The Toyota Vios has recently been refreshed in Thailand, dumping the aging 1NZ-FE 1.5-litre VVT-i engine and 4-speed automatic in favour of a more fuel efficient, all-new 2NR-FBE 1.5-litre Dual VVT-i engine paired to a CVT with seven virtual ratios (CVTs don’t have physical gears within it).
Apart from the new engine and transmission, the Thai-market Vios also gets electronic stability control (ESC) - VSC in Toyota’s lingo - as a standard feature across all variants. Airbag count however, remains capped at just two, still lower than the Honda City’s six.
The Thai-market Vios’s engine is also tuned to accept E85 gasohol fuel, which grants it further discounts in excise duty.
We expect the new Toyota Vios to make its Malaysian debut in the final quarter of 2016.
Considering that the Vios’s chief competitor Honda City benefits from generous incentives under the National Automotive Policy’s promotion of the so-called Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEV), it is only logical to expect UMW Toyota Motor to apply for the same.
Currently, the Honda City has a huge price advantage over the Toyota Vios. The City starts at RM76,100, undercutting the Vios’s RM77,980 starting price.
The highest specifications City V is priced at RM89,240, and comes with six airbags, ESC (VSA), and a rather sophisticated infotainment system, on top of the standard car’s premium-like cabin and space-efficient packaging. None of it is available in the most expensive Vios TRD Sportivo, priced at RM97,980.
Understandably, UMW Toyota would not comment on its upcoming future models but chatter in the market place suggests that the company is working on a plan to lobby for the so-called customised EEV incentives to be extended to the new Vios.
Apart from assembling the Vios locally, UMW Toyota also has a metal stamping plant in Malaysia. The Vios is the only non-national car to have its body panels manufactured in the country.
While Toyota has not released any official information regarding CO2 emissions and fuel consumption figures of the new Vios, it is safe to say that it is significantly better than before.
The introduction of the new, more fuel efficient and cleaner emissions Vios coincides with Thailand’s introduction of a new CO2 emissions-based excise duty structure (enforced in 1-January 2016), which replaces the previous engine capacity-based excise duty structure.
The new Vios’s powertrain specifications also closely matches the City’s, using the same fuel-sipping CVT-type automatic transmission. Thus, it’s reasonable to expect the new Vios to more or less match the City’s environmental credentials.
Does this mean that the new Vios will be cheaper? Unlikely. Assuming that UMW Toyota managed to secure the necessary EEV incentives for the new Vios, we expect prices to more or less remain, but the new model might offer better value – newer and more fuel-efficient powertrain, better safety features with minimal increase in prices.