Toyota Vios 2021 Review
It’s almost a car that needs no introduction – but is completely deserving of one. We’re talking about the Toyota Vios – the entry-level sedan offered to the Malaysian market. The recipe is fairly simple and straightforward: a front-engine, front-wheel drive sedan with a torsion beam rear for simplicity and packaging, and a 1.5-litre heart.
The Toyota Vios has followed this formula since its introduction to the world back in 2002 – and it’s also a car that was developed largely for our market and our neighbours. Around this point in time, the Toyota Corolla had become too large and complex to be an entry-level model, and so the Vios was created to stand it for it as the budget-friendly option.
Exactly which generation of Vios this is is up for dispute – some regard it as a fourth-generation model (based on the Yaris Ativ in Thailand) while others view it as mechanically similar to the third-generation model that it replaced. Over time the range of variants has grown and shrunk – now the number stands at three, with a sportier fourth variant in the form of the Vios GR-S.
Toyota Vios 2021 Specifications
When it comes to specifications, Toyota makes it easy to understand what the Vios offers. In the past, Toyota had offered a manual variant but over time the low demand has meant that only one engine and transmission is offered across the range – in this case, it’s a 1.5-litre petrol engine paired with a CVT-type automatic transmission that seven virtual ratios.
The engine may have been maintained at the same displacement over the ages, but technological improvements have seen drastic changes in terms of driveability and efficiency. The most current engine in the Vios goes by the code 2NR-FE, and it packs Dual VVT-i for the broadest possible powerband. Outputs stand at 107 PS and 140 Nm of torque – not firebreathing, but definitely respectable.
With time, the Vios has become a heavier machine as more features, functionality, and refinement are added to the package. The kerb weight of the Vios lies within 1,110 kg and 1,145 kg depending on the specification you choose. The boot space is an ample 506 litres – enough for luggage for a family of four.
Toyota Vios 2021 Exterior
Through the various generations and facelifts, the Toyota Vios has undergone some pretty drastic styling changes. The first generation was a pretty simple three-box sedan, although the second generation was decidedly extremely curvaceous, earning the Dugong nickname for the Vios. As a bit of a knee-jerk reaction, the third generation Vios became more angular – and here we are with the most current iteration, smoothening out some of those sharper edges.
A lot of the design language of the Vios is tied to the overall shape and sizing of the platform, with elements of Toyota’s other models around the world incorporated. The most aggressive looking version is the aforementioned Vios GR-S that is largely inspired by the GR Yaris. The entry level 1.5J model gets 15-inch wheels, while the 1.5E and 1.5G get 16-inch wheels. The GR-S gets whopping 17-inch wheels to compliment that extremely sporty image.
Toyota Vios 2021 Interior
This is an area of the Toyota Vios that is aggressively middle-ground. There is no particular area that the Vios fails in, nor are there parts that truly stand out. The material choices for surfaces such as the centre console and dashboard are functional, though not soft touch. The seats are comfortable, though only the Vios GR-S seats that are truly a beauty to behold. Legroom is neither cramped, nor is it ample.
What Toyota has done to try and make the Vios more appealing is the integration of a larger entertainment head unit – which usually contributes to much of the appeal of a car in this price bracket. The unit is a 7-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto readiness, as well as your usual USB, Aux, and Bluetooth options – and it is only available at the 1.5E grade or higher.
Toyota Vios 2021 Safety Features
Of all the topics to touch on with the Toyota Vios, safety has perhaps been one of the largest points of contention. Historically, the Vios was the best selling car in its segment – until the launch of the third generation model when consumers lamented the lack of electronic stability control – something that was offered by rivals at the time.
In reaction to this, Toyota eventually started to offer these safety systems locally, and made sure every successive model of the Vios came with as much safety functionality as they could feasibly fit. They call it SAFE-T (a catchy name), and it includes seven airbags, vehicle stability and traction control, and hill-start assist across the range.
Opt for the 1.5E model or higher, and you get the Pre-collision System, Lane Departure Alert, the 3D Panoramic View Monitor, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and a Front Digital Video Recorder. If that doesn’t surprise you, imagine that just a decade ago these features were only found on mid-to-high end continental cars.
Toyota Vios 2021 Strengths and Weaknesses
The strengths of a Toyota Vios are easy to list, with reliability beyond measure sitting at the top of the list. Resale value for these models is also fairly strong, and the safety package as it stands remains impressive within its class. The ride and handling of the Vios is above average among its rivals, though the Vios GR-S in particular is quite an entertaining car to drive.
Unfortunately, the weaknesses of the Vios are not things that can easily be remedied – at least not within the next generation or so. As it stands, the Vios still has some of the cheapest material choices in the pool, and storage space is decidedly lacking. These are elements that are tied to the regional development of the Vios, and overall there cannot be any major re-designs in terms of packaging until the next generation rolls around.
Getting yourself behind the wheel of a Toyota Vios will run you between RM 95,284 and RM 74,623 – prices that haven’t really changed a great deal over the last few generations. The entry level Vios 1.5J takes that RM 74,623 price tag and still offers you a fair amount of functionality. Opting for the Vios 1.5E at RM 82,593 is where you get the brunt of the safety features and the better head unit, which is what you really want in a Vios.
Going one step up is the 1.5G that has now become a bit of a middle ground at RM 87,584, adding 2 more speakers, paddle shifters, an electrochromic mirror, and some other aesthetic pieces. At the top of the range is the Vios GR-S, and the extra cost comes in the form of the larger wheels, revised dampers, the uprated interior, and of course the more aggressive front and rear bumpers.
Toyota Vios 2021 Features
The Toyota Vios is a bit of an oddity when it comes to features – especially in the connectivity department. There is a wireless charger included on the higher end models, as well as a vehicle telematics system. More in the realm of typical consumer demands are things like automatic air conditioning, keyless entry and start, a digital instrument cluster, and LED headlamps and tail lamps.
Toyota Vios 2021 Fuel Consumption
There is no manufacturer quoted fuel consumption for the Vios, but if we were to go by the previous generation you would get a real world consumption of around 16 kilometres per litre. We even managed to get it up to 22 kilometres per litre with a bit of fiddling, and some have gone as far as 24.6 kilometres per litre – all done at between 40 km/h and 60 km/h.
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- Body Type: Sedan
- Transmission: Automatic
- Engine Capacity: 1496 cc
- Fuel Type: petrol
- Seat Capacity: 5
- Price: RM 74,623 - RM 87,584
17 Sep 2020
Review: All-New Toyota Vios 1.5G – Upping The Game
For starters, the E and G variants of the all-new Vios include a front digital video recorder. Buyers of the Vios can also opt to include a rear camera for an additional RM 350. Small sum to pay for better peace of mind, really. Video quality of the built-in DVR is decent at best – details are far from pixel perfect, but sufficient enough when evidence is needed. Night visibility is just about average.View full review
27 Feb 2018
2016 Toyota Vios - Par for the Course
Just like the facelift for the previous generation Corolla Altis, this new Vios receives an entirely new powertrain. The newer generation engine has a higher compression ratio and variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust, while the severely outdated 4-speed automatic transmission has been replaced by a 7-“speed” CVT. Self-shifting aficionados can still purchase the basic Vios with a 5-speed manual transmission.View full review
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