Lifestyle, Cars + Tech

First Drive: Toyota Vios

First Drive: Toyota Vios

Toyota Vios is an icon. Since 2003, the Japanese manufacturer has built and sold almost half a million units around the world as it evolves from its modest beginning to become one of the best-selling cars in its segment. Come 2019, enter the third-generation Vios which has been improved to impress and to appeal to the younger audience. While the previous generations of Vios were affordable and reliable, this new edition is all that and guarantees to dazzle you even more by offering a myriad of upscale exterior and interior features.

The subcompact sedan is redesigned to meet a wider range of needs. Not big, not lumbering and most certainly not box-like: it’s sleek and compact in shape while appearing seamlessly proportionate from every angle with a slim upper grille, sharp angled headlights and prominent shoulder lines. Another noteworthy enhancement: it now comes with LED headlights and daytime running lights, so you get the benefit of great lighting. This version is contemporary and young, albeit Toyota could have taken a few more risks with the redesign.

Auto Air-conditioning
Optitron Meter with Multi-information Display (MID)*
Drive Mode Switch* & Paddle Shifters**
Electrochromic Rear-view Mirror*

While the exterior is flashier, the inside is mature. The restyled dashboard with a chromeplated frame houses the stereo, central air conditioning vents and climate control. It is also equipped with leather seats and steering wheel, six speakers and 6.8-inch display panel with infotainment system, which includes Bluetooth, web link and USB connectivity. For the higher trims, there’s the new Panoramic View Monitor 360-degree parking camera with perimeter scanning and a curb view, which is handy especially for parallel parking.

As you would expect, this Vios is a very safe and practical car. It may not be a rocket ship, but then it’s not designed to be one. The power is generated from a carryover 2NR-FE 1.5 litre Dual VVT-I four-cylinder engine, making 107 PS at 6,000 rpm and 140 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm. It gets up, goes and stops and handles effortlessly, and the continuously variable transmission (CVT) responds more briskly than the early iterations do at realworld speeds. In addition, it’s easy to drive, with agile, precise steering and acceptable visibility which actually makes manoeuvring the vehicle fun. It’s neither as large nor as brash as an SUV, which makes it a quietly satisfying car to drive.

Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert*
Panoramic View Monitor (PVM)*
Front Digital Video Recorder (DVR)*
Rear Digital Video Recorder (DVR)

Improved safety is crucial with this car, which recently earned a five-star ASEAN NCAP safety rating. All variants now come with seven airbags (including a driver’s knee airbag), newly added Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear CrossTraffic Alert (RCTA), stability control and Front Digital Video Recorder (DVR) that works as well as any others in the market.

Overall, like it always has been, the new Toyota Vios is a car for the convinced (the sales numbers don’t lie). Priced between RM77,200 to RM87,300, the question is: buy or bye? Our take is that if you’re seeking a car that provides all that you need for your everyday commuting comfort, this stands as an ideal choice. Because in 2019, practical is the new sexy, we reckon.

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