Skid Marks

All-new Toyota Vios: improving the emotional connection


Unveiling the new Vios at the launch are, from left, Toyota Motor Philipines (TMP) executive vice president for Marketing Kei Mizuguchi, Toyota Vios chief engineer Takatomo Suzuki, TMP president Satoru Suzuki, TMP senior executive vice president David Go, and TMP senior vice president for Marketing Jing Atienza.

Toyota Motors Philippines recently unveiled its most important volume seller vehicle in the Philippines, the all-new fourth generation Toyota Vios.

Since 2013, the Vios has been the best-selling vehicle in the country, dominating the subcompact segment with close to 50 percent market share since.

Sales figures grew together with the overall market, and as of this year, sales have remained strong relative to the entire market despite being a run-out model.

For the latest fourth generation Vios, which in Latin means “to move forward,” huge emphasis has been placed on improving the emotional connection between car and driver.

Speaking with Vios chief engineer Takatomo Suzuki, the Vios is considered a key model for Toyota in the Asean and other emerging markets, being an entry-level family car.

As these emerging markets become more sophisticated and demanding, huge improvements have been made towards the build quality, design, and safety features of the latest Vios.

Consumers now care more for safety, style, and of course, value for money.

Speaking of safety, the Vios features an industry-breaking seven airbags as standard across the entire model range, from the base 1.3 M/T model all the way to the top-spec 1.5 G Prime CVT model.

The new Vios also has features such as hill-start assist, vehicle stability control, and ABS brakes.

The new Vios recently garnered five stars in the Asean NCAP crash assessment program, so the car is very safe.

It has grown a bit in size, about 15 mm or just over half an inch longer than its predecessor, and a full inch wider.

Overall height and wheelbase are retained from the previous model as well.

When asked about weight, Suzuki-san smiled, knowing that the third gen had gotten porkier, and had supposedly diminished fuel efficiency.

The new Vios gets five stars in the Asean NCAP crash assessment program, ensuring its safety performance.

Suzuki-san promised that the latest model, despite being much safer, and loaded with high-end features, will still at least retain similar levels of efficiency, thanks to tweaks to the aerodynamics as well as the engines and transmissions.

Both the 1.5-liter and the top 1.3-liter models receive a 7-inch touchscreen multimedia infotainment system with mobile phone connectivity.

The 1.5-liter models have six speakers, along with paddle shifters behind the leather-clad steering wheel.

Keyless entry and push start operation was also included in the 1.5-liter models as these are the most saleable variants for private car owners.

Fleet users prefer the lower-end 1.3-liter variants.

Exterior-wise, the new Vios takes some cues from upscale sedans.

There’s a large radiator grill for the front bumper, projector headlamps, with a LED DRL strip.

The rear gets smaller, with more svelte-looking tail lamps.

Larger 16-inch alloy wheels adorn the 1.5-liter models, while 15-inch alloy wheels come as standard on the top 1.3-liter E prime model.

The J and base models make do with 14-inch steel wheels.

Many were expecting a new generation of engines and transmissions, but Suzuki felt that the current engines (1.5-liter codenamed 2NR-FE, and 1.3-liter codenamed 1NR-FE) and transmissions (a 5-speed manual and a CVT with seven simulated forward gears in manual mode), which were introduced in the final facelift of the previous third generation Vios, were still sufficient in powering the latest model.

And despite peak horsepower and torque figures being similar at 106 hp/140 Newton meters and 98 hp/123 Nm for the 1.5-liter and 1.3-liter engines, respectively, Suzuki says that tuning is vastly different, offering even more area under the power curve, better engine response and a bit more efficiency, particularly with the CVT-equipped models.

Despite the huge move to go to tall-riding SUVs, Toyota’s class-leading Vios continues to soldier on.

The Toyota Vios is also a source of pride for Toyota Motors Philippines, according to Atty. Rommel Gutierrez, TMP first vice president.

The new Vios is enrolled in the Duterte administration’s CARS program, which is meant to provide affordable quality motoring for Filipinos but made in the Philippines, in this case, at Toyota’s very own Santa Rosa facility.

Half of the car now originates from the Philippines (parts, raw materials and OEM suppliers, as well as labor), which will surely help generate more jobs and tax revenues.

With the government requiring vehicles enrolled in the CARS program to manufacture a total of 200,000 units within six years, or roughly 33,334 units a year, the Vios will surely achieve this target given previous sales records.

We’re all excited to get behind the wheel of the all-new Vios—not just to experience a better, safer and more premium ride, but also to feel good about a car proudly made in the Philippines!

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