Review: Toyota Vios G, is it now too expensive?

Toyota Vios G

Tester’s notes: almost perfect, the Vios loses half a star because the infotainment monitor is orientated towards the front passenger.

Where Malaysia Price RM95,500 (OTR, excl. insurance ) On sale now Engine 4-cyl, 1496cc, petrol Power (max combined) 104bhp Torque (max combined) 138Nm Gearbox CVT Kerb weight 1035kg Top speed 180km/h  0-100km/h NA Fuel economy 19.2km/L (claimed) CO2 NA Rivals Honda City

What is it?

The Vios, is Toyota’s best-selling model in Malaysia. Our review car is the higher, G-spec variant of the fourth generation Vios. The B-segment five-seater saloon is now only available in two specs, the base E-spec and our review model, the G. However, at almost RM8000, a 10 per cent increase, on the earlier generation G-spec Vios, is it now too expensive?

What is it like?

This generation Toyota Vios is the sleekest looking Vios ever. The design, compared to its predecessors, is athletic with its coupé-style roofline, low front bumper, diffuser and 17-inch rims. The fins on the rear bumper also give the Vios a racy look.

To go with that sportier body is a suspension that’s firmer with better ride comfort and less weight-shift when cornering. The stability makes the Vios a very enjoyable drive because the handling responsiveness is sharper than in previous generations.

The dark brown and black interior looks sophisticated with leather seats, brushed aluminium dashboard inserts, and diamond-textured gloss black finish on the doors and around the gear lever. There are hard plastics but you have to rap them to realise. Rear passenger comfort has improved with the addition of two rear air vents with directional adjustments and more spacious knee room now that the wheelbase has increased by 70mm.

Getting to know the car and features is straightforward because the interfaces for the features and conveniences – physical and virtual – are uncomplicated and uncluttered. The air-con controls are dials. There’s no need to look when you adjust the cabin climate controls because you can feel the dial click. One click for every half a degree temperature or fan speed change as you turn the respective dials. There are real buttons with tangible feedback when pressed, and lights to confirm at a glance if features like rear windscreen de-mister are on or off. The climate control display is monochrome and shows the fan speed in bars, the temperature in digits and the air flow. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is wireless.

The storage in the Vios is very functional. The boot has a flat floor with storage underneath for several pairs of shoes. Besides the glove compartment and centre console box, there are trays around the gear console and six cupholders. The wireless charger is in the centre console box.

The instrument cluster is customisable but there aren’t so many options that you get lost in the menu, nor so many choices you can’t decide what to choose.

Switches for frequently changed settings are easy to find, not hidden away in a menu. Drive mode, between ECO, normal and Power, is on the steering wheel. The ambient lighting buttons to adjust colour and intensity are located on the gear console. There are 64 colours – enough to have a different one every day for two months.

Alongside the passive safety features, the Vios has Toyota Safety Sense active safety features which puts it alongside some of the safest cars on the road. The volume for the alerts may be lowered but most of the safety features can’t be permanently switched off. Skid control reactivates by default once the speed exceeds 50m/h. Pre-collision Warning defaults to “on” when the car is restarted. So there’s no chance of accidentally deactivating any of them.

After all, what’s the point of active safety features if they can be optional?

Should I get one?

If you hate driving, this is the car for you. If you love driving, this is the car for you. There’s nothing complicated about the Vios. It’s the ultimate in fuss-free motoring. It looks good, it’s well-built, it handles well, there are lots of features and it’s fuel-efficient (marginally more efficient than its predecessor). You get in, you drive.

Looking at the Vios as a whole, it is still incredibly good value at RM95,500 considering what it offers. It is almost RM8000 more than its predecessor which is not a small sum but there are significant build, technological and equipment updates which also makes the latest Vios safer and more refined. The new platform is more structurally rigid which improves collision safety. The enhanced suspension provides better ride comfort. There are also more safety features and several other less obvious convenience features like the larger touchscreen infotainment monitor and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which is stable.