October 06, 2016 @ 07:26 PM

​Brand new and improved Toyota Vios, here's our first impressions

Say hello to Toyota’s fan favourite B-segment car with a new heart and a new certificate

Yes, there is another certified EEV option now, while BMW is proudly slapping EEV certs on all their cars, Toyota has only just managed to slap one onto one of theirs. This isn’t a facelift, since facelifts generally come with cosmetics changes, this Vios saw mostly technology upgrades, an engine change and a gearbox upgrade.

With the upgrades, also comes a new variant. Underneath it all, the GX is really the same car as the other Vios available for sale, it’s just the addition of not-so-sporty kits all over the car. We have to admit though, we’re feeling this GX kit more than the TRD Sportivo kit. There is just something about the GX’s kit that makes the Vios look sporty with an elegant twist.

Upgrades… Let’s start with the engine. All Improved Vios variants will have an all new engine known as the 2NR-FE with Dual VVT-i instead of just one like the outgoing engine. This Dual VVT-i engine puts out 105bhp and 140Nm of torque but it is 18 per cent more fuel efficient than the previous one and, according to Toyota, will save you up to RM529 worth of fuel in a year.

During the drive, the media were tasked with a challenge, to see how many kilometres 1-litre of fuel can cover. The winning number was 24.6km. Yes! We’re not kidding! But let’s face it, nobody is going to drive around at 30kph on, well, anywhere, or have the aircond turned off but the windows shut tight. So in real world terms, 1-litre of fuel can bring the Vios about 18km.

The fuel efficiency numbers are helped by the new CVT. Yes, Toyota has done away with the four-speed Aisin gearbox and is jumping on the CVT band wagon with their B-segment representative. The CVT will help maintain at optimum based on driving conditions to enhance fuel efficiency in the car. We’re happy to report, though, that the CVT is very smooth, and quiet as well. But only if you don’t floor the throttle and ask for too much speed.

Just like all other CVTs, the Vios’ transmission drones, and it drones loud! But look on the bright side, the drone sounds like the way a sports car revs, so you can imagine yourself driving sports car in the Vios. Flooring the throttle, you will first get a loud whine before the wheels finally get the momentum generated from the 1.5-litre engine and send the car careening forwards.

So pick your overtaking target well, because you are going to have to make a lot of calculations before actually pulling off an overtaking move. You can deploy the help of the seven-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic mode to help with your more adventurous drives if you decide that the CVT is a tad slow to respond to your requests. But if you decide to cruise along the highway and enjoy the scenery, the Vios is the perfect car to do so. We suspect that that was Toyota’s aim in the first place.

Toyota actually devised a test for us just to demonstrate the difference between the CVT and the old four-speeder. How did they manage to keep us from flooring the throttle and letting flying off? Well, they installed a throttle stopper. The throttle stopper allows us to only depress the pedal far enough to get the car moving and maintaining a constant speed. When we compared the two cars, we definitely felt it was smoother as the car picked up speed. There was barely any sound at all even when the car had to tackle the steep incline and decline of the hill. The four-speeder on the other hand issued more noise when the old car picked up speed and there was a slight jerk that could be felt when we went up and down the hill.

Other upgrades include the new VSC system. Yeap, this is another Japanese B-segment that comes equipped with Vehicle Stability Control system to help save our lives if we ever find our self in an emergency situation. The good news is that all variants across the board comes with VSC, so you won’t be losing out if you’re looking to purchase the base variants.

In terms of, technological upgrades, the Improved Vios gets Smart Entry System and eliminates the need to fumble out the key to unlock or to start the car. But the coolest technology update is the inclusion of a built in dash cam. Oh yes, the neatest dash cam in the Hilux is also on the Vios now, and this is the easiest way to tell the difference between the new and the old.

Is this Vios better? Well, we really can’t decide. While we do like that the car is much quieter and more stable, giving you a safe haven after you escape your busy work place, but we do still enjoy our short bursts of speed on the highway. If you’re one for a conventional gearbox, then dive into the classified section, because CVTs are going to take over the world. I personally would take the technology updates over the old four-speeder any time!

Jerrica Leong 


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