Joie de vivre is the famous French term, which, according to Merriam-Webster, denotes “a feeling of happiness or excitement about life”—an exultation of spirit, if you will.  

Filipinos are no strangers to this celebration of life, making our mark worldwide for their hospitality, laughter, and an irrepressible sense of fun and adventure. And being a highly motorized and mobile nation, we take this sense of fun and joy on the road with us.    

Of course, nothing symbolizes this adventurous mobility better than our cars, which Filipinos have been buying at unprecedented numbers over the last several years. And the overwhelming pick for the vast majority of Filipinos is Toyota.

It may have taken Toyota Motor Philippines just over a quarter century to break the one million-unit sales mark since they began operations 30 years ago, but the Triple Crown bestselling brand in the country needed only an additional three years to add half a million more.  

Needless to say, at the center of this milestone achievement is the Vios, which has become the Filipinos’ favorite car over the last 15 years. More than 270,000 Vioses have made their way to Filipino garages since the first-generation Vios rolled off Toyota showrooms in 2003.  

And now, Toyota has unveiled the all-new, fourth-generation Vios. From a previously unassuming subcompact sedan nameplate, the latest Vios has evolved into an automobile of choice, not simply because of its affordability and renowned reliability, ease of use, and fuel efficiency, but because it has firmly established itself as a versatile, stylish, and fun-to-drive sedan.       

It all starts with dynamic design. While the first two generations wore relatively unassuming sheetmetal, the third and now the fourth-generation iterations sport sleek, head-turning styling.    

One of out every five Vios buyers pointed to exterior styling as their primary reason for purchase. Which is why Toyota designers wasted no effort in making the latest Vios the sportiest and sharpest-looking small sedan to ever come out of the Toyota assembly line.   

It starts with a compelling visage. Slim-line headlamps bracket the iconic “Toyota ellipses” logo, which points to an aggressively rendered front bumper with those black gaping air intakes. It’s a front end that’s about as visually sporty as any small sedan can get—and one that looks absolutely hungry for the road. 

The side profile is equally athletic, with a fastback roofline that sweeps down to the rear windshield in one flowing line. The tapered greenhouse has a lower beltline that rises as it approaches the rear quarter window, adding a dynamic feel. Sharply creased character lines on the doors and rear fenders add surface tension the way cuts on a bicep would on a tight shirt.   

A major change from the three previous generations are the slim-line horizontally oriented taillights, which depart from the more vertical lamps of its predecessors and mirror the slim headlamps at the front.    

But it’s not just what you can see that Toyota has changed. Toyota’s attention to detail extends not just to the numerous aerodynamic touches on the outer body, but also to areas we don’t see. The new Vios features an engine undercover, which reduces wind buffeting of the underchassis at high speed, resulting in a quieter and more stable ride. 

And while we’re on the subject of the underchassis, the new Vios adds new welding points to enhance structural rigidity for improved ride, handling, and crash safety. Retuned coil springs, meanwhile, contribute to a more comfortable ride. Extensive work, including 40 percent more sound insulation in the dash panel, has also been done to make the new Vios substantially quieter compared to the previous model. 

The interior of the new Vios has also been significantly improved. Not only does it evoke the stylish exterior, it’s also made with higher-grade materials and boast better fit and finish. The cabin exudes an upscale and high-tech ambience with its all-black scheme, metallic accents, and high-gloss piano black trim. There is impressive space for front and rear passengers, with the rear seats for better comfort.  

And with families and road trip buddies desiring more comfort and convenience, the new car comes with a longer list of standard features, some of which (like the push-button start/stop button and automatic climate control) make their debut on the Vios for the very first time. 

Of course any driver will tell you that the best seat in the house is behind the wheel. And with the Vios, you don’t need to be a race driver (although Vios Cup racers swear by the exhilarating performance of their stock-engined race cars) to appreciate the spirited acceleration and inspired handling of the car.  

The latest Vios carries over the 1.3- and 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engines of its predecessor. Equipped with Dual VVT-i, they make 98hp and 106hp, while torque is at 123Nm and 140Nm, respectively. Transmission options also remain the same: a 5-speed manual or a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), although it’s worth noting that the latter benefits from a tweaked software that promises improved response. The 1.5-liter models also add more driver involvement thanks to paddle shifters and three driving modes to choose from: Normal, Eco, and Sport. 

But Toyota is known for safety as much as reliability. In this aspect, the Vios now takes the lead in its class. For the first time ever, the Vios boasts safety features you’d only see in luxury cars just a few years ago: seven airbags, ABS with EBD, and vehicle stability control—all standard in every Vios variant! 

With the new Vios bristling with industry-leading specs and accessories, it prides itself with a 5-star ASEAN New Car Assessment Program rating with its full suite of advanced safety features.  

This remarkable subcompact has almost everything the road warrior is looking for. And with a price point that starts at a very affordable P659,000 for the 1.3 Base M/T variant (topping out at a value-packed P1,095,000 for the 1.5 G Prime CVT model), the Vios has got all bases covered. It’s got that unbeatable combination of being fun to drive, stylish, spacious, dependable, versatile, economical, and value-packed. No wonder it’s been the favorite car of Filipinos for over a decade. 

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