Similar cars tried:
Daihatsu Sirion 1.3A and 1.5A, Honda City 1.5A
Best of 17+km/L (all expressway)
Duration of car driven:
I booked a red Vios G the day after the Cat A COE hot $2. With a loyalty discount of $500 and after deleting the ugly Sports Edition bodykit, I paid $44K for this red dugong (heard M'sian drivers calling it this and with that face I can see why).
I was really looking at a small hatch for my wife's school run but with the $2 COE I thought it'd be a lot wiser to book from a major dealer and sure enough I got this car in 1 bid.
First impressions were mainly of that oh so loud engine noise when you are exuberant with the accelerator. With time, I have learned to try and be a bit more gentle with the fast pedal so that I am not assailed by the cacophony from the engine. Luckily though the car is reasonably refined once at a cruising speed.
My M'sian friend told me that M'sian spec Vios' aren't as noisy... I wonder if this is true. He also pointed out that their cars get a proper custom head unit instead of the generic Toyota 2DIN unit that sees service in S'pore cars. The one we get lights up in green, clashing with the dashboard lights (which are Optitron orange in the Vios G). It's a constant reminder that Borneo Motors bean counters have been here.
Within a month of collecting the car, I got screeching noises coming from a loose belt. This was tightened at the first service but came back 6 weeks later but at a lesser intensity. Very disappointed. I have never had a new car that had this problem- so much for the vaunted Toyota mechanical excellence. This was fixed at the 5000km service and for now has not returned.
During the run in period, I found that with gentle driving on the expressways, I could get 17km/L. I was astounded... it was almost as good as my Civic Hybrid. As I said before, this is my wife's car used mainly for the school run and as such now it runs 80% of the time on congested city roads. FC is now 11-12km/L, rising to 14 if I do more expressway runs. Not bad I guess.
The cabin is surprisingly spacious especially in the back with more leg room than my Civic. Width of course is less. The dash looks and feels cheap but sturdy enough. The leather seats feel hard wearing as well. The boot is large and in the G version at least, the boot lid is insulated.
The driving experience is odd. I feel like I am sitting ON the car seat rather than cossetted in the seat like I would in most cars. I don't like this. However, the car itself feels perky and responsive at town speeds. However I was shocked when once at highway speeds I mashed the accelerator down to quickly pass someone expecting immediate pickup with lots of noise. The loud noise came alright, but there was no acceleration at all for a long second. It doesn't have sufficient power for assertive driving at higher speeds. I read that the M'sian spec TRD Vios feels much more driveable despite having only a simple TRD air filter as the only mod. Borneo sells this and I may just try it out some day... it's rather expensive though. The turning radius is excellent and it is good car to park and U-turn in.
So all in all, it's a mixed bag. It's quite fun to drive in the city (once you get used to the noise). It's spacious for a small car. It's quite economical- impt in these days of rising petrol costs. It's let down by noise, a cheap looking cabin and questionable build quality. I wonder if I was just plain unlucky to get one the screeches like a banshee...
Back at the end of 2008, $44K for a car like this was a genuine bargain. 3/4 of a year later, it costs way more, and has much stronger competition from the Avante, Cerato Forte, i30 and even the just launched Chevy Cruze. Those cars would have the Vios beat on refinement for sure. I doubt they would be as economical though. If I had to get a car in this price range now, I'd probably skip the dugong and go for some kimchee I think. It's ok but it just ain't great. Toyota needs to really relook their offerings in the light of the competition from other Thai and Korean makers.
Feels zippy at city speeds
Relatively good fuel economy
Loads of leg room in the rear
Poor soundproofing at the firewall allows the unrefined VVTI engine to really invade the cabin
Seating position feels like a hard armchair- it's too upright
Central instrument binnacle - just can't get used to it
Singapore Member Offline
Responded on: 27 Aug 2009 12:36PM
Wow.. thanks for sharing with all us your detailed experience with your car :) Very useful! asdzds