UMW Toyota has revitalised its ent..." />Vios or Yaris? Here’s Which Budget Toyota You Should Buy


Published on August 8th, 2019 | by Subhash Nair


Vios or Yaris? Here’s Which Budget Toyota You Should Buy

UMW Toyota has revitalised its entry-level models in 2019 with a new Vios and Yaris. Both models are rather closely related, sharing many essential mechanical aspects. You can check out our drive impressions for the Vios and Yaris too. They’re also priced rather close to one another, so if you’re in the market for a sub-RM100,000 Toyota you may have a hard time deciding between the two. Don’t worry, we’ll be comparing and contrasting the two here to help you make a decision. But first, let’s look at what you’ll be getting regardless of which model you buy.

Smooth Operators

Both of these come with Toyota’s relatively new powertrains. The 1.5-litre 2NR-FE engine with Dual VVT-i first debuted with this new Continuously Variable Transmission back in late 2016. This new setup is where the cars shine the strongest. You’ll be able to cruise at speeds of 90-110km/h below 2,000rpm if you’re light-footed in ECO mode.


This is true even when on elevated surfaces. This is why so many Japanese companies have opted to introduce CVTs over other types of gearboxes. They’re able to take advantage of engine torque at much lower revs and at much higher speeds. 

In Sport mode, it’s easy to perceive the emulated shifts, so those looking for that sort of feel have that to look forward to. But our advice is to leave both cars in their default drive modes for maximum enjoyment and fuel savings.

Comfort and NVH

Noise, Vibration and Harshness is another area where Toyota have managed to impress.

Dampening and insulation on both vehicles deliver typical C-segment levels of quietness and comfort in a much smaller and affordable package. 

Perceived Quality Improvements

The Vios has always delivered quality in the traditional sense of the word. It was always the kind of car to last years and year. But with this new Vios and its Yaris sibling, PERCEIVED quality is also looked at. Toyota have taken the effort to add digital displays, soft-touch pleather inserts, and textured surfaces in the most affordable vehicles they sell. We’ll go into more detail later, especially on the Yaris side of things.

High equipment levels

Being a Toyota product, you can be sure the engineers have taken the pains to deliver a product that’s the best in segment with regards to efficiency, power, NVH and value.

Beyond those benchmarks, the equipment levels are now extremely high. Even base ‘J’ models get Stability Control, 7 airbags, auto headlamps, automatic climate control, 15” alloy rims, as well as keyless entry and push to start.

16″ dual-tone alloy rims on the ‘G’ spec cars

This is a lot of equipment for cars around the RM70K+ range. If you’re willing to stretch your budget, you get lots of added value with every additional grade. Equipment like the panoramic view monitor, blindspot monitor, rear disc brakes and even the acoustic windscreen transform the driving experience dramatically and for not much more money too.

Should I get the Vios or the Yaris?

Yes, they’re both VERY similar cars. But here’s our take on which sort of buyer belongs in which car. 

The Yaris has a respectable image and is still versatile enough for most of us

If you’re a practical car buyer looking to expand your family in the coming years, make frequent trips to KLIA (GrabCar Plus drivers, take note), and want the best bang for buck, the Vios is the car for you.

The larger boot makes it more usable, while the established ‘Vios’ name makes it an easier car to sell once the time comes.

Most Malaysians simply can’t afford to lose that boot space

On the other hand, if you’re someone who wants to project a professional, youthful, and smart image with lower regard for maximum value, the Yaris is probably more suited to you. Here’s why.

  1. While the Yaris is a little more inexpensive than the Vios (spec for spec, there’s an RM4,000 difference), you’re permanently forgoing 300L of boot space. That shows that you’re someone who can afford to make that choice
  2. While the Yaris comes with fabric seats instead of leather, the fabric used here is of extremely high quality. Is it better to have an excellent fabric interior or a decent leather interior? There’s no wrong answer, but it should be a factor in your decision
  3. Toyota went the extra mile to install a black headliner, black pillar covers AND black plastic handles and caps on the upper half of the interior in the Yaris. They could have easily given the Yaris the same beige hardware here, but they spent the money to produce separate equipment for this. Many people say that darker interiors give the perception of smaller interior space, but Toyota have understood that they also give the perception of higher quality and sportiness. This is why so many luxury and performance cars come completely blacked out – you want the cabin to disappear from your periphery while you focus on enjoying drive. 
Fabric Interior with black hardware and headliner up top in Yaris

Closing Thoughts

In short, the Vios is undoubtedly the better value buy of the two. But there’s a clear market for a car that delivers a respectable and professional image without being too expensive and that’s where the Yaris slots in. I know if I was working a corporate job in my 30s, it would be on my shortlist.

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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