Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The New Vios

The new Vios addresses squarely the question of space. We explore the matter further.

THE new Vios, the third generation in the series, looks set to be another success story for Toyota as it has resolved the most pressing problem of the previous models – that of space.

As we drove off from UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd’s Shah Alam headquarters, it was immediately apparent that the interior had more space, not only in length but also width so that the driver has more breathing space, so to speak.

To prove this, we went five up and found that the three rear adults surprisingly sat very comfortably unlike sitting in the previous Vios which was more compact. The front passenger also found that there was more space to move around.

This is due to the increased wheelbase of 1,965mm, 120mm longer than that of the previous Vios. The end result is that there is more legroom, especially for rear passengers.

The new Vios also has a bolder and more youthful appearance. This is evident in the sleek and smooth curves, the combination of convex and concave surfaces that flows freely throughout.

Toyota says that it has developed exclusive aero parts for the new Vios to enhance the sporty looks by giving it a more low-slung appearance. The kit comprises a front bumper spoiler, side skirts and a spoiler for the boot lid.

We found the engine responsive.

The 1.5-litre four-cylinder VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing – Intelligent) aluminium engine has been further improved. The changes include a redesigned air intake and exhaust system to enhance low and mid-range torque. Power output is now 109bhp at 6,000rpm with 141Nm of torque at 4,200rpm.

The four-speed automatic transmission has an uphill/downhill shift control for an optimum gear position when driving on hilly terrain.

We wondered where the overdrive on/off switch was. There was none.

The four-speed automatic has a gate-type shifter. To drop to third gear to overtake from “D” position, we only needed to shift the gear shift lever to the right, overtake, and then shift back to the left for “D” again.

The new Vios has slightly larger brake discs for the Vios 1.5S and 1.5G variants. They both have 15-inch front and rear discs (ventilated for the front, and solid discs for the rear). The entry level Vios 1.5E has 14-inch discs.

We found the steering to be light. This is because the power steering uses an electrically controlled system. At a stroke, power steering hydraulic leaks, which are expensive to repair, are history.

Further contributing to a more comfortable drive is the flat floor at the rear, made possible because of a chassis redesign. The engineers have routed the exhaust pipe in a way that eliminated the intrusive hump on the floor.

For those with a large family, the larger body also means the boot space is bigger – there is 75 litres more for a total of 475 litres in volume.

The fold-down rear seats have a 60/40 split for those long and awkward pieces of luggage.

The instrument panel is mounted in the centre of the dashboard as before, which works well ergonomically.

The new Vios has a highly rigid yet lightweight structure incorporating strategic use of high-tensile steel, which provides strong resistance against impact. This satisfies Toyota’s Global Outstanding Assessment, which is a tough in-house safety standard that meets international requirements and in some aspects exceeds them.

Safety is also addressed with standard driver and passenger front airbags (only for the driver in 1.5E models) while whiplash injury lessening concept seats support both the head and back to reduce neck injury should a rear collision occur.

Seatbelt pre-tensioners and force limiters are also available to driver and front passenger. The 1.5E variant has these only for the driver.

While the previous Vios 1.5G variant was equipped with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and EBD (Electronic BrakeForce Distribution), the new Vios goes one step better with ABS, EBD and BA (Brake Assist) on all models.

UMW Toyota says the Vios 1.5G is available for RM84,800 (on-the-road with insurance).

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