Launched in 2019, should you buy a Toyota Vios over a 2020 Honda City or Nissan Almera?

Sanjay · Sep 12, 2020 09:00 AM

2020 has been quite the rollercoaster, hasn’t it? It was a quiet first half - no thanks to Covid-19 - and now we’re getting a barrage of cars we’ve been waiting for: the Nissan Almera and Honda City, among others.

The Hyundai Kona is yet another exciting new model.

If you’re in the B-segment sedan market, you may have noticed a distinct lack of news on the Toyota Vios. Last we heard of it was during its refresh in the Philippines but it got completely eclipsed by the City and Almera after that.

LED headlights appear on the facelift - a first for the Vios.

That was until recently, when UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) launched a promotion to make the Vios easier to own. 

Toyota Vios side view

Still worth your time? Read on...

Naturally then, this begs the question: should you snap one up with the discount or discount it entirely?

What is being offered?

By now, you'd have probably seen this floating on your social media feeds:

Like it says on the tin, there's RM 5,800 worth of cash rebates and accessories up for grabs across the Vios range.

Here's what UMWT offers:

2019 Toyota Vios Promotion
Variant SST-exempted prices Entitlement (total RM 5,800)
1.5 J RM 76,101

Cash rebate: RM 4,000

Aerokit: RM 1,800

1.5 E RM 80,074

Cash rebate: RM 1,000

Accessories (incl. aerokit and vehicle tracking system): RM 4,800

1.5 G RM 86,132

Recall that until 31-December 2020, prices for the Vios are SST-exempt - so the rebates and accessories seem to get along with the cheaper prices like a house on fire.

Offers aside, how is the Vios?

Toyota Vios rear three quarter

We're happy to report that the 2019 Vios improves everything its predecessors were known for. It's a comfortable fuel-sipper that's now well-equipped with creature comforts and safety features. 

Toyota Vios interior

It's positively familiar - especially in interior and build quality - but there is a bit less space and cubby holes than its segment rivals.

Toyota Vios

The suspension is soft, supple and the car rides well. In fact it's the quietest among the outgoing City and Almera.

It's car you just get in and get going with. A fact helped along by its reliable 1.5-litre, naturally-aspirated 2NR-FE mill (107 PS/140 Nm) and CVT combination.

For all that it does well, it does have its failings. For one, its blind spot monitor (BSM) really eats into the otherwise very quiet cabin.

Toyota Vios interior collage

It also doesn't come with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

Everytime you hit the signal stalk, the hyper-jumpy BSM beeps and that gets old really quick. 

The competition: City and Almera

Supercars notwithstanding, these are the hottest cars on the Malaysian market right now. 

2020 Honda City Upcoming version Exterior 001

The City's has been the talk of town due to the 109 PS, 253 Nm i-MMD hybrid engine that's premiering in the top-drawer RS variant.

2020 Honda City Upcoming version Exterior 005

The Honda Sensing ADAS suite is also present in the new City - certainly a welcome addition. 

Meanwhile, Malaysians are keen to welcome the Almera because it could be the pivot for Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM).

There's a lot to like, such as the new 1.0-litre turbocharged engine (100 PS/152 Nm) and good safety features being standard underneath the sharp exterior.

These make the Vios look old...

On paper, maybe. But you could be forgetting something...

From top: Vios, Almera, City.

Remember that the Vios follows a tried and true formula. Same dependable powertrain as in the previous generation, predictable maintenance costs and is very good at what it does. 

Sure, you get new engine technologies in Nissan and Honda's offerings, but keep in mind that they are very, very fresh - essentially making you a beta tester of sorts.

This also means that things like reliability and maintenance costs are yet to be proven.

While the decision is ultimately yours to make, just bear in mind that old dogs can learn new tricks too.