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It’s finally official – the 2013 Toyota Vios has been launched in Malaysia! Locally assembled at UMW Toyota Motor’s Assembly Services (ASSB) facility in Shah Alam, the third generation of the hugely popular B-segment sedan is available in five versions – J (manual), J (auto), E (auto), G (auto) and TRD Sportivo (auto).

All of them are powered by a 1.5 litre 1NZ-FE four-cylinder with VVT-i that sends 109 PS at 6,000 rpm and 141 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm to the front wheels via a four-speed auto with Super ECT, or a five-speed stick-shift in the manual J variant.

Although the engine and gearboxes aren’t new, Toyota says that the new car offers a 5% improvement in fuel consumption over the previous Vios. Contributing to the improved fuel economy are various components in the engine bay that have been redesigned to be lighter or more compact, including the engine’s air cleaner housing and related parts.

UPDATE: Read our preview drive report of the 2013 Toyota Vios here.

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Elsewhere, a ‘catamaran’-shaped roof helps streamline airflow over the top of the car, and several areas and gaps, including the underbody, have been smoothened and sealed to reduce turbulence.

Besides more aerodynamic door mirrors, small aero stabilising fins are present on the tail lamps and where the door mirrors meet the A-pillars to create air vortices that improve the vehicle’s straight-line stability. The drag coefficient has been reduced from 0.29 to 0.28.

The all-new sheet metal brings with it a large trapezoidal lower intake, a slim grille with small intake openings and chrome bars that intrude into the glass of the angular headlamps. The base of the front pillar has been pushed forward and that of the rear pillar, backward – making the side profile look longer.

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At 4,410 mm long, 1,700 mm wide (including wing mirrors) and 1,475 mm tall, the 2013 Toyota Vios is 110 mm longer and 15 mm taller than the outgoing car, although it sits on the same 2,550 mm wheelbase.

With kerb weights ranging from 1,050 to 1,095 kg depending on the variant, the 2013 Toyota Vios is between 10 and 30 kg lighter than the car it replaces. The body structure utilises more high-tensile steel (56%, compared to 30% previously) and the roof is thinner without compromising strength, Toyota says.

Rigidity gets a boost too, through a higher number of spot welds (increased by more than 100) around the door openings and the bulkhead cowl.

The 2013 Toyota Vios’ Impact Absorbing Body Structure complies with UN ECE R94 and R95 safety regulations, which took effect in Malaysia from July 2012. The structure absorbs and disperses impact energy through the entire body frame in a frontal collision. The sides are reinforced, with beams present in all doors to reduce intrusion during a side collision.

A knee brace for the driver is fitted below the dashboard to restrain the lower leg, while the steering wheel column is collapsible. The front seats are whiplash injury-lessening, and three-point seat belts are provided for all three rear passengers.

Impact-absorbing material is integrated into the pillar areas, headlining and door panels to cushion occupants in a collision. Also, Toyota says the stopping distance from 100 km/h has been reduced from the previous 44.3 metres to 42.4 metres.

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Suspension is taken care of by independent L-arm MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam out back, both with stabilisers (previously only on the front). The settings have been revised and several components have been redesigned. The electric power steering system, offered as standard, is also claimed to offer more precision while transmitting less road shocks.

Enhancing refinement are an acoustic windscreen (only on the G and TRD Sportivo variants), a redesigned engine mount, more optimally-positioned insulating materials, an insulation pad on the underside of the bonnet, revised door seals and increased use of asphalt sheets around the floor.

There’s a completely new interior, which is a marked improvement over its predecessor’s. The seats have increased seat-to-body contact, and the horizontal adjustment range has been widened from 16 steps at 15 mm intervals to 26 steps at 10 mm intervals. The driver’s seat also has a 15 mm-higher lifter range.

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The instrument panel has been moved from its previous location in the middle of the dash to a more conventional position behind the rake-adjustable steering wheel. There’s a multi-info display showing odo/trip meter, gear position, average speed since start, instant and average fuel consumption and range (G and TRD Sportivo only). Eco light is available in all variants except the manual J.

A three-dimensional centre stack that ‘floats’ above the dash is finished in Piano Black with a fine dimple grain that prevents scratches and fingerprint marks. The instrument panel, door trim and steering wheel feature a three-dimensional stitched design.

There’s more cabin space as well – rear legroom is up by 75 mm, and knee room by 44 mm. The doors now have three opening stops so as to avoid hitting another car or wall by the side. The console tray has a rubberised surface to prevent items from sliding around, both front seat backs have pockets and there’s a pair of cupholders in the rear armrest.

The boot can accommodate up to 506 litres of luggage (J variants, which do not get 60:40 split folding back seats, hold a little less). This represents an increase of between 28 and 31 litres over the old Vios. The boot lid opens to a vertical position, and the load area is slightly larger, with a 21 mm-lower boot sill.

No matter what variant you choose, you get ABS with EBD and BA, dual-cell body-coloured reverse sensors, dual front airbags, Isofix, door visors, rear fog lamps, remote boot release and intermittent time-adjustable wipers. No VSC though.

How do the five variants differ? We’ll start with the wheels. Although they all ride on 185/60 R15 alloys (steel spare tyre), there are three separate designs – an eight-spoke for J and E cars, a multi-spoke for G and a ‘dynamic’ five-spoke for the TRD Sportivo, with TRD logo in the middle.

The J and E variants have front disc/rear drum brakes; the rest have discs all round. All except J get power-folding door mirrors with turn indicator, front fog lamps, 60:40 split folding back seats and a dashboard-integrated audio unit (the J gets a head unit).

As for headlamps, J and E get reflectors, while the G gets projectors and the TRD Sportivo, smoked projectors – all with manual levelling adjuster. The latter two also get keyless entry and start, an instrument panel multi-info display, six speakers (J and E get four) and a leather-wrapped gear knob and steering wheel with audio buttons (no leather wrapping nor steering wheel audio buttons for J and E).

All variants have a black interior save for the G, which gets an ivory interior. J gets black fabric seats while E gets two-tone grey and black fabric. G and TRD Sportivo get perforated leather seats in dark ivory and black with red trim respectively.

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Apart from those already mentioned, the range-topping TRD Sportivo gets an aerokit (specifiable on other variants as an optional extra) that comprises a front bumper extension with LED DRLs, a rear bumper extension, side skirts and a boot spoiler.

It also exclusively gets TRD body decals, sports seats, red stitching on the steering wheel, TRD embossed front door sill scuff plates and TRD Sportivo floor mats. The multi-info display features white backlighting and a drive monitor, and sits within a sports instrument panel.

Also available as optional accessories are a choice of two touch-screen systems with reverse camera – 5.8-inch DVD-AVX and 7.0-inch DVD-AVN – and a choice of window tints. Both touchscreen systems offer DVD, MP3, AUX, USB, SD and Bluetooth compatibility, but the bigger DVD-AVN system adds on Smartphone Link (compatible with selected smartphones only), Voice Recognition and navigation.

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The Vios also features a UK Thatcham-1 standard-compliant security system that comprises an engine immobiliser, tilt sensor (to prevent unauthorised towing), hyper-frequency sensor (to detect cabin intrusion) and a back-up battery for the siren.

Elsewhere, Premium Security Solar Film, Standard Solar Film and Essential Solar Film window tints are available. All tints come with a seven-year warranty which is still applicable during transfer of ownership at a later timing.

Five body colours are available – Medium Silver Metallic, Silver Metallic, Attitude Black, White and a new Quartz Brown Metallic. Offered is a three-year/100,000 km warranty.

The Toyota Vios first entered the Malaysian scene in 2003, and quickly rose to become the best-selling non-national car in the country. As of August, nearly 265,000 units of the first- and second-gen models have found Malaysian homes.

Since order-taking started in July, more than 8,000 units of the 2013 Toyota Vios have been ordered to date, and UMW Toyota Motor is hoping to sell around 36,000 units of the new car per year, up from 30,000 previously.

“We are also proud to announce that the local content in the new Vios has increased from 15% when we first started to now close to 50%,” said UMW Toyota Motor president Datuk Ismet Suki.

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Finally, the on-the-road pricing, with insurance (Peninsular Malaysia) for the 2013 Toyota Vios is:

  • Toyota Vios 1.5 J (manual) – RM73,200
  • Toyota Vios 1.5 J (auto) – RM77,300
  • Toyota Vios 1.5 E (auto) – RM82,900
  • Toyota Vios 1.5 G (auto) – RM88,500
  • Toyota Vios 1.5 TRD Sportivo (auto) – RM93,200

The E, G and TRD Sportivo variants are dearer by 0.7%, 1.3% and 1.3% respectively over those of the outgoing model, while the pricing for the J variants has not increased.

Read our preview drive report on the 2013 Toyota Vios here.

2013 Toyota Vios launch

2013 Toyota Vios 1.5 G

2013 Toyota Vios 1.5 TRD Sportivo

2013 Toyota Vios official gallery