February 06, 2014

DRIVEN: 2014 Toyota Vios J Auto !

Toyota has brought over the powertrain and 4-speed gearbox from the previous generation Toyota Vios and put them into the all-new 3rd generation Toyota Vios, despite many lambasted the decade-old technology. "If it ain't broken, don't fix it". Especially when the so-called 'obsolete' technology's performance is still on par with current ones. Will come back with more on this later. 

B-segment is no longer dominated by the Japanese players. Take Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo Sedan for instance. The American and German marques are offering more but in the similar price range of the Japanese. Who doesn't enticed by this? However, Toyota still has a few royal cards to keep itself up in the game. 

Design is subjective, but I'm sure everyone would agree that the 4th generation Vios looks miles better than the car it replaces. No doubt the sleeker design will help the car age better, and appeal more to youngster. Like usual, Vios comes in 4 variants - J, E, G and TRD Sportivo, where the TRD Sportivo has all-round bodykits and different set of alloys to bring out the racer soul in you, despite they doesn't help any in terms of performance or handling. 


A relative of mine has recently bought a 2014 Toyota Vios J with automatic transmission, and I had the opportunity to drive it on long, winding B-roads in the area of Cheroh, Pahang. Being an owner of also a B-segment Japanese sedan, I was eager to see how well the Vios fare against other competitors in the segment. 

In the inside, the Vios J doesn't need the two-tone dashboard of the Vios G to look luxurious. The top part of the dark coloured dashboard is decorated with leather stitches, or so called. No, it's not soft touch. It's made out of hard plastic moulding which mimic stitches on leather, kudos to the effort of Toyota in giving the Vios a more upmarket looking interior. Even the urethane-wrapped steering wheel felt nice to the hand. The rear quarter is more spacious now eventhough the wheelbase is still the same at 2550mm.


The engine used is a 1.5 litre VVT-i with 109PS at 6000rpm and 141Nm at 4200rpm. I remember that the previous generation of Vios has quite raspy and intrusive engine notes when on the move, and I'm glad to find that the engine is more refined this time around. You can barely hear the noise of the engine generated at 90km/h, even with the wind and road noise nicely suppressed. The Vios is one of the most refined B-segment sedans around.

One thing though, low-end torque is lacking and I had to floor quite an amount of the accelerator to get the car moving from standstill, causing acceleration felt sluggish. This is also pointed out by my cousin, who coincidentally owns a 2nd generation Vios. 

I have to agree with my cousin is that the 4 speeder changes gear seamlessly when driven sedately. It's a tried and tested gearbox, reliable and works fine. So there's no harm to use it again, right? The ride and handling of the 2014 Vios is spot on too. A nice balance between comfort and handling. It absorbed bumps on some seldom-maintained kampung roads in a pretty grown up manner, while tackles corner with controlled (but apparent) body movement. The electric powered steering felt nicely weighted too, albeit a little dull on the feedback. Anyway, Vios is a car which is more suitable to be driven in a relax manner rather than driven hard.

Safety is no longer sacrificed for the entry-level variant. Dual SRS airbags, ABS and EBD as standard across the range. However, it's a shame that Vehicle Stability Control is unavailable for the G variant or even the range-topper TRD Sportivo variant. Yet, they are priced in the vicinity of RM90k.

Yes, I'm truly surprised with what Toyota offers with the entry-level Vios. At RM77k, the Vios J Auto seems like a wise choice now, unless you want the goodies such as leather seat and push-start button in the G variant. Now, we'll wait and see what Honda is installed for us with the all-new 2014 Honda City which is launching soon in Malaysia, very soon......

+ Refinement, comfort, fuel consumption, design.
- Low-end torque

*Thanks for reading! Please like my page at SimonHar.com and subscribe SiMon HaR_!

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