The Toyota Vios has been a popular choice for consumers within the subcompact sedan market segment in the Philippines. The vehicle is so common that you could find one almost anywhere, may it be on the highway or in the city. 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 own 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 (P848,000 - P1,058,000)
First on the list is 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 from 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.
Mazda2 (P850,000 - 1,077,400)
While the Mazda2 can’t exactly go toe to toe with the Vios in the sheer number of variants, the lone model that is available does come with a good amount of features to match the Toyota badged sedan. The Mazda can also give the Vios a run for its money in terms of handling and styling as it comes with the brand’s own Kodo design language that gives it sporty looks for its small body as well as many notable awards.
Infotainment-wise both the Mazda2 and the Vios are on equal ground, as the Mazda comes with 7-inch infotainment as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. it also comes with a heads-up display unit, something that isn’t present in the Toyota sedan.
When it comes to performance, Mazda has stuck to its guns and has chosen to give the Mazda2 a 6-speed automatic transmission instead of a CVT. This further solidifies the Japanese brand’s design philosophy making its vehicles sporty. As far as engines are concerned, it is a mixed bag, as the Mazda2 comes with an advantage of 1 hp but also with a disadvantage of 1 Nm of torque. However, the Mazda sedan does come with G-Vectoring Control technology which gives it a slight handling edge over its Toyota rival. A good feature to have especially for those looking for a great handling sedan.
For safety, the Mazda2 was able to score a 4-star rating from the ASEAN NCAP. While not as rich in terms of airbags compared to the Vios, its rating is still good as it comes with dual front airbags that are also paired with side and curtain airbags as well.
As for parts availability, Mazda has got you covered with its free three-year periodic maintenance servicing program. On top of this, the Japanese brand also has multiple dealerships nationwide that are ready to serve you and your vehicle. The Mazda2 is ideal for those who are looking for a slightly shorter vehicle that comes with more handling-oriented features.
Suzuki Ciaz (P823,000 - 978,000)
Powering the Ciaz is a 1.4-liter engine. While its smaller in displacement than that of the Vios, it still produces 92 hp and 130 Nm of torque. What it lacks in power it makes up for in size. The Ciaz is 65mm longer than the Vios allowing it to have more room in the interior.
For entertainment, the sedan has an 8-inch Android Capacitive touchscreen head unit. It lets the user customize the user interface easily with apps unlike the head unit of the Vios. This is a great alternative for those who want a little more space for a similar price point to the Japanese subcompact sedan.
For safety, the Ciaz has two airbags, one for the front passenger, and one for the driver. Despite only having two airbags, the Ciaz was able to get an ASEAN NCAP rating of 4/5 stars for adult safety. The caveat is that it scores poorly for child safety only garnering 2/5 stars.
The Ciaz is ideal for those who want a little more space for a cheaper price point. Suzuki dealerships are plenty and the company itself is expanding in the Philippines, so parts and after-sales service shouldn’t be too hard to find.
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 - P993,000)
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.