New Toyota Vios rendered based on Prius c, JDM Yaris – which one do you prefer, and which is more likely?

Toyota Vios renders based on the Aqua (left) and JDM Yaris (right)

Earlier this week, Toyota launched the second-generation Aqua – better known to you and me as the Prius c – in its home market of Japan. The new model features a more powerful three-cylinder hybrid powertrain, a higher-capacity bipolar battery and the latest TNGA-B platform.

The Aqua sits alongside the similarly-sized Yaris (which is available with the same hybrid engine, by the way) in Toyota’s Japanese lineup, and Photoshop wizard Theophilus Chin said he actually preferred the looks of the former. That got him to thinking – what would a Vios sedan look like if it was based on the Aqua instead of the ASEAN-market Yaris like it is currently?

This brings us to the renders that you see here, which reimagines the hatchback in a sedan form factor. The car’s distinctive front end remains, with slim LED headlights and a large lower grille with a silver U-shaped frame. The similarities continue up to the B-pillar, after which the upswept C-pillar crease has been ditched in favour of a more conventional downwards-sloping window line and rear windscreen.

At the rear, Theo has added a short tail with full-width taillights that are becoming an industry trend, while retaining the Aqua’s body-coloured diffuser framed by a black strip. For reference, we’ve also included renders of the Vios based on the Japanese-market Yaris, already featured previously, as reference.

Both renders show vastly different approaches to the sedan formula, which is expected given the divergent design philosophies of the Aqua and Yaris – one being calmer and more reductive in terms of surfacing, the other sportier and more dynamic. The question is, which one is more likely to become a reality?

Unfortunately for those who prefer the Aqua, these newest renderings are a flight of fancy on Theo’s part. First of all, production of the hatch is likely to remain exclusive to Japan, whereas the Vios is assembled in various parts of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia. This immediately rules out an Aqua-based sedan ever being offered here, as the Vios is generally aimed at more price-sensitive markets.

The Aqua is also expected to become a Japan-only vehicle in its second generation. The Prius c has been discontinued in many markets as more and more bread-and-butter Toyota models gain a hybrid option – making a standalone petrol-electric model an increasingly irrelevant product.

This is particularly true in the ASEAN region, which is pushing for increased hybrid and electric vehicle production. In Thailand, Toyota offers a wide range of locally-produced hybrid models, with the Corolla Altis, CH-R, Corolla Cross and Camry all available with the option. The company is also gearing up for hybrid vehicle assembly in Malaysia, with the Corolla Cross Hybrid likely to be the first model.

A Vios based on the Japanese-market Yaris is a more likely possibility, as more and more models move over to the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) and Toyota continues to electrify its global lineup to reduce its carbon footprint. Given that the current Vios (and ASEAN Yaris) has only just been facelifted, however, it will likely continue to be on sale for a while yet.

GALLERY: 2021 Toyota Aqua

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