ICB reader Mohammad Isam has managed to snap the Toyota Vios test mule up close in Bangalore. The popular Asian market-specific sedan from the Japanese auto giant surfaced on the Indian roads for the first time last week, hinting that TKM (Toyota Kirloskar Motor) could be preparing to exploit the wide gap that exists in its portfolio between the Etios sedan and Corolla Altis.
The Vios has a refreshing design compared to the bland looking Etios.
The prototype has minimal camouflage which is limited only to the lights and logos. Interior was hidden from the view but the beige upholstery can clearly be seen. The test mule doesn’t give away what’s under the skin, but if we were to guess, TKM is most likely to use Etios’ petrol and diesel engines to reduce the effort, time and investment that are otherwise required for localizing the Vios’ powertain lineup.
The India-spec Vios is expected to borrow the Corolla Altis’ 88 PS 1.4-litre diesel engine.
Speaking of Vios’ powertrain lineup, the Asia-Pacific sedan offers 1.3- and 1.5-litre four cylinder petrol engines producing 85 PS and 107 PS respectively. Both motors are offered with a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. Undoubtedly, the Vios needs a diesel motor for the Indian market and the existing 1.5-litre mill that also powers the Etios twins and Corolla Altis emerges as the top candidate. The Vios would adopt the 88 PS version that is available in the Corolla. The 90 PS 1.5-litre petrol motor that currently powers the Etios sedan could also make its way into the India-spec Vios.
The sedan gets beige upholstery.
Aimed squarely at the brisk selling Honda City, Maruti Ciaz and the new Hyundai Verna 4S, the Vios have to arm itself with class leading features to make a strong enough impact on the market. The Japanese sedan would benefit from the well established goodwill that the Toyota brand enjoys in the Indian market, thanks to its reliability and ownership experience track records.
The interior design too is much superior to that of the Etios.
Considering that the prototype has just surfaced on Indian roads, it’s safe to assume that the Toyota Vios is still quite sometime away from venturing into what is one of most promising auto markets in the world.
As a toddler, those wheeled machinery fascinated me even before I knew what they’re called as! So here I'm, petrolhead by birth, Mechanical engineer by qualification and automotive journalist by profession!