Introduced in May 2014, the all new Toyota Vios replaces the ancient model that had been out since 2003. Taiwan for over a decade only sold the 1st generation Vios, where as the ASEAN markets and the Philippines sold three generations of Vios models. The 2nd generation model, which is known to Americans as the 2007-2012 Toyota Yaris sedan was skipped completely. Now that the 3rd generation is out (The 3rd gen Vios came out in Thailand – Spring 2013), it is a good chance to see how it compares to the previous Vios.
The new Vios incorporates a front end similar to the Yaris hatchback. The exterior style and dimensions are similar to the ancient 2002 model it replaced. As with the previous Vios, this 3rd generation model is very spacious for both the driver and the passengers. The new Vios retains the split 60/40 folding rear seats and has a very carnivorous 17 cubic feet trunk! As with the Yaris, the Vios has numerous storage bins to hide your stuff! However, features in this car are as basic as can be. Ford, Honda, and Nissan are all packing as much tech into their new cars with Bluetooth and USB connectivity being the most popular features. GPS/infotainment system are offered for this ride, along with an optional push button start, keyless entry with key in pocket proximity, and an available heads up display. The build quality is questionable, the dashboard includes a mixture of hard plastics, soft touch materials and stitching. The fitting on some of the trim just doesn’t look good and has small quality gaps here and there, especially on the doors. When closing the doors it does not has that solid “thud” as the Corolla.
The Vios like the Yaris hatch uses the same 1.5L 1NZ-FE engine and the same ancient 4 speed automatic. Hey, if it ain’t broke? Just keep it, right? The horsepower remains the same 106hp at 6,000 rpm and 103 lb–ft. @ 4200 rpm, which is unchanged from the Vios the new generation replaces. The starting price of the new Vios is $16,750 USD (NT$519,000), which makes it more affordable than the Toyota Yaris at NT$555,000 ($18,500 USD), Honda Fit NT$619,000 ($20,500 USD), and the Mitsubishi Colt Plus NT$581,000 ($19,350 USD). The new Vios along with the Yaris do not include much safety features when compared it is rivals, here there is only 2 airbags and ABS. Again, no Bluetooth function is available on the Vios, when compared to the Fit, Fiesta, or Colt Plus which all have those features and more.
On the Road:
How does the new Vios drive? Accelerating is sluggish and very noisy. When hitting the gas hard this car screams as if it is being tortured. It seems like the car doesn’t like to be driven too hard. On the highway the new Vios has lots and lots road and wind noise. Highway speeds the car is very does not feel very stable, passing big rigs is a hair raising experience due to the car being so lightweight. However, in town, when it comes to maneuverability around tight spaces, the Vios does handle this perfectly. The turning radius is a tight 5.1m (the 1st generation Vios turns at 4.9m), which helps makes illegal U-turns a breeze, which is common in Taiwan! Handling-wise, when making sharp turns it feels very unstable and has very noticeable body roll. Its best just to drive normally and not like a manic in a Vios because it seems the car cannot take it. It is, however, tried and true, dependable, and still capable of getting 37 MPG.
1.5 out of 5
The Vios is compact and very spacious. However, for a car to drive around in town it is fine, but that is about it. There is no reason to recommend the Vios when the competition in the subcompact market offers so much more safety and tech. The key selling point for the Vios is fuel efficiency, price, and interior space. Most buyers of this car could careless about driving dynamics or safety. All they want is an A to B car, which this is.