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The Toyota Vios, the country’s top-selling compact sedan for over a decade now, has gathered thousands upon thousands of loyal followers, so much so that online, there has been a plethora of owners’ clubs and groups dedicated to the model and its impact on its owners’ lives.

Naturally, the July 25 digital launch of Toyota Motor Philippines’ newest iteration of the Vios got these groups abuzz. Albeit the new Vios just featured a refreshed look— which TMP describes as having a low and wide stance of the fascia “while maintaining its affordable price and enhancing the value chain package”, die-hard Vios owners couldn’t help but fantasize about what their dream setup would be.

Inquirer Motoring picked the brains of some of the more outspoken members of the Toyota New Vios Philippines (TNVP) Facebook group, which has 74,753 registered members at the latest count.

TNVP describes itself as “an organization (of) dedicated and passionate owners of the Toyota Vios in the Philippines.”

Member Oliver Villaflor, an owner of a Gen 4 Vios model 1.3 manual transmission E variant (acquired December 2018), said he bought a Vios simply because it was “made by Toyota.”

He said, “Toyota has maintained its brand by providing quality, reliable, and durable vehicles. Toyota is also known for providing good aftersales support with shops nationwide and with trained technicians. Parts are readily available, since Vios is manufactured here in the Philippines.”

Fellow member Kelvin Tolentino Pangilinan, who owns a Vios E 3rd Gen (MT), said that he would still buy a Vios despite the entry of new competitors “because of parts availability, cheaper parts since there’s an available supply, and quick and hassle-free repairs.”

Lev Timothy Lopez, who owns a 2020 Vios XLE automatic transmission, wishes that the new Vios would have a better head unit, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while Pangilinan wishes that the audio system would be compatible with Android/IOS and with bluetooth for hands-free driving.

Jan David Ayap (alias “Jan Da Mander”), who owns a 2017 1.3E manual transmission, said that he would still buy the Vios “because of reliability, ease of maintenance, and abundance of spare parts”.

New engine

“We want a new engine like the new Dynamic Force engine. Toyota must also correct some issues regarding the idle pulley, water pump, and power steering rack. The simplicity of the dash must be maintained, as this car segment is for the common Filipino. We don’t need some fancy tech like auto climate control, auto folding side mirrors, lane guidance, blind spot warning, electronic hand brake, and auto wipers. Those technologies, when put in a car, will skyrocket the price. But put some rear cams (writer’s note: According to TMP, the reverse camera is already available for the G variant). We will be also happy to have a higher-end variant with manual tranny, because MT is cheaper, has less weight, fun to drive, and kind of anti-theft nowadays (writer’s note: TMP said that the G MT variant is available in the lineup). Vios is synonymous to practicality,” said Ayap.

Saudi-based Marco Abiera, who owns a 2014 Vios AT base model, said that he wishes for a more durable steering rack bushing. “I just observe that the steering rack bushing always needs replacing,” he stressed.

Michael Plantilla, a 3rd Gen Vios E variant owner, said that he would still buy a Vios. His wish, though, would be a new engine.

Moises Brion Jr, who owns a 2005 Vios J manual, wishes that the new Vios would offer a touchscreen head unit with GPS; reverse cam; power window; power side mirror; power seat; with aircon on the second row; cup holder; with fog lights; rear wiper.

Brion’s wish may have already been granted. The 2020 Vios—with a refreshed exterior look and specs—already has touchscreen head unit (for the G, E, XLE, and XE models); Reverse camera (for the G); Power window; Power side mirror (for the XLE and E, G has power retract); Cup holders; Fog lights (for the G, E, and XLE variants). In addition, the Vios already uses Electric Power Steering (EPS).

Dave Corpuz observes: “One of the reasons why Vios is a bestseller is that it’s fuel efficient compared to other brands. The 1.3 is enough for city driving. That’s why a lot of taxis are Vios.”

A soon-to-be Vios XLE owner by the alias name of PaulsUpwork said that he paid another P27,000 because the sales agent says the new Vios supposedly has “a new look, and that there is no available older model.”

“I’m expecting an infotainment system or added sensors,” says Pauls. Well, the 2020 Vios XLE will meet a couple of those expectations, with the variant’s new features mentioned above.

Ace Ables, who drives a company-issued Gen 3 Vios, quipped: “(Can there be) less plastic in the interior, please?”

TMP is listening

Such discussions aren’t falling on deaf ears, however. Nico Bravante, TMP vice president for Product Planning, said TMP does listen to feedback during FGI (focus group interviews) and from buyers. The answers from customer surveys also determine the direction of Toyota’s vehicles. He added that, in fact, many improvements and upgrades were requested by customers.

TMP’s advice for the Vios’ “well-wishers” are, take up your observations with your friendly neighborhood Toyota dealer. Who knows, the next Vios may, indeed, be the sedan of all your needs and wants.

IN PHOTO: Toyota Motor Philippines executives Elijah Marcial and Elvin Luciano during yesterday’s digital launch of the new Toyota Vios