If there’s one thing Toyota is good at, it is kaizen – or improvement – in progressive, sustainable ways. At times the company may seem a bit conservative in their design or their packaging, but you can be assured of unending reliability and solid resale value – perhaps the most important tenets of a car aimed squarely at the everyman.
Perhaps the best example of this is the Toyota Vios, which entered into its fourth generation at the beginning of this year.
While the 1.5-litre 2NR-FE dual VVTi engine and CVT-type automatic has been carried over from the last generation, numerous improvements to the chassis, tuning, and refinement have helped to make this a holistically improved car.
Much of the work of the engineers are not things that can be represented on a specification sheet, or seen through images – they must be experienced. In the same way the C-HR possesses sublime ride and handling that would shame luxury cars, the Vios is subtly refined and insulated in a way that you don’t notice, until you have to drive something else.
From wind noise reduction to additional insulation in the engine bay, it’s these small touches that separate the good from the merely decent.
One of the criticisms that has often been levelled at the Vios in the last few years has been its somewhat sparse list of options. But following the facelift of the previous generation, and more importantly the most current model, it’s really difficult to agree with this sentiment.
Even the base model comes with integrated LED daytime running lights, automatic headlights, seven airbags, and automatic air conditioning.
There’s also Toyota’s 360-T, a blanket term that encompasses the ownership experience. Safe-T Plus refers to the safety systems as standard (vehicle stability control and hill start assist in the case of the Vios), Connectivi-T ties together entertainment and connectivity, while Guaran-T is perhaps one the most famous Toyota qualities – reliability and peace of mind during ownership.
If you’re in the market for a Vios, prices range from RM 77,200 to RM 87,300 across three variants. Naturally the most appealing would be the range-topping Vios G, with its larger 16-inch rims, six-speaker audio system, Optitron meters, and paddle shifters.
But even if you’re willing to forgo these items, the mid-range Vios E still packs some nice options – especially with a 6.8-inch touch screen and Panoramic View Monitor that easily puts it a step above its rivals.
While there’s a close to RM 10,000 difference across the variants, what does that actually translate to in terms of financing? Looking at it in terms of five year loans with a 10% down payment and a 4% interest rate, the Vios J will cost you RM 1,389.60 in monthly repayments. The Vios E will set you back by RM 1,461.60 a month, while the Vios G goes for RM 1,571.40 a month.
Given that the used car values usually mirrors the price variance when new, it may not be the worst idea to treat yourself to the top of the line model – but no matter which you choose, it’s definitely not going to break the bank.
And despite its commuter car appearances, the Vios has proven to be a competent race-car as well, both within the series of the Vios Challenge and in local competition.
This year sees the third season of the Vios Challenge, and every team has migrated to this all-new model – albeit with a manual gearbox that just isn’t available for public consumption. With the race making its rounds around Malaysia, you can even check out the Vios for yourself if it rolls into your town.