UMW Toyota Motor has launched the Veloz, their replacement to the well-aged Avanza as the brand’s entry-level 7-seats MPV, though here it’s described as a “modern premium crossover” which is a little unexpected.
Locally assembled and offered in a single variant with a starting price of RM95,000 (on-the-road without insurance), the Veloz clearly has rivals from other Japanese marques in its crosshairs: namely the Mitsubishi Xpander and the Honda BR-V (at least until we get the newest version).
Obviously, we can’t get far into this without discussing the Perodua Alza as they are both obviously very similar. They’re essentially twins underpinned by the same DNGA vehicle platform, though the Toyota does have some cosmetic and equipment advantages to name.
UMW says that they’ve collected over 6,000 bookings prior to tonights virtual launch, adding that they are committed to fulfilling all deliveries to SST exempted customers before March 2023,
which according to President Ravindran.K, “signals increasing interest in a crossover SUV-look.”
To that effect, its ground clearance is boosted to 205mm and it’s given a very crossover-ish dual tone exterior (limited to the Blue and Silver options) to match its 17-inch wheels and gloss black front grille. Its headlights, tail lights, and daytime running lights are LED as well.
Besides the two-tone exterior of the Blue and Silver metallic, the three other exterior colour options are Red Metallic, White, and Bluish Black Metallic, though they miss out on that black roof and pillars.
That bonnet houses a 1.5-litre 2NR-VE naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine that produces 106PS and 138Nm of torque, which you might recognise as the exact same output as the Perodua Alza AV. Drive even goes to the front wheels via the D-CVT gearbox, a powertrain package Malaysians first experienced in the Myvi after its late-2021 facelift.
Inside, the Veloz receives black interior trim with white accents that are complemented by seats that, again, bear a striking resemblance in feel, material (black semi-leather) and finish to that of the Perodua. There's also ambient interior lighting - a nice touch.
Perched in the centre of dashboard is a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s capable of wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay while ahead of the driver is a 7-inch driver’s display within the instrument binnacle.
We found the integrated Qi wireless charging pad just aft of the gear selector to be very nicely positioned, securing our normal sized iPhone easily, though we imagine larger models might struggle to fit. Interestingly, the pad had an on/off switch and doesn’t just start delivering charge when it senses a compatible device.
Toyota Safety Sense, the brand’s suite of active safety and driver-aid features is equipped as standard, adding Pre-Collision (with Autonomous Emergency Braking, AEB), Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a 360-degree view monitor, and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Passive safety features include 6 airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, hill-start assist control, and a front-facing DVR (rear DVR is an optional extra) that links with Toyota’s Vehicle Telematics System (VTS). Two ISOFIX points are available to the 2nd row seats.
With all 7 seats up, the Veloz provides a little under 150-litres of cargo room in the boot, though this can be quickly expanded to 498-litres with the 3rd-row folded down.
As with other models, UMW Toyota offers the Veloz with a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty with 24/7 road assist.
With all that info out of the way, how do you think this newest B-segment, 7-seat MPV stands against its rivals? Is it worth the extra RM20k or so over the Perodua Alza AV?
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.