First drive: We take new Toyota Vios to Desaru and back

By RIZAL JOHAN | 2 February 2019


The new Toyota Vios, one of the country’s most popular sedans since its introduction over 15 years ago, is now packed with convenience and safety features that were never before available much less at the price points from RM77,200 to RM87,300.

Features that come standard across the board are keyless entry, push-button start, Eco and Sport modes, automatic air-conditioning, illuminated door sill scuff plates, front footwell illumination, two rear USB ports, rear parking sensors, seven airbags, ABS (anti-lock braking system) with EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution), brake assist, vehicle stability control, traction control, hill-start assist control and rear ISOFIX child seat anchors.

It should also be noted that the heavily-revised third generation Vios is the first model to roll out of UMW Toyota Motor’s new manufacturing facility at Kawasan Perindustrian Bukit Raja, Klang, Selangor.

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Despite being a popular car among Malaysians, the one notable gripe about the Vios over the years has been its conventional exterior design.

Well, that’s not the case anymore.

The new Vios has a more exciting front fascia with its narrow and long headlights, split grille, sharp edges and a host of design elements such as the vents, fog lamp housing and the distinctly placed Toyota badge give it that predatory look which is more commonly associated with the Toyota Harrier sports utility vehicle.

This is evident also with the rear tail light that has a “hawk eye” housing.

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The hood is creased for a muscular effect and another interesting crease on the sides which starts from just behind the B-pillar and slants down to the front wheel arch which makes one think of a wing and suits its overall design language.

The new Vios is offered in three variants - J, E and G - and all are powered by the 2NR-FE 1.5 litre Dual VVT-i four-cylinder engine which produces 107PS at 6,000rpm and 140Nm of torque at 4,200rpm mated to the continuously variable transmission (CVT) with 7-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic mode.

Just a week before the official launch of the Vios, members of the media were invited to take part in a drive from Shah Alam to Desaru, Johor on the top-specced G variant which comes with added bells and whistles such as paddle shifters, projector headlights, 16-inch wheels, leather seats and front armrest, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, Optitron instrument cluster with a 4.2-inch multi-information display (MID), front parking sensors, 360-degree camera system, front digital video recorder, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

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As soon as I got behind the wheel, one is immediately greeted by the new dashboard layout with its hooded and curved surfaces housing the instrument cluster, the 6.8inch touch screen infotainment unit and automatic climate control buttons.

The G-variant features a leather steering wheel and gearknob so there is a feeling of quality in looks and feel.
As we hit the road, I noticed how quiet the engine was and the smooth acceleration it provided.

The CVT gearbox still drones when you step on the accelerator but the exhaust note seemed refined without it being too grindy and intrusive.

The car handles very well on highways and city roads but it’s the old roads where its limits can be tested. The Vios proved to be a bit floaty on the bends and turns but we were also driving spiritedly and honestly, it was expected.

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However, there was still enough grip from the car and it did not hamper one’s confidence if we took a corner a bit too fast.

The level of comfort, however, took us by surprise.

Driving all the way south to Desaru is a long journey and throughout the drive, the well-insulated cabin cancelled the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels to a very low point.

Coupled with comfortable seats and effective air-conditioning as well as adequate rear legroom and headroom, one didn’t feel as lethargic sitting for as long as we did. Of course we did stop to stretch our legs and have lunch.

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Another cool thing was the blind spot monitor which lights up the side mirrors whenever there are vehicles approaching the sides.

We also had a demonstration of the 360-degree camera system which is really useful when you’re not sure of your surroundings and can turn it on to have a better gauge of the environment.

The new Vios easily breaks new ground in terms of value and features for B-Segment cars.

It goes to show that nowadays, an affordable car does not have to sacrifice on safety, comfort and even looks to provide a well-rounded package for the masses.

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SPECIFICATIONS

Toyota Vios

Engine: 1,496cc, 2NR-FE,
4-cylinder, in-line, 16-valve, DOHC with Dual VVT-i
Maximum power: 107PS at 6,000rpm
Maximum torque: 140Nm at 4,200rpm
Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with 7-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic mode
Standard features: Keyless entry, push-button start,
Eco and Sport modes, LED daytime running lights (DRL), automatic air-conditioning, illuminated door sill scuff plates, front footwell illumination, two rear USB ports, rear parking sensors, seven airbags, ABS (anti-lock braking system) with EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution), brake assist, vehicle stability control, traction control, hill-start assist control and rear ISOFIX child seat anchors

J variant features: Multi-Reflector halogen headlamps, bulb rear combination lamps, fabric seats, 15inch wheels, CD Player with Tuner, MP3, AUX-Jack, USB & Bluetooth, rear parking sensor
Price: RM77,200 (on-the-road without insurance)

E variant features:
J variant features plus LED tail lights, fog lights, auto-fold door mirrors with indicators, 60:40 split-folding rear seats, multifunction steering wheel, DVD Player with 6.8-inch touchscreen, USB Mirroring, Tuner, HDMI, MP3, Voice Dial, AUX-Jack, Bluetooth and Reverse Camera with a 360-degree camera system, Blind Spot Monitor (BSM)
with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), acoustic windshield, vibration control front side
glass and front digital video recorder
Price: RM81,200 (on-the-road without insurance)

G variant features:
E variant features plus projector halogen headlights, 16-inch wheels, leather seats, steering wheel, gearknob and armrest, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, paddle shifters, Optitron instrument cluster with a 4.2-inch MID display, six speakers and front parking sensors
Price: RM87,300 (on-the-road without insurance)



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