Finally, the new Toyota Vios was unveiled by the Japanese automaker at the Bangkok International Motor Show today amid an expectant crowd. This is the third-generation model to carry the "Vios" name, the first two being the Soluna Vios in 2002 and the Vios in 2007. But Toyota considers this the fourth-generation model of the popular subcompact sedan, taking into account the Soluna passenger car launched in 1997. The Soluna represented the first successful product of the collaboration between Toyota's Japanese and Thai engineers.
Today, the Soluna's direct descendant is the best-selling car in many markets. Toyota's manufacturing facility in Thailand will export the new Vios to 80 countries around the world, with a production target of 45,000 units for this year.
"Developed under the concept of 'Value Beyond Belief', the new Vios aims to deliver a world-class quality vehicle that will exceed customer needs and expectations," said Toyota Motor Thailand president Kyoichi Tanada in a press statement. "We are confident that the new Vios will play a significant role as a powerful stimulus to Toyota's sales this year, and become a market leader in the Thai passenger-car segment."
Actually, this new Vios is expected by many to be a market leader even outside Thailand, particularly here in the Philippines, where the current model sells anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 units a month.
The new Vios is 4,410mm long, 1,700mm wide, and 1,475mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,550mm. It is longer (+110mm) and a tad taller (+15mm) than the outgoing model. It also exactly retains the previous Vios's width and wheelbase.
While the biggest and most obvious change in the new Vios is the exterior styling, the 1.5-liter 1NZ-FE DOHC 16-valve VVT-i gasoline engine has been carried over--still rated at 107hp and 142Nm, and still mated to either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic gearbox. Turns out this isn't an "all-new" model, after all. The press release for the Thai-market Vios doesn't make mention of a smaller 1.3-liter engine option (which powers lower-end Vios variants in our market).
There will be six variants of the new Vios to choose from in the Thai market:
* 1.5 S AT
* 1.5 G AT
* 1.5 E AT
* 1.5 E MT
* 1.5 J AT
* 1.5 J MT
The top-of-the-line 1.5 S AT will sell in Thailand for 734,000 baht (P1,023,000), while the entry-level 1.5 J MT will go for 559,000 baht (P779,000). Of course, we can expect these variants to be priced cheaper when Toyota Motor Philippines introduces the new Vios to our market.
Among the main features of the new Vios are:
* Sporty front bumper with fog lights;
* Projector headlights for the S variant;
* 16-inch black alloy wheels and 195/50 tires for the S variant, 15-inch alloy wheels and 185/50 tires for the G and E variants, and 15-inch steel wheels and 185/60 tires for the J variant;
* Stitched leather and piano-black accents inside the S variant;
* Push-start ignition button for the S variant;
* Multi-information display for the S and G variants;
* ECO info light indicator;
* New CD audio system with MP3 and WMA support;
* Air-conditioning system with LCD screen for the S and G variants;
* Dual front airbags;
* Antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist;
* Four-wheel disc brakes; and
* Anti-theft immobilizer key and theft deterrent system
Toyota Thailand is introducing three new colors for the Vios: red mica metallic, quartz brown metallic, and silky beige metallic. The previously available gray metallic, super white, silver metallic and black mica are retained.
So, do you think the new Vios's cosmetic makeover is enough to continue winning the hearts of first-time car buyers? Your comments are most welcome.