Vios may be seen as a reliable sedan but its new sporty styling signals that it’s ready for bigger roles in the future
Art by Kristine Paz
Over the past months, there have been some signs of recovery in the automotive industry when the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. reported another month-on-month sales growth for October 2020, with 25,203 units sold or two percent higher than September 2020—the highest number recorded since the pandemic started.
And with it comes the hope that eventually, everyone can return to the driver’s seat, literally and figuratively. But for anyone on the lookout for a vehicle that rebounds from the pandemic and marches into the future with sporty optimism, you might want to look now at the upgraded Toyota Vios.
The new model isn’t exactly futurist at first look but its attitude towards what lies ahead is precisely what makes it future-proof. Let’s count the reasons why.
1. First impressions matter
Getting a good start is crucial in sports and to a certain extent, it’s a mentality that applies to cars as well. A fast start doesn’t always guarantee victory but it sure sets you up for success. In triathlon, this means a good swim start; in tennis, securing the first set increases your chances of winning; and in the automotive world, a shiny new exterior makes sense in giving a good first impression. In the case of Toyota Vios’ new external looks—wrapped in nine hues with compelling labels like thermalyte and super red, three-tier LED headlamps, and chrome-plated door handles for its 1.5 G model—it’s as close as you can get to getting off to a good start.
This styling evokes the message that whoever is driving the leveled up Vios isn’t someone who should be taken lightly. It isn’t to say that intimidation is its moneymaker, only that its presence promises performance—thanks in part to the glossy black front grille and alloy or steel wheels that were engineered and designed to help anyone get ahead in the impact department.
2. There is merit in keeping it sporty
Even the definition of “sporty” can grow up (and glow up) in the face of a pandemic. When we think of sports cars, the initial thought is that they’re less about functionality and practicality and more about entertainment and fun. But the 2020 Vios looks to buck the trend by keeping the four-cylinder-engine machine reliable enough for no-nonsense use (with its push-start system, spacious legroom, back camera and vehicle stability control) while upping the ante on its exterior game.
Consider the top-model 1.5 G’s craftsmanship. On the front, you can see the seamless integration of the three-tier LED headlamps, guided daytime running lights and the sleek black front grille while the logo perches comfortably on the standard palette of the body color like a badge of honor that grabs your attention. The front fog lamps have also been redesigned to allow more breathing room between the LED lights and the carbon-black grille that now fans out compared to the previous iteration.
Paired with the minimal and sculptural stylings in the rear (especially seen on the white pearl and freedom white models), what emerges is a mix of new era aspiration and a turbocharged definition of “sporty sedan.”
It’s as if Toyota is helping us reclaim our lives to rediscover the joys we sorely missed, beefing up a well-loved car that retains everything that made it so appealing to Filipino professionals in a practical, sportier package
3. It’s a potent display of Filipino practicality
If the ideal Filipino car exists, it’s probably the Vios. After all, this sedan has gained cult status in the Philippines. Proof is the fact that Vios remains the best-selling car in the country—alongside the brand itself leading the automotive manufacturing industry. That’s enough of an argument for the aspirations attached to the 2020 Vios itself. So while the sporty exterior is a full-throttle revamp for a post-pandemic future that sees Filipinos zipping up and down twisting roads to the great outdoors or revving along coasts for destination races, the sense of personal freedom, space and identity endures.
It’s as if Toyota is helping us reclaim our lives to rediscover the joys we sorely missed, beefing up a well-loved car that retains everything that made it so appealing to Filipino professionals in a practical, sportier package.
4. It’s a practical post-pandemic choice
We’ve always scrambled for efficient public transport systems and what this year has revealed is that, while we do still need them alongside thoughtful bike-share programs and bike lane networks, cars will always have a place in society. They are, as The Atlantic puts it, “freedom-mobiles” and “this ultimate form of personal protective equipment.”
And especially so for long-distance land travel. Local triathletes for example see the storied excursions to Subic or other northern Philippine outposts as an integral part of their journey towards completing 70.3 miles (or 140.6 miles if you can take the full distance) of swim, bike and run. With this in mind, flow of traffic isn’t the only consideration; their vehicles also need to be able to withstand the elements and be equipped with details that would enable them to get to their destination and haul their gear safely.
Power isn’t an issue for the 2020 Vios’ 2NR-FE engine, but when you’re heading towards terrain that could be unpredictable, you’d need LED foglamps or four-beam halogen lights to weather whatever condition that might present itself en route to the race or compatibility with bike racks to cart your speed machines without issues. And from the looks of this year’s sportier upgrade, the new Vios is more than just a paint job.