Small sedan stakes: Volkswagen Santana vs. Toyota Vios


Since the first-generation Toyota Vios came out in 2003, everyone from taxi operators to families, have bought the car because of its stellar dependability.

And in 2014, the third generation added a further sportiness to its credentials with a racing series called the Vios Cup.  

With the latest Vios coming out in a racy GR-S variant, it's safe to say the car will remain a best-seller, and every subcompact sedan's most formidable foe. 


One small sedan that aims to topple the Toyota is the Volkswagen Santana. Two things set the Santana apart from the Vios: first, it's styled like the German Volkswagens, and second, it lends some classiness in its range with no variant catering to fleets or taxi operators. 


The Santana and Vios differ in many other areas, too. 

Tech specs

The Santana can be powered by a 1.4-liter engine with 90hp and 132Nm, and a 1.5 liter with 108hp and 150Nm. The 1.4 is paired to a five-speed manual, while the 1.5 mill gets a six-speed automatic. 


As for the Vios, the 1.5 is reserved for two upper variants. The power and torque output of that engine are rated at 106hp and 140Nm, respectively, which are also managed by either a five-speed manual, or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). 

The same gearboxes are also found in the rest of the Vios range, which have a 1.3-liter mill with 98hp and 123Nm. 

Kit and price

The base Santana MPI MT starts at P686,000, the mid spec 180 MPI S goes for P898,000, and the top model 180 MPI SE is priced at P962,000.

Steel wheels with wheel covers underpin the Santana MPI. Inside, there's a pollen filter on the AC system, and a two-speaker audio system with AM/FM radio, USB, Aux-in, and SD card capabilities. 

Unique to the MPI SE are a sunroof, cornering fog lights, cruise control, synthetic leather trimmings, and side airbags.

A Blaupunkt infotainment system can be optioned for P31,000 in the S and SE. The infotainment can display navigation and features Bluetooth connectivity.


From P681,000 for the base Vios to P1.02 million for the Vios GR-S, the Toyota can suit a wide range of budgets. 

The Base and J (P707,000) wear steel wheels and 14-inch alloys, respectively.  Inside the cars, a 2DIN with CD/MP3 with Bluetooth USB and AUX connectivity provide entertainment. 


The upper variants get snazzier alloys, and seven-inch display audio with CD/MP3, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with Bluetooth, USB and AUX connectivity. 

As for the Vios GR-S, its street cred is enhanced with a GR (Gazoo Racing) emblem, a more aggressively-styled front bumper and grille, an aero kit which includes a spoiler, and black wheels that look like they were nicked from a GR Yaris. Inside, the Vios GR-S seats are wrapped in a grippy material. 



As mentioned, the Santana possesses that classy allure. After all, it bears the name of a German brand, and wears the simple styling of VW, as well. 

However, the wide range of prices for the Vios make it the more practical choice. And with a proven reliability record, the Vios will surely retain its appeal in the long run. 

Toyota Vios

Photos from Volkswagen, Toyota

Also read: 

The Volkswagen Santana variants explained

Here are the Volkswagen Santana's segment rivals




Volkswagen Santana vs Toyota Vios Comparison

Volkswagen Santana
  • ₱686,000 - 948000
Toyota Vios
  • ₱681,000 - 1.02 Million
Volkswagen Santana vs Toyota Vios
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