October 06, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

​Toyota teaches the Old Dog some New Tricks!

Toyota gives their crowd favourite B-segment sedan huge upgrades and an EEV certificate!


Toyota has given the Vios a much deserved new heart and a splash of colour to breathe life into it. Ever since its debut in 2003, the Vios has been a sales hit and gone through 3 life cycles in its 11 year run. With its rivals the Honda City and the Nissan Almera leaping ahead with improvements, Toyota retaliates with the Improved Vios that comes with a new drivetrain and whole lot of upgrades. The new range will also feature a new variant called the 1.5 GX CVT bridging the gap between the range leading TRD Sportivo and 1.5G variant. 

 The new powerplant, dubbed the 2NR-FE, now features Dual VVT-i just like its bigger brother, the Corolla. Weight is the enemy of efficiency, so to keep things as featherlight as possible, the engine is made of aluminium and puts out 106bhp and 140Nm of torque. Pretty fancy for a B-segment car don't you think? 

Transmission wise, the old four-speeder is thrown out and replaced with a much more efficient and usable seven-speed CVT. For those who would like to have a more involved driving experience, slide the gear lever to the right and you can sequentially select the gears. Toyota has been listening to their customers after all.  

The new drivetrain combination has been designed with one main goal in mind and that is fuel economy. Coupled with a new computer software that optimises the gear ratios, the Vios will adapt its systems accordingly with the driving conditions to provide the most efficient performance. As a result of their efforts, the Vios has earned itself the Energy Efficient Vehicle certificate. Toyota hopes that this will  boost its popularity among young buyers who tend to pay importance to running costs. 

What this means in the real world is that the new Vios has an 18 per cent improvement in fuel economy over the outgoing model. If you're really keen on driving as economically as possible, you can monitor your efforts via a little Eco indicator that lights up when the engine is running at optimum efficiency. 

You'd be glad to hear that the Vios has joined the acronym game with the most important acronym of them all,  Vehicle Stability Control. The VSC system will work to improve the stability of the vehicle by detecting when the car has is about to lose control and applies the necessary braking force to regain control making the car much more controllable in an emergency manoeuvre situation. ABS and EBD comes standard as it’s carried forward from the previous model. 

For those of you who throw caution to the wind, yes the VSC has also improved the handling and cornering speeds. An array of safety features keeps the occupants safe inside. SRS airbags, pre-tension seatbelts, collapsible steering column and a bonus knee brace to keep your legs safe from harm. I don't want to get into an accident but seems like it wouldn't hurt to try it in the Vios. 

You'd think that's the end, but there's more. Interior comfort and gadgets have been upgraded as well. With the new SmartEntry System, you get an expensive looking key fob you can keep anywhere on your body and just press a button on the door handle to unlock the car. Once inside, the tiring process of putting the key in and turning it is saved by a simple Start Button. 

Welcoming news to music lovers is that the speakers have been up rated and so has the Head unit. Together with the usual connectivity options, Voice Recognition software is available for your pleasure. Simply press a button on the steering and command your actions. You can now have a shouting match with your new Vios as it tries to understand your accent. Oh Joy.

The burden that is reverse parking is made easier with the reverse camera that automatically comes on when you engage the Reverse Gear this is only available for the top four variants in the range though. The higher models get high quality leather upholstery while the new GX variant gets a perforated two tone leather trim. Fancy. 

If you're in the mood to splash out on your new Vios, you could upgrade the infotainment system to a DVD unit with more features that includes GPS and internet connectivity. All variants apart from the 1.5E and 1.5J will come with Toyota Premium Security & Sola Film which keeps you safe from the heat of our weather and also has a security layer that ought to keep the glass from shattering instantly.  UMW Toyota Motor offers the Improved Vios with a five year warranty and unlimited mileage package.

Exterior wise, you won't be blamed for not being able to differentiate between the old and the new model. Sure the new GX variant gets a slightly different aerokit and new 15-inch alloys but not much else has changed. The top three variants do get projector headlamps while the others make do with traditional headlamps. What you would notice about the new Vios will be the colour. Striking isn't it? The new colours launched are Crimson Spark, Super White II and White Pearl CS. The last one is reserved only for the TRD Sportivo.

Prices start at RM76,500 for the lowest 1.5J Manual and go up to RM96,400 for the TRD Sportivo. With all these upgrades, The Improved Vios is now certainly on par with its rivals. The decision making process just got a whole lot harder.  

Y.Dharmeswaran

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