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Among all production cars at the 2016 Bangkok Motor Show, the 2016 Toyota Vios is among the least attention grabbing, but the plain Jane sedan’s changes for 2016 run deep. Take into account the Vios’ popularity throughout the region and this refreshed car is of huge significance.

The Thai market gets a 2016 Vios with a new engine and new gearbox. The same-same body hides a new 2NR-FBE 1.5 litre Dual VVT-i engine capable of running on E85 biofuel.

The Thai Vios produces the same power as our current 1NZ-FE Vios, and is actually slightly down in torque – output is 108 hp at 6,000 rpm and 140 Nm (down 1 Nm) at 4,200 rpm. Expect other markets to receive the regular 2NR-FE Dual VVT-i without E85 capability, as seen on the Avanza facelift.

The new engine should provide better drivability and fuel economy though, especially now that the four-speed automatic gearbox has been replaced by a CVT auto with a seven-speed stepped-ratio mode. The five-speed manual has been dropped from the Thai line-up.

Safety kit has also been given an upgrade. While the airbag count stays at two, the 2016 update adds Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) on top of the standard ABS with EBD and brake assist. All the above – the new engine, CVT and VSC – are standard across the board in Thailand, from the 599,000 baht (RM68,476) J spec to the new Exclusive variant, which is priced at 719,000 baht (RM82,194)

The range topping Exclusive adds on a new bodykit with integrated LED daytime running lights, black leather seats, grey dashboard and door trim, piano black steering wheel and gearlever trim as well as a T-Connect infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth connectivity.