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Who hasn’t driven or at least ridden in a Vios?

The country’s best-selling vehicle practically since its introduction in the country back in 2005 has been a ubiquitous sight on our roads, as fleet vehicles, as public utility/taxi vehicles, and of course as privately-owned passenger cars. The Vios has also has one of the biggest, if not the biggest car club in terms of membership in the country. All generations of the Vios sold in the country were proudly made in Toyota Motors Philippines’ factory in Santa Rosa, Laguna and alongside the Innova MPV, are the two remaining cars that are locally manufactured.
 Today, the third generation Vios, codenamed XP150 internally, has been around since 2013, and counting two facelifts, the most recent being in July 25, 2020, just under a year ago. Recently, Toyota also introduced the Toyota Vios Gazoo Racing S variant, which adds some aggressive cosmetic upgrades, and together with the rest of the model line-up, now get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, with audio controls on the steering wheel across all models. It might seem minor, but trust me, sitting and driving inside a car for hours on end, we all need as much in-car entertainment and connectivity as possible.

Power comes from Toyota’s latest generation of four cylinder engines in 1300cc and 1500cc, designated as 1NR-FE and 2NR-FE respectively, outputting 98hp / 123 NM of torque for the 1.3 later engine and 106hp / 140 NM of torque for the 1.5 liter engine. Power drives the front wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) which can simulate the perfect gear given the road conditions with manual-override control via paddle shifters behind the steering wheel or through a parallel slot on the gear-lever’s shift gate.

 Getting inside, Toyota has paid close attention to the seating position. The previous first and second generation 16-inch wheels shod with Bridgestone Turanza ER33 all-season tires sized 195/50R16, it rides well, handles all the bumps and ruts confidently and though the Vios isn’t the sportiest car in Toyota’s fleet, handles corners just as capably. Just remember roll is present, but the noticeable chassis roll doesn’t mean the Vios is out of control. The Vios, probably from years of racing in its own one-make racing series has learned a thing or two about athleticism. This latest one handles weight transfer very progressively, allowing you to confidently push and probe its limits, where its predecessors would have simply gone off the road. All in all, it’s a great effort from Toyota, with generous equipment levels, good looks and surprisingly good driving dynamics, all in a stylish and roomy package. It’s pretty safe too: seven airbags are available on a variety of models, as well as ABS-EBD brakes, plus traction / stability control. A decade ago, these safety features would have been in the domain of cars costing three to four times more than the Vios.

 So how much does it cost? Well, the 1.5 G A/T variant I had sells for P970,000 before any special deals and discounts, while the recently unveiled and yummy looking Vinos GR-S variant  range-topper is at P1,020,000. Add another P15,000 for the pearl white option. But, the most commonly sold Vios for private passenger car owners is the XE 1.3 CVT, which retails for P747,000 before any discounts. I asked help from friends in the industry for some basic computations and Toyota San Pablo once again provided me with some basic figures: with a 10% downpayment of P74,700 all-in promo, you will have a monthly amortization of P16,908 for five years/60 months. Prudential Guarantee and Assurance Inc quoted me P28,500 per annum for a full and comprehensive insurance package which includes Acts of God/Force Majeure while your regular preventive maintenance will vary, but will average out to roughly P10,880 per year if you do 10,000 kilometers a year, or P22,757 a year if you cover 20,000 kilometers of driving a year.
 Total actual running cost for a 1.3 Vios XE per month? Anywhere from a low of P20,189.67 to a high of P21,179.42, excluding fuel expenses as the price of fuel is very volatile at the moment and is hard to average out so I left it out for my simple computation. Each year, the monthly running cost gets lower as your insurance gets cheaper since it is based on the car’s assessed or fair market value after applying standardized accounting depreciation on the car’s principal amount. If you’re in a dual-income household with roughly P70,000 per month net without any other major monthly expenses like rent or home amortization, a Vios is a feasible car to own, since it is also very reliable and fairly economical to drive, at between 8 km/liter in the city to 14 km/liter on the highway.
So, if you’ve been on the fence about getting your own personal car to make your life easier, more convenient and safer, not to mention allowing you to do more at your own time, the Toyota Vios is a perfect starter car that has great style, versatility, safety and of course driving enjoyment.

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