|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
Hyundai and Toyota has taken vastly different approaches when it comes to their sub-compacts, and it’s very clear the moment you stare at them in the flesh. On one hand, you have the Wigo—an angular and sharply-styled hatchback with a striking and spunky face. It doesn’t look as space age, as say, the Corolla Altis or the RAV4, but squint hard enough and you do see some Lexus DNA in there. The carbon fiber inserts in the headlight cluster and the arrow-shaped fog light surrounds cut a memorable presence without being too cartoonish. The rear is much more generic though. If there’s one thing the Wigo can use less of, it’s chrome. There’s way too much of the stuff and it just looks too tacky.
Where the Wigo relies on angularity, the Grand i10 goes for a much more organic shape. There are more sweeps, curves, and flowing lines on the Grand i10’s face alone compared to the entirety of the Wigo. The resulting shape is much more pleasing to the eye and fits much better with Hyundai’s corporate design identity. Unlike the Wigo which relies too much on chrome to spice up the design, Hyundai has actually gifted the Grand i10 with excellent detailing. The Grand i10 goes for pull-type door handles, a “hidden” electric-actuated hatch opener, and even a bee sting-type antenna—things that spell real class and quality. They say, the devil’s in the details, and it’s for this reason that the Grand i10 takes a convincing win over the Wigo in terms of its exterior.
Winner: Hyundai Grand i10
Interior Design and Space
Engineered and built as a basic means of transportation, the Toyota Wigo’s a perfect example of a no-frills design. Like the exterior, the inside feels fairly modern with consistent levels of fit and finish. That said, don’t expect it to be a miniature Camry or even a Vios. Everything’s hard to the touch and quite plasticky, but thankfully Toyota has managed to keep every screw head away from plain eyesight. Despite its engineering and design limitations, the Wigo manages to feel airy thanks to the use of light-colored (gray) materials and thin pillars. Ergonomically, the Wigo is surprisingly quite alright despite the lack of steering wheel adjustment. But, Toyota did pinch every penny possible giving the Wigo fixed front headrests—a recipe for possible whiplash injury for anyone above 175 centimeters. Those in the back fare much better though one or two passengers complained of a lack of hip and bum support.
Whereas the Wigo is “fairly modern” in its interior design, the Grand i10 gets every design know-how Hyundai has in its sleeve. As a result, they have created something seemingly straight out of a concept car. The two-tone orange and black interior scheme is a love-it-or-hate-it affair, but kudos to Hyundai for adding some much needed styling to this segment. The overall look is more on the feminine side, but that shouldn’t matter as you’ll learn to love the higher quality digs. First, the graining effect used on the interior surfaces is convincing enough to make it feel more upscale than it is. Second, the fit and finish are noticeably better. Lastly, the major controls not only work with a nice, tactile feel, but actually are much more solid. The gauges, the switchgear, the shifter, and even the seats—they all feel way, way better in the Grand i10 than in the Wigo. In addition, the seats are supportive. There’s excellent space front or back, and there’s adjustable headrests for everyone (that’s five in total). Again, it’s a hands down victory for the Grand i10 here.
Winner: Hyundai Grand i10
Performance and Fuel Economy
Designed and engineered primarily as a city car, the Toyota Wigo is perfectly at home in the confines of the concrete jungle. The odd-numbered cylinder count (three) sounds just plain unbalanced. The amount of noise and vibration that permeates the cabin makes you wonder if Toyota employed even a gram of NVH isolation. Despite squeezing out just 65 horsepower and 85 Nm of torque from its 1.0-liter displacement, the Wigo feels zippy in city traffic. Of course, compared to the 5-speed manual version, the 4-speed automatic feels noticeably more sluggish, but at least the Wigo makes full use of its limited powertrain. In terms of handling, it’s responsive and easy to maneuver around town. However, push the Wigo just that extra bit, and you’ll start to feel its low-level limits. You can actually hear your inner Captain Kirk yelling to Scotty to give the Wigo “all she’s got” only to get this response: “But she’s going to blowwwwww”. Second, the super light steering and copious amount of body roll don’t exactly help the it through switchbacks. Likewise, the slush box draws a huge penalty to the Wigo’s fuel efficiency, dropping to a surprisingly low 9.82 km/L.
Fortunately, the Grand i10 doesn’t have the same “one trick pony” attitude that affects the Wigo. Though it’s designed primarily for high-density urban settings as well, its performance offers much more flexibility. In the city, the Grand i10 feels remarkably comfortable. It manages to isolate things like unwanted noise and vibration very well to the point it feels like a car a class or two higher. It also rides through the harshest of bumps way better than the Wigo. With an additional 200-cc of displacement and one more cylinder, the Grand i10 doesn’t have any of the rickety noises. The 87 horsepower and 119 Nm of torque feel more if the basis is purely by the “seat of the pants”. Still, the Grand i10 isn’t perfect. The steering is actually much vaguer than the Wigo’s, the brakes are extremely grabby (as in you’ll get caught out multiple times), and the outward visibility isn’t as good (especially with the thin side mirrors). But unlike the Wigo, the Grand i10 retains its composure and remains stable as city roads turn into highways. It feels more planted at higher speeds. As a passenger, it’s also much more refined and quieter (except for tire noise). The bigger engine also keeps the overall experience much more relaxed for everyone on-board. And get this, despite the bigger engine, the Grand i10 1.2 extracts more mileage out of every liter of unleaded: 11.49 km/L.
Winner: Hyundai Grand i10
Value for Money
Now, comes the most interesting bit of this comparison. Priced at P 534,000, the Toyota Wigo is affordable by any car buyer’s standard. It’s designed and engineered to fit the budget of a first-time car buyer and yet comes loaded with all the necessities you can think of. Compared to some of its Japanese and Korean rivals (present company not included), the top-of-the-line 1.0 G trim comes with all its exterior panels painted (most of its rivals will have unpainted plastic panels). Plus, it comes with dual SRS airbags, anti-lock brakes, and a touchscreen audio system that can hook up your Apple iPod, CD, DVD, and can even serve as a Bluetooth hands-free system. You even get front fog lamps and a nifty rear spoiler. Sure, you’ll have to live with a pillar-mounted antenna (an 80’s throwback) and body panels that have the rigidity (or should it be flexibility) of a thin metal sheet, but you can’t fault it for being priced at just a fraction above half-a-million.
On the other side, priced some 27 percent above the Wigo is the Grand i10. At P 728,000, it’s not anymore an affordable sub-B segment hatchback by anyone’s book. In fact, the added length and wheelbase makes it sit almost toe-to-toe with the Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris. Yet, it’s still smaller and with pricing so very close to the much bigger Japanese, it’s got to make up for it somewhere, right? Aside from the obvious, which is style, the Grand i10 makes up for it with more luxury amenities such as the push button engine start/stop, GPS navigation, tilt adjustable steering, 6-way adjustable driver’s seat, a cooled glove box, and power folding mirrors. But wait—doesn’t the P 648,000 Mitsubishi Mirage GLS have these features too (sans the power folding mirrors and chilled glove box). And it’s still some 11 percent cheaper than the Grand i10. The P 698,000 Grand i10 1.0 is much more palatable in terms of price, but it’s still 23 percent more expensive than the Wigo! In other words, for the added space, comfort, and refinement, you have to pay a hefty premium. In some cases, you might be better off cashing out on a slighter larger sub-compact.
Winner: Toyota Wigo
It’s fairly obvious that for both the Toyota Wigo and the Hyundai Grand i10, you get what you pay for. When Toyota makes the Wigo as a no-frills, no-nonsense car, they absolutely nailed it right. Yes, it’s got low mechanical limits, so it’s scary to bring outside the city; but enjoy it in its rightful environment and it’s a winner. It’s loaded with decent features that’ll surprise you. Still, the mechanicals simply need better refinement. Above all though, the main draw here is that it’s a P 534,000 Toyota. The last time there was a Toyota this affordable, it was in the late 1990’s. However, if you’re looking at getting one car and using it for the next five years or so, you’re better off with the Hyundai Grand i10. Indeed, it’s more expensive out of the box, but at least it offers much more solid mechanicals, more amenities, more space, and better fuel efficiency. The pricing certainly makes you look up towards larger sub-compacts (the Accent CRDi to name one), but as far as the Wigo versus Grand i10 is concerned, the Hyundai wins this one.
Winner: Hyundai Grand i10
2014 Hyundai Grand i10 vs 2014 Toyota Wigo
|Ownership||Grand i10 1.2||Wigo 1.0 G A/T|
|Body Type||5-door Hatchback|
|Engine / Drive||F/F||F/F|
|Under the Hood|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||I4||I3|
|BHP @ rpm||87 @ 6,000||65 @ 6,000|
|Nm @ rpm||119 @ 4,000||85 @ 3,600|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Gasoline / ~91||Gasoline / ~91|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||998||800|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, MacPherson Strut||Independent, MacPherson Strut|
|Rear Suspension||Torsion Beam Axle||Torsion Beam Axle|
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc||Vented Disc|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||No||No|
|Parking Sensors||Yes, Camera||No|
|Fog Lamps||Yes, Front||Yes, Front|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Tilt||Fixed|
|Steering Wheel Material||Urethane||Urethane|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes, 60/40||Yes, Bench|
|Power Door Locks||Yes||Yes|
|Power Mirrors||Yes, Fold||Yes|
|No. of Speakers||4||2|
|Steering Wheel Controls||Yes||No|