It's not a simple task to purchase a new vehicle, and it's now compounded by the sheer number of choices available to car buyers these days. Just take the B-segment sedans as an example, there has been an almost endless streak of car launches in the past few months.
We have assembled a crack team of number-crunchers and word-chaining monkeys to help alleviate some of your car-buying headaches, where we will pit the heavyweights of each segment in Malaysia against their biggest rivals.
This time, we’ll be comparing the latest Toyota Vios and Honda City. With similar specs and price, these two models have always been the hottest entry-level imported cars in Malaysian automotive market.
First of all, Toyota Vios is only available with one single powertrain choice, while the Honda City has two. For the sake of simplicity, the two powertrain options will be considered as two separate entries in this comparison. Also, where possible, we’ve chosen the cheapest variant for each entry in this comparison, as they are the lowest entry point of each model to achieve the same level of performance.
Basic Specs: Engine & Price
Toyota Vios has just recently received a facelift makeover. With no changes under the hood, the Vios 1.5 J in this match-up continues to feature a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine, alongside a CVT gearbox. Pricing starts at RM74,623 for the entry-level variant.
The next contestant is the Honda City 1.5L S, boasting a new 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine with dual-overhead cams. Just like its other rivals, the City also features a CVT gearbox to send power to the front wheels. The 1.5L S variant is priced at RM73,851, the more affordable one in this match-up.
Round 1: Horsepower & Torque
In terms of horsepower output, The Honda City 1.5L S tops the charts at 121 hp, and Toyota Vios 1.5J at 107 hp.
However, in slower stop-go traffic within the city – where most of these cars will be spending a majority of their time, torque output will play a more significant role in the perception of power.
But similarly, Honda City 1.5L S is also performing slightly better than Toyota Vios at 145 Nm, and the Toyota Vios with 140 Nm on tap. While the max torque on both models are at 4,300 rpm and 4,200 rpm respectively.
Round 2: Power-to-Weight Shootout
Plain power output figures can only tell us so much. So, to get a clearer picture of each car’s performance, we’ll have to also factor in the car’s weight.
Based on our calculations, Honda City 1.5L S takes the top spot with 108 hp/tonne, thanks to its high raw output figures. While the Toyota Vios 1.5J comes in second with a horsepower-to-weight ratio of 93 hp/tonne.
Round 3: Performance-per-Dollar (Ringgit)
Cars are one of the largest purchases we’ll ever make in our lives, so it’s completely normal to look for every single ounce of performance out of your Ringgit.
Still, Honda City wins this round at RM610/hp while Toyota Vios costs RM697/hp.
Takeaway: The Winner
If you solely look at the comparisons, the winner would be Honda City. BUT, there will never be a “best” car – As always, the best option will depend on your use cases and requirements.
For example, say you’re someone who frequently travels on the highway at higher speeds, the Honda City might be a better choice due to its higher horsepower output (and horsepower-to-weight ratio), letting you achieve higher speeds easier.
There’s also many more things to consider than just purely performance when it comes to buying a car – some of which we will definitely explore more in the Head-to-Head series. People who spend an inordinate amount of time in their cars might value a more comfortable and functional interior more than anything else, whereas for someone who just uses it for short-distance journeys, a small nippy car might be the way to go. And at the end of the day, your car-buying decisions should all come down to your budget.