January 25, 2017 09:32 By KINGSLEY WIJAYASINHA THE NATION
TOYOTA’S MINOR-CHANGE VIOS AND THE 2017 MAZDA3 COME HOT ON THE HEELS OF HONDA’S LAUNCH OF ITS FACELIFTED CITY SEDAN
While Honda introduced its facelifted City last week, Toyota and Mazda are the next two companies that have come out with facelifted versions of their Vios and Mazda3, respectively.
Auto sales in Thailand finished at approximately 767,000 vehicles in 2016, slowing down by 4 per cent. However, the market is expected to accelerate by 5-8 per cent this year and finish 2017 with sales of 800,000 units, thanks to the end of the five- year ownership period under the First Car Buyer programme.
The 1.5- litre Vios, which has slowly lost its flair over the years to the Yaris that enjoys eco-car tax privileges, is now compatible with E85 gasohol. The average fuel economy of the 108hp engine, mated to a CVT ( Continuously Variable Transmission) is claimed to be 17.2km/litre.
Prices for the facelifted Vios range from Bt609,000 to Bt789,000 for the four trim levels.
The top two models come with a metallic greyish black front grille, smoked projector headlights with LED light guide and LED daytime running lights (located at the corners of the front bumper). Meanwhile, the two lowest- priced models feature regular multi- reflector headlamps and don’t get the daytime running lights. However, all trims get new LED tail lights.
The top model sports 16- inch alloys with 195/60 tyres, while the rest have 15- inch alloys with 185/60R15 tyres.
The top model also has red-black seat upholstery, automatic climate control and a sports instrument cluster, while the lower models get black and beige interiors and analogue meters.
Toyota plans to sell 2,600 units of the Vios per month.
Meanwhile, the minor change Mazda3 is the first model to get Mazda’s new G- Vectoring Control (GVC) system, which will also equip other cars and SUV models.
Mazda was the Japanese company with top growth last year, and it plans to increase sales by another 18 per cent this year to 50,000 units. The Mazda3 will be one of the models that will help the Hiroshimabased company achieve its sales target in Thailand, which ranks among the top 10 markets for Mazda globally.
The automaker says that GVC helps improve driving dynamics as well as active safety by smoothening the ride and lowering fatigue.
Pricing of the 2017 Mazda3 ranges from Bt847,000 to Bt1.19 million, and a new submodel for the 4-door version has been introduced, possessing the same equipment level as the top 5-door hatchback.
The design has been improved with a sportier front end consisting of a new grille and bumper. The new LED projector headlights are accompanied by newly designed daytime running lights and LED fog lamps. The car also gets new 18-inch alloy wheels and a redesigned rear bumper for the 5-door model.
The interior features two- tone brown-black leather seat upholstery. The console, steering wheel and instrument cluster are redesigned, and the Active Driving Display is now in colour.
Another new addition is the centre display, which features a 7- inch touch screen; an Electronic Parking Brake system replaces the manual handbrake lever.
The full i-ActivSense package is offered for the top model, including the following: ALH (Adaptive LED Headlamps) MRCC (Mazda Radar Cruise Control) SBS (Smart Brake Support) DAA (Driver Attention Alert) LAS (Lane-Keep Assist System) LDWS (Lane Departure Warning System) SCBS (Smart City Brake Support) SCBS-R ( Smart City Brake Support-Reverse) ABSM (Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring) RCTA (Rear Cross Traffic Alert) All models also get smart entry, ABS brakes with Brake Assist, Dynamic Stability Control, Hill Launch Assist, and the Emergency Signal System.
The Mazda3’s 2.0- litre engine pumps out 165hp and 210Nm, and is paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The car’s average fuel economy is claimed to be 15.6km/litre.
The automaker says there is no waiting period for the Mazda3. Freebies include insurance and a Mazda wristwatch worth Bt5,000.