We recently got the opportunity to enjoy a pleasant day trip behind the wheel of the all-new Toyota Vios 1.5G courtesy of Toyota Malaysia where we took a leisurely drive up to Awana Genting before winding our way back down again to Kuala Lumpur with the chance to get in a masterclass by master photographer Kim Mun.
On a bright and sunny morning, I dropped by UMW Toyota in Shah Alam and went through a primer on the all-new Toyota Vios 1.5G’s more salient features along with a comprehensive safety briefing before being tossed the keys to my ride for the day. After taking it for a spin both uphill and downhill as well as through Kuala Lumpur’s urban sprawl replete with the usual rush hour traffic, here’s what we think of their B-segment sedan…
What is the Toyota Vios 1.5G
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Launched earlier in March this year, the fourth generation Toyota Vios has almost been a decade in the making as its classic third gen predecessor remained the dominant classic in Toyota’s line-up for close to nine years which is understandable as improving on one of the most popular cars in its category isn’t something to be done hastily.
Building on their winning formula, the all-new 2023 Toyota Vios has had an aesthetic facelift along with a more spacious cabin that is 5mm longer and 5mm taller, 10mm wider with a slightly longer wheelbase by 70mm to fit in the larger cabin while being 110 kg lighter in the bargain. For our road trip, UMT Toyota graciously provided the 1.5G spec variant with a more affordable 1.5E version also available in Malaysia.
2023 Toyota Vios 1.5G Design and Specs
After getting the key, I did a walkaround on my ride for the day. The Toyota Vios 1.5G I had was done up in Attitude Black though the signature colour for the range is a metallic crimson they’ve dubbed as Spicy Scarlet SE with options for Silver Metallic, Nebula Blue Metallic and Platinum White Pearl.
Up front, it hosts aerodynamic air vents that reduce drag as well as a set of sleek and aggressive looking LED headlamps that have auto high beam and follow me home modes. The rear has a silhouette akin to a hatchback with rear diffusers and air canards to better direct airflow as well as LED tail lights with sequential tail signals. You also get a boot capable of cramming in up to 426L worth of gear in the back.
Running under the hood of the all-new 2023 Toyota Vios 1.5G is a proven 1.5-litre Toyota DOHC Dual VVT-i engine paired with a new 7-speed D-CVT gearbox that has Sequential Shiftmatic with the whole affair capable of kicking out 106hp and up to 138 Nm torque.
The addition of a lighter chassis also makes it more nimble on the road though they haven’t skimped on safety with the use of increased welding spots across the chassis, the implementation of ultra high tensile materials and a continuous frame design to ensure more robust rigidity and increased weight savings.
Additional safety features have also been implemented with the all-new Toyota Vios 1.5G include two front and four rear parking alert sensors, six SRS airbags, an auto rain sensor that fires up the windshield wipers when rain is detected and a pedal misoperation control (PMC) that applies the brakes in case you accidentally press the acceleration from a stationary position and a solid object is in front.
When seated in the cabin, the eye is immediately drawn to the 9-inch infotainment system taking pride of place in the centre console with plush stitched leather seats and upholstery on both the dashboard and door panels lending it a premium touch.
The leather-wrapped steering wheel hosts paddle shifters and a 7-inch multi information display up front to see critical information at a glance. Also of note is that the car offers keyless entry which makes for a more seamless driving experience.
Passengers sitting in the rear enjoy the luxury of a pair of rear USB charging ports for phones and other gear along with rearward facing air cond vents.
Other creature comforts include a slide-out cup holder on both the front passenger and driver seat sides, a side-loading Qi wireless charging bay for phones and a dedicated sunglass holder up top. You also get 64-colour ambient lighting in the cabin that’s selectable at the touch of a button to set the mood.
Of particular note is that Toyota has taken special emphasis on ensuring a quieter ride with foam-filled cavities to mitigate external vibrations and noise as well as acoustic glass on the windshield and front windows.
2023 Toyota Vios 1.5 G – How is the driving experience?
Toyota put extensive effort in ensuring that the cabin and driving experience were as smooth and as pleasant as possible. The plush leather seats and armrests certainly helped and the front had plenty of head and leg room for myself and my colleague.
After getting a feel for its handling, the Vios 1.5G proved to be a lovely driving experience. Handling was smooth and responsive and it traversed the urban sprawl with confidence and proved nimble on cornering too.
When let loose on the open roads, it was able to smoothly head up to 140 km/h while maintaining a smooth drive. In the later leg of the trip when winding my way up to Awana Genting, the car handled well both uphill and downhill with excellent traction too on the winding roads. Novice and seasoned drivers alike will also appreciate the all-around parking sensors and alerts that add an extra level of safety and make parking a wee bit easier too.
Of note with the Toyota Vios 1.5G is its cabin acoustic insulation with the combination of acoustic glass on the windscreen and front windows along with the use of foam filler in the chassis dampening a good chunk of wind and road noise above peers in its segment though engine noises are somewhat apparent if you put the pedal to the metal and drive at 120 km/h and up. All in, the Toyota Vios 1.5G is a smooth, responsive ride.
One quibble I had was its side-loading Qi-wireless charger as the design doesn’t allow for phones with thick casings like the one on my HONOR Magic5 Pro to properly fit in so I had to remove the casing first. I only had to do this once on the trip to top up the charge on my phone but having to do so on a regular basis in the long term would be a chore.
In Malaysia, the all-new Toyota Vios 1.5G costs from RM95,500 and up while the more affordable Toyota Vios 1.5E costs from RM89,600 and up. For more details, please check out their official page at https://www.toyota.com.my/