For three generations, the Honda City and Toyota Vios battled fiercely in a level field, but the current generation Vios is suffering a huge setback no thanks to the feature-packed City. To remedy the wound, the facelifted Vios is born, now improved with some long overdue upgrades.
Launched back in 2013, Toyota stretched the term “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” a little bit too far. Also, the current Vios is basically an old wine in a new bottle, retaining the same 1.5-litre 1NZ-FE engine and the four-speed automatic gearbox from the previous generation. Worse yet, Toyota chose not to omit VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) much needed active safety features such as Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) while rivals added that feature as standard in most of its B-segment models.
Malaysian customers have grown more aware of a car’s safety features, something which the Honda City and Mazda2 have plenty to shout about. Last year, the City played an instrumental role in dethroning Toyota from the best non-national title in Malaysia, something not even the “drifting video” can fix.
So, what’s new with this facelift? The Vios gets a new 1.5-litre 2NR-FE with dual VVT-i technology, and it’s good for 108 hp at 6,000 rpm and 140 Nm of torque. If those numbers ring any bell, it’s because the powertrain is exactly what’s powering the Toyota Avanza. The Thai-spec Vios however, is tuned to run the cheaper E85 petrol.
In place of the antiquated four-speed automatic is a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with seven ratios, and it’s offered as standard across the range in Thailand. There won’t be any manual variants on offer, though. Perhaps the most crucial add-on in the facelifted Vios is the inclusion of Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), for all variants! Standard safety features such as ABS and EBD with BA are also included as well.
Malaysians will most likely get the usual J, E and G-spec variants, however in Thailand a new Exclusive trim is added to the lineup. This offers LED headlamps, leather seats, infotainment system and reverse camera as standard. The S variant makes a return as well, possibly replacing the TRD Sportive trim as the sportiest variant. Pricing for the Vios begins at 599,000 Thai Baht (RM68,800) for the entry level J variant, all the way to 749,000 Thai Baht (RM86,000) for the S variant.
Before we get all excited, it’s unclear at press time whether UMW Toyota will be introducing the facelifted Vios with the same spec the Thais are getting. This is because the Vios is locally assembled at the UMW plant in Shah Alam, and there’s a possibility that it will or won’t come with the new mechanical upgrades.
Nevertheless, keep watching this space as we bring you the latest updates on the new Vios! Also, we will be covering the Bangkok Motor Show this year, so expect many exciting news to come your way. Stay tuned!