feel and the same will apply to the CVT in the Improved Vios. Drivers will notice immediate response to the slightest tap on the accelerator pedal and smooth and linear acceleration. For those who wish to manually select gears, there is a 7-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic mode. The driver can easily select pre-set ratios (in a sequential manner) by pulling or pushing on the shift lever.
Feedback from owners also told Toyota that there is more concern about safety and to enhance this aspect in the Improved Vios, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) has now been made standard on all variants. VSC, which used to be available only in more expensive models, is an Active Safety system which helps a driver to regain control of the car if a skid occurs. A computer constantly receives data from various sensors and when it detects that the car is skidding sideways, braking forces will be automatically applied on certain wheels to create a counteracting force. In this way, the skidding will be stopped and the driver will be able to maintain control to safely drive around the corner.
VSC is for emergencies and is not intended to enable cornering speeds faster than what is safely possible. It also cannot compensate for tyres which are excessively worn out and do not grip the road properly. Other Active Safety systems available include ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA). For extra stopping power, rear disc brakes are fitted to the Vios 1.5 TRD Sportivo, 1.5GX and 1.5G.
ABS prevents wheel lock-up during hard braking on slippery surfaces so that the driver will retain steering control and be able to divert the car away from an obstacle if necessary. EBD adjusts the braking forces between the front and rear wheels in accordance with the load in the car (eg whether there are heavy items in the boot) for optimum braking. BA, which was originally developed to help older drivers, increases braking pressure in emergency braking situations when the pedal is pressed suddenly. With ABS, application of greater pressure is better as it will make the system work more effectively.
Passive Safety is also well provided in the Improved Vios to protect the occupants in the event that an accident cannot be avoided. This starts with the computer-engineered impact-absorbing body structure with high tensile steel used in many areas. The front of this strong structure is designed to absorb and dissipate the impact forces of a collision so that they do not reach the cabin and cause injuries to the occupants.
Additionally, within the cabin of all variants, there are SRS airbags for the driver and front passenger. The effectiveness of airbags is greatest when the seatbelts are used (as required by law) and pre-tensioners with force-limiters control the restraint on the body to optimise the effects of the airbag cushioning. For the driver, the airbag can also prevent head injuries caused by hitting the steering wheel. In the event of collisions from the rear, the design of the front seats is such that whiplash (which causes neck injuries) can be reduced, if not prevented.
During a severe frontal collision, the front end of the car may be pushed backwards and for decades now, Toyota vehicles have been fitted with a collapsible steering column. This has a breakaway mechanism which will prevent the steering wheel from being forced onto the driver’s chest and also ensures sufficient space for the airbag to inflate. Additionally, the Improved Vios also comes with a knee brace below the dashboard which will prevent the driver’s legs from being injured.
All three rear passengers have 3-point seatbelts which provide proper restraint without being restrictive. For those who have small children, ISOFIX points are also provided for compatible child seats to be easily installed and secured properly.
During an accident, the occupants of the car could be subjected to extreme forces that will cause their heads and bodies to move violently around (even with the use of seatbelts). To reduce injuries, various sections of the cabin, including the ceiling, have been fitted with impact=absorbing materials.
To make reverse parking easier and safer, there is a reverse camera (Vios TRD Sportivo, 1.5GX, 1.5G and 1.5E) which provides a view of the rear of the car. This will not only help the driver avoid hitting objects that could damage the car but also ensure that small children can be seen if they are not visible in the mirrors.
For those who want a sportier look, the new Vios 1.5GX variant has a newly designed aerokit (also available as an option for the Vios 1.5E and 1.5J) with new 15-inch alloy wheels that are fitted with 185/60R15 tyres.
The exterior design of the Vios remains as fresh as ever with a dynamic side profile. Projector headlamps are fitted to the Vios TRD Sportivo, 1.5GX and 1.5G and to ensure that the beams are correctly focussed, there is a manual levelling feature on all variants. Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) are also integrated in the front bumper of all variants to provide better visibility of the car to other road-users in all lighting conditions and from a great distance.
The Improved Vios TRD Sportivo also has a new design aerokit and comes with an exclusive black grille for a sportier image.
Two new exterior colours have been developed for the Improved Vios – Crimson Spark Red Metallic and Super White II. These are complemented by three other colour choices which are Medium Silver Metallic, Silver Metallic and Attitude Black. White Pearl CS, also a new colour choice, is only available with the Vios 1.5 TRD Sportivo.
COMFORT & CONVENIENCE
One of the strong points of the Vios has been its excellent value for money. This is further enhanced with the Improved Vios and where comfort is concerned, high quality leather upholstery is available for the upper variants while the Vios 1.5E and 1.5J now come with fabric upholstery in black for a sportier look.
Vios drivers no longer need to use a key to unlock the doors or start the engine. Like drivers who have more expensive models, they have a Smart Entry System where all they need to do is press a button on the door handle (with the key fob in the pocket) to unlock/lock the doors. When seated, a press of the button gets the engine started.
The audio system has been upgraded with additional features that will make motoring even more enjoyable. For the Vios 1.5 TRD Sportivo, 1.5GX, 1.5G and 1.5E, the 2-DIN head unit has a large 6.8-inch touchscreen and a DVD player. Various connectivity options such as AUX and USB ports as well as Bluetooth allow personal music selections to be played. Complementing the touchscreen is Voice Recognition which contributes to safer driving as the driver need not take his or her hands off the steering wheel. Control switches are also available on the steering wheel.
For the Improved Vios 1.5J variants, there is also a 2-DIN head unit with connectivity options such as AUX and USB ports as well as Bluetooth allow personal music selections to be played. As with all the standard/optional audio systems and accessories that come with Toyota models distributed by UMW Toyota Motor, installation is done by trained personnel at the company’s Integrated Quality Hub before the cars are delivered to customers.
Besides the many storage areas available around the cabin, there is also generous boot space. With the rear seats in use, the boot volume is 506 litres. This can be increased when the rear backrests (divided 60:40) are folded down. The bootlid opens to a vertical position for easier loading and the lift-over height of 675 mm makes lifting heavy luggage into the boot less difficult.
The other specifications and standard equipment of the Vios are unchanged and these include illumination in the front footwells (amber for the 1.5 TRD Sportivo, and blue illumination for the other variants). All variants have black interior colour schemes and for the 1.5 TRD Sportivo, there are also red highlights on the leather seats. For the new Vios 1.5GX, the upholstery is perforated two-tone (black & saddle tan) leather and there is new cubic print trim design with a metal hairline pattern.
Other standard equipment includes power retractable door mirrors with integrated turn indicators, rear centre armrest and acoustic glass for the windscreen and side windows to lower noise transmission for a quieter cabin ambience.
For the Vios 1.5 TRD Sportivo, there are exclusive items to give it a sportier image. These include a new front bumper spoiler, scuff plate on all door sills, exclusive carpet mats, a sporty meter panel with Multi Information Display (MID) and leather wrapped steering wheel with red stitching. The seats are also finished in black and red stitching with perforated combination leather.
The Improved Vios (except the 1.5E & 1.5J variants) now comes with Toyota Premium Security & Solar Film developed and manufactured using nanotechnology methods. The film complies with JPJ regulations and is certified by PUSPAKOM. Besides providing excellent protection from the harmful and uncomfortable infrared rays of the sun, the film also includes a security layer to delay grass breakage. Installation of the film is done by trained personnel and in accordance with the high quality standards set by Toyota.
At the time of purchasing their new Vios, customers can also include optional accessories specially designed for the model. These options will be fitted by trained personnel at UMW Toyota Motor and have a warranty against manufacturing defects.
For the Vios 1.5E and 1.5J, customers can give their car a sportier image by installing the optional 5-piece aerokit which consists of front and rear bumper spoilers, side skirts and a trunk lid spoiler.
Customers who wish to upgrade their infotainment system can opt for the DVD-AVN or DVD-AVX systems which offer more features and capability. The DVD-AVN system has a 7-inch full-colour touchscreen and smartphone connectivity (subject to smartphone model compatibility) which means that the system can also connect to the internet. A GPS navigation system is also built in. This system is integrated with a reverse camera and the displayed image has guide lines to aid positioning of the car while reversing.
The DVD-AVX system is only for the Vios 1.5J as an upgrade. It has a 6.8-inch full colour touchscreen Voice Recognition and a Reverse Camera.
Customers who purchase the Vios 1.5E & 1.5J have two choices of window tinting film. For those who require just protection from hot sunshine, Toyota Essential Solar Film is available. It meets Malaysian regulations and by reducing the transmission of harmful rays into the cabin, the interior parts will be better protected against aging. A 7-year warranty is provided for this film.
For those who wish to have additional security from theft, Toyota Premium Security & Solar Film is a stronger film with an additional security layer to make the glass more resistant. The film is JPJ-compliant and also does an excellent job of filtering out hot and harmful rays, keeping the cabin cooler even on the hottest days. SmartTags can be used without problem at all toll plazas.
As with all the latest models offered by UMW Toyota Motor since April 1, 2016, the Improved Vios comes with a 5-year Warranty with Unlimited mileage. The fully-backed factory warranty is transferable to the next owner if it is still in effect when sold off.