BEYOND THE OB-VIOS

Toyota launches the next generation of its best-selling sedan Vios

By: Jason K. Ang, July 10th, 2013 03:18 AM

Toyota Motor Corp. president Akio Toyoda (right), Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) vice chair Alfred Ty (left) and other TMPC officials pour champagne on the all-new Vios during a rolloff ceremony at the company’s plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Chances are, you cannot take a journey in Metro Manila without seeing a Toyota Vios. Whether it’s a family car picking up kids from school, or a souped-up TRD version zipping along the highway, or a base model doing taxi duty, the Vios is literally everywhere in the city. As Toyota’s best-selling passenger car, the humble sedan has enjoyed immense success. More than 100,000 units have been sold worldwide. It’s no surprise that Toyota Motor Philippines is about to replace a model that is still at the top of the car charts, with its all-new successor. The company’s philosophy of kaizen, or continuous improvement, demands no less.

So it is that the third-generation Vios bows with a slew of improvements over the outgoing model. Chief among these is the car’s snazzier suit. The new Vios looks decidedly sportier, with sharper lines and more attention to detail. The headlamps are eye-catching trapezoids linked by a simple chromed grille. A large black lower intake, as is custom for most of today’s designs, defines the Vios’ face. A sharp crease flows from headlamps across the doors, to the taillights. Another character line starts from the front bumper and continues upwards on the side doors. The 1.5-liter variants get projector-type headlamps. It’s a welcome departure from the old car’s anonymous blob shape, and is keeping with the company’s new family look, as seen on the new RAV4, and soon on the new Corolla.

The Vios grows significantly, stretching from 4,300 millimeters to 4,410 mm long, and 1,465 mm to 1,475 mm tall. Width is unchanged at 1700 mm. The bigger footprint reportedly translates to a larger interior space.

More upscale look

Inside, the Vios goes for a more upscale look. The upper dash is covered in black plastic, while the lower surfaces are beige, with metallic trim delineating them. Overall, the effect is to make the cabin look more spacious, while minimizing reflections on the windshield. Gauges are now located behind the steering wheel, Toyota abandoning the central instrument panel of previous generations. The audio head unit is instead mounted high and center on the instrument panel. The 1.5-liter variants get leather steering wheel and shift knob, six-speaker audio system, and a trip computer.

Vios variants and pricing are: 1.5G A/T P847,000; 1.5G M/T P812,000; 1.3E A/T P762,000; 1.3E M/T P727,000; 1.3J M/T P630,000; 1.3 Base P592,000.

Going for the wide catch

It’s apparent with the pricing that Toyota is going after a wide catch, from both the fleet market with the base model, as well as those looking for more luxury.

Vios is powered by four-cylinder DOHC 16-valve engines. The base models get the 1.3-liter displacement, which produces 85 horsepower and 122 Newton-meter. The upper variants get the 1.5-liter for more power: 107 HP and 142 Nm. The engines mate to either five-speed manual transmissions or four-speed automatics.

The 1.3-liter cars will ride with front disc and rear drum brakes, while the 1.5G will have four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and EBD. The 1.3E also gets ABS and EBD assist. 1.3E and higher variants ride on 185/60R15 tires on alloys, while the lower variants get steel wheels shod with 175/65R14 tires.

The Vios has attained its best-seller status because of perceived reliability, ease of maintenance and value for money, the defining qualities of a Toyota. Now under chair Akio Toyoda, the Japanese giant is attempting to add fun to its ownership proposition. Toyota says that the Vios incorporates the new “Waku Doki” or “Fun to Drive” philosophy. That shouldn’t be difficult, as Toyota already had a quite-fun-to-drive small car not so long ago in the first-generation Echo/Yaris. If just a little of that car’s pleasing handling translates to the Vios, we just might have some fun even in the B segment.

Speaking of more fun, the Vios will continue to be assembled in the Philippines. This will benefit Filipino skilled labor, as well as Toyota Motor Philippines’ dozens of local suppliers and their employees. Toyota says that the company’s world-renowned manufacturing has been incorporated into local assembly.

Vios will be available in these colors: white pearl, freedom white, silver metallic, gray metallic, black, red mica metallic, dark brown metallic and orange metallic.

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