Test drive: 2019 Toyota Vios

By thoriq, 24 January 2019
2019 Toyota Vios

Say what you like about its predecessors, the fact that the Toyota Vios continues to swell in numbers on our roads over the years is proof enough of its desirability, especially to the many 20- to 30-something Malaysian car buyers.

After what seemed like an eternity, Toyota has finally rolled out a ‘brand new’ version. We sampled it recently during a press drive down to Desaru, Johor, ahead of its launch where we got to size it up briefly. Having done so, Toyota looks poised to retake its crown in this segment with this pint-sized fighter.

On the surface, there’s an all-new styling approach that we reckon will divide opinions.. Taking plenty of cues from its bigger crossover cousin the C-HR, Toyota has made sharp new styling all around. Most evident is with the front fascia in the premium 1.5G variant featured, sports LED DRLs and guide lights.

2019 Toyota Vios

With this premium-spec offering, there’s plenty to admire all-round too besides the front. Notable highlights include the dynamic new 16-inch alloy wheels design, LED combination tail-lights, not forgetting the racy new aerokit that grants this B-segment fighter a very athletic (read: attractive) stance.

Climb aboard and the news get better. For starters, there’s a revised new dashboard and three-spoke steering wheel design similar to that found in its bigger Corolla Altis sibling. Like before, the dashboard’s ‘faux leather stitching’ remains, but there’s enough tasty brightworks and gloss black accents to offset this rather tacky bit.

Looks aside, Toyota has gone to town in upping the cabin’s ante in terms of kit count. In this premium 1.5G variant’s case, there are things like a new 6.8-inch touchscreen head unit with six speakers, 60:40 split-folding rear seats, as well as a neat new PVM (Panoramic View Monitor) 360-degree parking camera suite on top of leather-wrapped seats and steering leading its bill.

The impressive new kit were all meant to make life behind the wheel both plusher and more convenient for all. What remains unchanged is the Vios’s rather refined ride and handling, not forgetting the cabin’s superbly low Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH) levels – traits we loved from the outgoing version.

Unless you’re talking about the Gazoo Racing special variant that featured sports suspension, the Vios wasn’t the sharpest to drive amongst its peers. But that’s no deal-breaker considering just how refined it’s ride and handling is in this new one. Adding to that is the smooth delivery from its  revised powertrain setup.

Carried over from its face-lifted predecessor is the 1.5-litre Dual-VVTi four-cylinder petrol mill and 7-speed CVT automatic combination.

Carried over from its face-lifted predecessor is the 1.5-litre Dual-VVTi four-cylinder petrol mill and 7-speed CVT automatic combination that drive the front wheels. Unlike before though, there’s now an ‘Eco’ and ‘Sport’ drive modes added into the mix plus a set of paddle-shifters, granting greater control over the setup’s delivery.

2019 Toyota Vios

If you liked how the outgoing Vios drove, you’ll love this new one even more. On top of that, this new one is poised to grant greater peace of mind too thanks to the full swing of safety features. In the case of the premium-spec 1.5G, there’s the presence of a new Blind-Spot Monitor (BSM) on top of the PVM feature mentioned earlier to sweeten the deal.

However, unlike before when Toyota reserved all the bells and whistles for higher-spec models, all variants of this new generation Vios will benefit fully with seven airbags lining its cabin, followed by the presence of ABS+EBD+BA combination, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) on top of that.

All variants of the new Vios will have all those safety features equipped as standard, thus making it one of the safest offerings from this segment to date. Our only gripe with the whole package is in the typically muted feel in its steering and the slightly cramped cabin space compared to some of its peers.

Overall, it’s easy to see that Toyota has kept the best bits from the last Vios in this new one, and made it better through the addition of several new bits and features all around. In other words, this new Vios will give its rivals like the Honda City, Mazda2 and Nissan Almera something to sweat about…



  1,496cc 4-cylinder, FWD, 106hp, 140Nm 

  Price   From RM77,200
  Economy   NA
  Weight   1,145kg (kerb, 1.5G)