Sun, 11 May 2003

Toyota Vios for the young on the move

Japanese giant carmaker Toyota recently released the 1,500 cc Toyota Vios mini sedan on Thursday at Shangri-La hotel, Central Jakarta. The vehicle is claimed to be the first in Indonesia to have a center meter.

This means the instrument panel is placed in the middle of the dashboard, instead of in front of the driver's seat.

Such a futuristic panel arrangement is believed to reduce collision risks, as drivers should still have good sight of traffic conditions while viewing the instrument panel.

Chief engineer of the Vios project, Sakae Kitazawa, told The Jakarta Post that the center meter arrangement did not require too much head movement and had received a good response in other markets.

"We have used such an arrangement in the Japanese domestic market, but this is the first time here," he said.

Derived from the Latin word meaning, "to move forward", the Vios is a perfect name for a car that is designed to be one step ahead and always leading in technological advancement.

"The Vios exterior shows that our design is no longer conservative," said marketing and communications manager of PT Toyota-Astra Motor Hendrayadi Lastiyoso. "The car is aimed at young customers in the 25 to 35 age group."

Using the image of young pop singer Britney Spears to promote it, the Vios looks similar to the Altis, which was marketed using good-looking actor Brad Pitt.

The Vios comes in two variants: Vios 1.5E, with manual transmission and Vios 1.5G, available with either automatic or manual transmission.

The Vios is powered by the INZ-FE 4-cylinder, in-line, DOHC, VVT-i, 16-valve engine, which is able to produce maximum power of 109 horsepower (HP) at 6,000 revs per minute (rpm) and maximum torque of 142 Newton-meters (Nm) at 4,200 rpm.

With a length of 4.285 meters, the Vios will not encounter any difficulty in overcoming the heavy traffic on Jakarta's roads or densely packed parking lots, as it has a turning radius of 4.9 meters.

A major difference between the E and G variants is that the Vios 1.5E is not equipped with an antilock braking system (ABS). Instead, it has disc brakes.

Available in six colors, the Vios is offered at Rp 148 million (US$17,420) for the 1.5E manual, Rp 157 million for the 1.5G manual and Rp 167.9 million for the 1.5G with automatic transmission.

-- Novan Iman Santosa