This might be bewildering for some, but now is a good time to buy a car. Yes, we’re knee deep (it’s not neck yet, right?) in a pandemic that’s unprecedented and global, and some sectors have been ravaged by Covid-19, but if you have the job security and means…
It appears that many think so, and have already acted on it. Various car brands are reporting brisk sales thanks to the 2020 sales tax exemption by the government, and many are doubling down with their own promotions. And we haven’t even mentioned the market excitement created by new model launches.
Meanwhile, used cars – which are not covered by the SST holiday by the way – have been flying off the lots. So yes, if you have the means, why not take advantage of the deals?
If you’re considering a new Toyota, here are the five variants we think you should skip, in favour of others in the range. If you’ve read previous instalments of this series focusing on Perodua and Proton models, you’ll know that this is no empty shell clickbait post purposely going the other direction to get noticed.
Instead, we’re presenting you a buyers’ guide based on price, value and features, with a strong emphasis on safety kit, as these are cars in the daily and utility category. So, here are the five Toyotas we’ll pass for other Toyotas.
You know how sometimes products appear very attractive due to the low “From RMXXX” price? It’s a common tactic to make you go, Hmm… I can do that. The base variant may be the cheapest, but it’s not always the best value for money.
A good case in point is the Toyota Vios J, which is priced at RM76,101 with the 2020 sales tax exemption. The entry level Vios is a hair below RM4k cheaper than the next grade, the RM80,074 Vios E, while the top spec G (pictured above) goes for RM86,132.
Everyone needs window tint, and adding film to your Vios J will reduce the J-E price difference to around RM2k, because Toyota’s factory solar and security film (a RM2,120 option) is standard with the E.
So, for RM2k more you get LED tail lights, fog lights, auto-fold door mirrors with indicators, a multifunction steering wheel and the DVD-AVX infotainment system with a 360-degree camera system and dashcam. Sounds like a bargain already, and that’s before taking into account the things that can’t be retrofitted – blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, an acoustic windscreen and 60:40 split-folding rear seats.
The E over the J becomes a no brainer when you consider that the RM4k premium will cost you RM50 a month extra over seven years. The downpayment difference is just RM400. If you can afford a Vios in the first place, loan approval sensitivity should be less of an issue compared to a Perodua/Proton half the price.
That said, we have to commend UMW Toyota Motor for including seven airbags and ESP as standard across the Vios board. This is not only a shift from the spec-stingy UMWT of old, but it’s beyond what Honda and Nissan are doing – the base variants of the City and Almera have less airbags than the top ones.
Like the Vios J, its sister hatchback model, the Yaris J (Yaris G pictured above), is the cheapest in the range but not the best value. The price difference between the J at RM69,576 and E at RM75,479 is at least bigger here at close to RM6k. The Yaris J is also the cheapest new Toyota you can buy in Malaysia, which means we’ll cut it some slack.
It does however look the part as the cheapest car. Things like 16-inch rims, projector headlamps, fog lamps, LED rear lights and auto fold/retractable wing mirrors with turn signals are only available on the E. The mid spec E also gets an acoustic windshield, multi-info display, steering audio buttons, 360-degree camera, dashcam, a 6.8-inch touchscreen head unit, Drive Mode switch (Sport and Eco modes) and solar/security tint.
The latter is a must-have anyway, which brings the effective difference to RM4k. As with the Vios, the Yaris E comes with a blind spot monitor system with rear cross traffic alert – that’s valuable and can’t be retrofitted. It’s a long list of extra kit for RM6k more, so go for the E if you can afford it.
We’re not just telling you to buy the more expensive variant for every model, but are comparing price differences with what you gain/lose. In the case of the Yaris/Vios J versus the E, it’s pretty clear cut.
Not many realise it, but the Toyota Avanza is still around. The latest facelift of the budget MPV arrived in May 2019, and the seven-seater now sports Vellfire-style spilt headlamps and a full-height grille. Didn’t notice? Maybe that’s because there aren’t many around.
There are better and more sophisticated options around in 2020 if you need a three-row people carrier, but if you must have an Avanza, go for the cheaper variants.
The Avanza range starts at RM77,963 for the E, while the S is priced at RM80,849. The S+ is exactly RM4k more at RM84,849. The ageing model is not cheap for what it is, and safety kit is stuck in the last decade with just two airbags and ABS/EBD. The S+ has blind spot monitoring with RCTA, but there’s no VSC for this tall, rear-wheel drive family car.
Better to save up for a Toyota Rush, a recently-developed model with a five-star ASEAN NCAP rating. A sister car to the Perodua Aruz, the Rush is available in two variants, the G at RM88,314 and the RM91,885 S.
The difference of slightly over RM3.5k buys you a list of kit, but the biggest gain is Pre-Collision System. PCS, which is essentially Perodua’s ASA 2.0 suite, alerts the driver when his/her car approaches another vehicle without braking (works for pedestrians too). If action is not taken, the system will auto apply the brakes in an attempt to prevent or mitigate a crash. Also part of the package are Front Departure Alert (alerts you when the car in front of the queue has moved) and Pedal Misoperation Control (prevents unintended acceleration when you actually want to step on the brakes).
The other S-only goodies are fog lamps and leather seats, but you should do it for the AEB. And if you’re considering the G just to save RM3.5k, the Aruz AV comes with ASA 2.0 and is priced below RM75k.
The latest Toyota Corolla was launched here in October 2019. Now sitting on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform and having dropped the “Altis” name, the CBU Thailand C-segment sedan starts from RM123,972 for the E, rising to RM134,505 for the G (pictured above).
The price difference is rather big at over RM10.5k, but so is the spec list. Both share the same 139 PS/173 Nm 1.8L NA engine and CVT, but the G gets much of the nice things you would want in a C-segment car above RM100k.
How about projector LED headlamps, 17-inch alloys, Optitron meter panel with a seven-inch screen, dual-zone air con, leather, electronic parking brake with auto hold, paddle shifters, rear window sunshades and a Qi wireless charger? The G also gets a 3D panoramic view monitor and front/rear dashcams, which are RM2,700 and RM1,100 options for the E.
All those alone are surely worth more than RM10k, but the G’s trump card is Toyota Safety Sense, which includes Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist & Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Automatic High Beam (AHB) and Blind Spot Monitor (BSM).
Lastly, something concerning interior aesthetics. In June this year, UMWT rolled out a 9.0 inch touchscreen head unit for the Corolla. The unit has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, but perhaps more importantly, it fills up the high-standing allocated space much better than the original 6.8-inch item. However, this new display audio is only for the G, so the E will persist with the unsightly thick bezel that you can’t ignore due to its prominence on the dashboard.
If you’re spending over RM100k on a C-segment car, it’s likely that you aren’t a first-time buyer but an upgrader, so shell out that extra RM10k and treat yourself to the nicer Corolla.
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