|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
First and foremost, if you’re expecting the Wigo to perform like a Camry or 86, you better realign your thinking. It’s a city car and it comes with all the pros and cons commonly associated with such. Measuring at just 3,600-mm in length, it can squeeze through the tightest of spots, be it on the road or in the parking lot. More than once, people back into the space occupied by the Wigo only to realize that there’s a car parked there. It’s that tiny. Thankfully, tiny doesn’t mean the lack of character.
On the contrary, the Wigo looks sharp and snazzy. It doesn’t have the same futuristic anime vibe as the Corolla Altis or Vios, but it’s a design that will wear very well. The angular headlights with carbon fiber-esque inserts and the triangular front fog light surrounds give the front fascia some character. The rear is somewhat more generic, but the rear spoiler does cut a nice rear profile. Plus, the six-spoke 14-inch alloys and 175/65R14 fill the wheel wells very well. If there’s one criticism I’d level against the Wigo is the abundance of chrome. I’m sure Toyota has determined that the city car crowd loves the shiny stuff, but it’s a bit of an overkill on the Wigo. It’s everywhere—the upper and lower grille, the door handles, and even the door moldings. It looks more aftermarket than factory stock, and even then, it’s not something pretty.
For its size, the Wigo’s cabin is surprisingly roomy. The interior echoes the exterior’s design theme with a pleasantly modern feel. As expected for a sub-half-a-million-peso car, the interior materials are hard and plasticky. However, the fit and finish are surprisingly consistent—a testament to Toyota’s build quality whether you’re talking about a luxury sedan or an entry-level city car. Instead of going all black, the Wigo uses shades of gray. Together with the expansive windshield, thin pillars, light metal applique, and extensive patterning on the seats, it gives an airy feel especially from the driver’s seat. Surprisingly, the front seats don’t offer headrest adjustment while the rears do. Although this is to pinch every penny possible, it certainly is a recipe of possible whiplash injury (it’s that low). The rest of the seats though are largely okay for spending traffic in except for those with sensitive back or bums. In terms of luggage space, the Wigo has enough for a weekend out-of-town trip. The rear bench can be folded as a single piece to increase loading space even more, but it won’t result in a completely flat loading space and will reduce the maximum occupant count to two.
Despite being priced so aggressively, the Wigo is excellently equipped. Aside from the prerequisite power windows, door locks, and mirrors, the center console contains a 2-DIN touchscreen audio system with USB, Apple iPod, and Bluetooth capability; perfect to keep the driver and passengers entertained. It’s also GPS navigation ready if you wish to shell for the additional cash for the receiver and SD card. The instrument cluster also has a multi-information display that shows range and mileage. Dual SRS airbags and anti-lock brakes are standard equipment as well.
With a week planned out for the Wigo, it’s great to test it in various road conditions to simulate typical scenarios that an owner would encounter. Like most three-cylinder engine, the Wigo doesn’t have the smoothest idling—it sounds rickety, uneven, and just plain unbalanced. As you give it enough gas though, the engine starts to smoothen out. The 1.0-liter engine tops out at just 65 horsepower and 85 Nm of torque, but considering the Wigo’s bantam weight, it’s spritely through city traffic as long as the roads are flat enough. Its behavior changes rapidly depending on the grade of road. On steep inclines (or when fully-loaded), the Wigo will struggle. One time, I tried “hanging” it in the middle of a steep incline only to have it stall. Even by dumping the clutch and giving full throttle, it barely made it through. The five-speed manual has long but precise throws, reminiscent of the Corolla AE92. The light clutch pedal is also very easy to modulate, though the engagement is on the high side.
Driven purely in the city, the Wigo is a perfectly great commuter car. The electric power steering is light and quick, resulting in a tight 4.7-meter turning radius. The suspension is well-balanced between comfort and responsiveness, and reacts the same way whether fully-loaded with passengers or not. The sightlines also make it easy to slot into the tightest of spaces, sometimes to the chagrin of jeepney drivers and motorcycle riders alike. As a long-distance tourer though, the Wigo’s weaknesses start to emerge. NVH is almost non-existent with all sorts of noises permeating the cabin at high speeds. The steering also starts to lighten up at around 80 km/h as if the Gajah Tunngal tires aren’t contacting the road anymore.
With a gearing designed more for city driving than highway driving, the Wigo’s fuel economy is largely dependent on the speed you’re traveling on. In city traffic, it manages 12.7 km/L if you follow the Eco light religiously. On the highway, if you keep your speed at a constant 80 km/h, it returns 23.1 km/L. However, add just 20 km/h more (100 km/h) and this efficiency drops to 18.5 km/L.
For all its misses, you can’t deny that the Toyota Wigo is priced affordably. And because of that, it begins to look like a bargain. Designed as your first brand-new car, the Wigo provides excellent fuel economy and packaging together with Toyota’s penchant for making nearly indestructible cars. It may still be some ways away from the Corolla Altis or even the Vios in terms of driving performance; but for what it is, which is an entry-level city car, it’s a perfectly great choice.
2014 Toyota Wigo 1.0G M/T
|Ownership||Toyota Wigo 1.0G M/T|
|Body Type||5-door hatchback|
|Engine / Drive||F/F|
|Under the Hood|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||I3|
|BHP @ rpm||65 @ 6,000|
|Nm @ rpm||85 @ 3,600|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Gasoline / 91~|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||800|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, MacPherson Strut|
|Rear Suspension||Torsion Beam Axle|
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||No|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Fixed|
|Steering Wheel Material||Urethane|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|No. of Speakers||2|
|Steering Wheel Controls||No|