It's no secret that Toyota is working on moving more units of their locally assembled model: the Vios.
When Toyota changed over to the new generation model (or at least a very thorough redesign), sales were not as good as the third generation Vios they sold from 2013 to 2018.
There are many reasons why that was the case. Part of the disappointment was the design, part of it were the new excise taxes (and how people advanced their purchases before TRAIN came into effect), and a part of it was the increase in price brought about by the new features, specifically the expanded safety features.
Toyota couldn't do much about the design, nor could they play with the excise taxes, but they can adjust the specification sheet, which is exactly what they did. Below is the spec sheet from the brochure.
Toyota has just introduced the new Vios 1.3 XLE; a new mid-range variant that pretty much retains the same features of the Vios 1.3 E such as the option for either a 5-speed manual or a CVT as well as the touchscreen head unit with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, but omits 4 of the 7 airbags that all versions of the Vios used to get.
That means the Vios XLE will have a pair of front airbags for the driver and passenger, as well as a knee airbag for the driver. What Toyota removed are the side airbags for the front occupants, as well as the pair of curtain airbags that stretches from the front to rear side windows.
Yes, Toyota has backtracked a little bit on the safety features of the Vios range to make the XLE more affordable. But that's not all: the reduced 3 airbag package for the new XLE variant will also be applied to the three Vios variants below it.
That means the 2020 versions of the Vios 1.3 XE, the Vios 1.3 J, as well as the “taxi-spec” Vios 1.3 Base will all have 3 airbags like the XLE instead of 7 as they had previously.
We found that move to be a bit odd especially since Toyota has made a commitment to offer maximum safety features across their model range globally as the new generations come along. The most major indicator of that was the 7 airbag safety suite.
Toyota, however, retained all the other key safety features that are meant to avoid a crash: all models will still have the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Hill Start Assist (HSA), and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC).
The new 2020 Toyota Vios 1.3 XLE variant will be priced at PhP 841,000 for the CVT version and PhP 791,000 for the manual.
UPDATE: Toyota has clarified that the 7 airbag 2020 Vios variants (Prime, G, and E) will have a 10,000 peso price hike. The 3 airbag variants (XE, J, and Base) will not be getting a price hike of PhP 10,000 and retain the current price but have 4 less airbags.
When the current inventory of Vios XE, J and Base at dealerships (which are of the 2019 spec with 7 airbags) run out, the new stocks will only have 3 airbags but will maintain current pricing.
That means the 2020 Vios 1.3 XE will come in at PhP 738,000, the 2020 Vios 1.3 J will be at PhP 688,000, and the 2020 Vios 1.3 Base will be at PhP 662,000.