The Toyota Vios has been a popular model of choice for Filipinos looking to get an affordable and reliable subcompact sedan. It's so common that once you step outside you are guaranteed to encounter at least one if not more on your trip outside. The Vios has seen use in multiple fields, used in taxi fleets, as rental cars, and even as race cars in the Vios Racing Festival. It has won the hearts of many Filipinos thanks to its reliability as well as its parts available. It also helps that the sedan is also assembled locally adding a sense of pride to the vehicle.
Let’s say you don’t want to follow the norm of getting a Toyota Vios and want something a little different, what other options do you have? Don’t worry as we have got you covered by creating a shortlist of alternatives to the popular Japanese sedan. These alternatives deliver the same quality and if not better the Vios in certain aspects. Each one of these options has its strengths and weaknesses to consider, however, will still deliver on being a reliable and affordable mode of personal transportation. The alternatives also come with a unique trait to them that helps gives them an edge over their Japanese competitor. With that said, on to the list of popular alternatives to the Toyota Vios.
Honda City (P938,000 – P1,078,000)
First on the list is what we could consider the perennial rival of the Toyota Vios with this the Honda City. While it doesn’t have quite the same number of variants as the Vios it does come with a more powerful engine. Performance-wise, when compared to the 1.5-liter version of the Vios, the City has an advantage of 12 hp and 8 Nm more torque than its fellow Japanese rival. Not to mention the Honda badged sedan also recently got a new engine with a different tune from its predecessor. It is important to note that its power figures remain the same as the previous generation.
In terms of features, the Honda City comes with an 8-inch infotainment system that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard for all variants. This is also where the Honda badged sedan has an advantage over its Toyota rival especially when it comes to standard features.
As far as safety is concerned, both the City and the Vios are on equal footing. Both subcompact sedans were able to receive 5-star ratings from the ASEAN New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) for their latest iterations. In terms of airbags, the Honda City is down one, while for select models, the Vios can have as many as seven available. For lighting both the City and Vios are on equal footing as both the range-topping models come with LED headlights along with LED daytime running lights.
When it comes to after-sales services, Honda has got you covered with 40 dealerships nationwide ready to serve you. The number is still growing so expect more dealerships to pop up in the coming months. Parts might be more expensive, however, rest assured that these are of quality. As a more powerful alternative to the Vios, the City gives you Japanese quality and the performance to match.
Mitsubishi Mirage G4 (P769,000 – P929,000)
Maybe the Honda City isn’t within your budget but you still want the fuel efficiency that the Vios is known for in a different package. Mitsubishi Philippines has got you covered, with the recently updated Mitsubishi Mirage G4. The sedan comes with updated yet familiar styling that many old and new fans alike will enjoy.
It still retains the basics of what you want in a Vios such as great space and a great feature set but doubles down on fuel economy. It may not have the heart-pumping 1.5-liter 2NR under the hood found in the current generation Vios, but it does come with a peppy 1.2-liter motor that gives you enough power to have some fun but still be fuel efficient at the same time.
To add to this the Mirage G4 also comes with a 7-inch infotainment system that also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is great for the owner who wants a great point A to point B machine with a couple of creature comforts here and there.
Nissan Almera (P779,000 – P1,113,000)
Another great alternative that was missing for a couple of months has returned with this the new Nissan Almera. It may not have the displacement to back it up against the bigger 1.5-liter of the Vios but it does come with a mighty 1.0-liter turbocharged engine that's more than enough to rocket the sedan to highway speeds quickly.
Aside from this, the Almera also comes with Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility suite which gives the sedan features such as an intelligent around-view monitor, forward collision warning, intelligent emergency braking, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and hill start assist. It also comes with six airbags available for the top-of-the-line N-Sport to match the six that the Vios also has.
In terms of tech, the Almera is also well equipped to be an alternative to the ever-popular Vios, It comes with an 8-inch advanced touchscreen display audio that comes with Apple Carplay, Bluetooth, USB, and Aux input. For its lower variants, the sedan only comes with a standard audio head unit but retains its Bluetooth connectivity which makes it a good match against the Vios which also has variants that are similar in terms of equipment.
MG 5 (P658,888 - 938,888)
Another alternative option to the Vios is the MG 5. While it might be a left-field choice given that the vehicle and brand is still relatively new to the market, it does pack a few features that are absent in the Japanese sedan. Being new to the market, it is also able to beat the Toyota Vios in terms of pricing as even its highest trim level does not exceed the P1,000,000 mark. However, it does come with a more streamlined variant range instead. Other than that, the MG 5 is longer than the Vios by 176 mm and has dimensions closer to its bigger brother the Altis. This gives the MG 5 another advantage especially when it comes to interior space. This vehicle is ideal for those who want a little more space while still staying within the same budget as the Vios.
Powering the MG 5 is a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine that makes 112 hp and 150 Nm of torque. This gives the MG sedan an advantage of 4 hp and 10 Nm of torque. Just like the Vios, it too is a front-wheel-drive sedan that sends power to the wheels via a CVT. This extra power balances the vehicle out compared to its Japanese counterpart as there is more weight to carry around.
For entertainment, the MG 5 yet again bests the Vios as it comes with an 8- or 10-inch infotainment system depending on the variant. While it doesn’t have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto it does come with screen mirroring technology which is still a big help to those who want to mirror their smartphones onto the infotainment system. Aside from this the MG 5 also comes with a 360-degree camera for its higher-end model as well as front and rear parking sensors as well. Another advantage for the British-inspired vehicle as its Japanese rival does not come with these features available.
For aftersales, MG comes well equipped as it shares the same dealerships with Chevrolet, a shared brand that is exclusively distributed by The Covenant Car Company Inc. in the Philippines. This means that wherever there is a Chevrolet dealership, there is bound to be parts for the MG 5 as well. MG also even has a phone app to help customers schedule their servicing appointments or home serving as well as 24/7 roadside assistance.
Volkswagen Santana (P686,000 – P948,000)
A German offering with an affordable price tag similar to that of the Vios is the Volkswagen Santana. The European automaker recently gave its sedan a minor refresh giving it a new infotainment system, a new set of wheels as well as a new feature in the form of a sunroof. While its overall design remains the same, these new features are more than welcomed additions to the sedan.
Powering the sedan is a choice between a 1.4-liter gasoline engine as well as a 1.5-liter gasoline motor. The 1.4-liter mill makes 89 hp and 132 Nm of torque, while the bigger displacement 1.5 engine makes 109 hp and 150 Nm of torque. In its 1.5-liter form, this gives the German sedan a 3 hp and 10 Nm of torque advantage over its Japanese counterpart. Unlike the Vios, the Santana sends power to the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission.
As for its interior amenities, the Volkswagen Santana matches its Japanese rival as it too comes with a 7-inch infotainment system that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well. However, it is important to note that the German sedan only comes with reverse sensors, which is not as good as the sensor and camera setup that the Vios has.
Safety is where the Santana is at a slight disadvantage as the Vios comes with more airbags and an ASEAN NCAP safety rating. The Santana has yet to be tested, however, it does come with standard equipment such as dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, and ISOFIX tethers for child seats at the back. The Volkswagen Santana is ideal for those who want to try out a German vehicle that comes well equipped and won’t break the bank.
Now we've said this was a top 5 best alternatives to the Toyota Vios, but we couldn't skip out on this other alternative to the popular nameplate. The Geely Emgrand is the 4th model that the automaker has brought into the Philippines. It is also the brand's first sedan model. Unlike the rest of the vehicles in the local lineup, the Emgrand is the only one to come with a naturally aspirated engine. Under the hood, it is powered by a 1.5-liter gasoline motor that produces 102hp and 142 Nm of torque that sends power to the front wheels via a CVT. It may not be as powerful as the Vios, but it is certainly bigger in terms of dimensions compared to the Japanese nameplate which gives it more interior room over its rival.
In terms of technology, comes with an 8-inch infotainment system that has wireless screen mirroring capabilities which are mated to either a 2, 4, or 6-speaker sound system depending on the variant. It also comes with rear aircon vents and a hands-free trunk release system. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is also available with the sedan but for certain variants only.
For safety, the Geely Emgrand comes standard with dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, Traction control, a tire pressure monitoring system, an immobilizer, and central locking. Other safety features of the sedan for its higher variants include front row side airbags, side curtain airbags, a reverse camera, rear parking sensors, and cruise control.