If you are looking for a sensible priced headache free used car in Malaysia, there are many options to choose from depending on your budget. However, if you are seeking a used sedan below RM20,000 then we have this suggestion for you. The 2003 Toyota Vios 1.5L.

How Much When NEW

This Toyota was an ASEAN car designed for the region for the middle class consumer looking for a 2ndcar in the house or for the lower middle class buyer looking for their 1st car under the house porch. At its launch, the Toyota Vios was offered in 4 variants at a selling price from RM73,599 to RM81,847. Demand was overwhelming and UMW Toyota enjoyed brisk sales nation-wide. The brand ambassador for this Toyota was no other than mega pop star Britney Spears.

Here we look at buying this 1st generation Vios that we believe to be still very good value despite little depreciation some 16 years later. Toyota engineers executed the 2003 interior quite exemplary. Gray simple plastics were tightly mounted and pleasantly surfaced. When you have identified a used unit start with the interior. Switch gear and controls click and should glide and work with precision even after 16 years of use. The only disappointment if any will be the sound from the standard audio system, which seemingly lacked any depth, but at least it had MP3 playback capability, which allowed for pretty decent sound reproduction. Most 1st owners have tried to upgrade this system and there are some who have managed a decent system without sacrificing on panel damage which is rather common on when low rent car assessory shops remove and remount panels with little professionalism.

What Kind Of Drivetrain

When new the 2003 Vios came with plenty of sound-deadening material to ensure a quiet drive, which only started showing its lack once you drove it beyond 140km/h. Under the hood, this 2003 Vios was fitted with a 1496cc DOHC engine. The 4-cylinder VVT-i engine produced 107 bhp of power and 142 Nm of torque. Mated to a four-speed automatic it should still shift smoothly and responsively when you test-drive a used Vios.

If the dealer or car owner refuses a test drive then say goodbye and look for another one, as there are plenty of used units in the market today for sale as most 1st owners look to upgrading their ride. The Vios seats four in comfort; five if none are sumo contestants. The tall roofline gives a good impression of a large interior volume.

Final Checks

Most used units would have seen some family abuse so when looking to buy a 15 or 16 year old unit make sure you have a good look inside. Toyota interiors are relatively tough. Interior trim should be in good nick. Carpet and side panels should been intact and not loose. Front seats should roll forward and back with ease. If not look at oiling the runners. Check to see that trim bits are not cracked or broken. If not then ignore this car as repairs are useless and replacement expensive. Look around the bottom half of the car for curb-side damage. Most owners would have been careless in car parks and street parking.

How Much Today

Take note that most used 2003 Vios’s by now would have covered a lot of mileage so it would be advisable for you to check when was the last time the timing and all other belts were changed. Also do not forget to check the gearbox oil.

A decent unit will have anywhere between 180 to 240,000 kilometers clocked. Its asking price for a 2003 unit starts from RM15,000 and moves upwards to RM22,000 for a well looked after single owner car which should be the preferred buy if you plan to keep this used Vios for more than 4 years.