Thursday, May 18, 2017

First Drive: 2017 Toyota Wigo 1.0 G A/T


With a doubt, the launch of the Wigo in 2014 was a double-edged sword for Toyota in the Philippines. On one hand, if they get it right, it sees them expand to a new market dominated by Korean, Indian, and even Chinese car brands. On the other hand, get it wrong and you can bet these first-time car buyers will swear off owning a Toyota for the rest of their lives. Thankfully for Toyota (and tough luck for everyone else), it was a huge success. It moved more than 40,000 units and paved the way to first-time Toyota ownership for a lot of happy campers. And even before its rivals could respond, here comes a new one.

Technically, the 2017 Wigo is refreshed model. Yet, despite some carryover components, it’s been effectively re-skinned with a new hood, bumpers, mirrors, lights, and alloy wheels. The Wigo’s angularity has been played effectively here, dialing up its Angry Birds look the process. It stands out more now, especially in this loud Orange Mica Metallic hue while still adding some familial Toyota design cues here and there.




The Wigo’s story of mixing the new with the tested continues inside. The dashboard is the same, but almost everything else is tweaked or refined. The color scheme alone has been uplifted with new orange pin striping on the seats and door panels as well as darker silver paneling on the center console. Then, the instrument cluster gets clearer numerals and a gear indicator for the A/T variant. After that, the stalks and switches have been swapped for ones that offer better tactile feel while the A/C controls have been changed to a dual rotary knob set-up from the previous three-knob one. Finally, the infotainment system is also new, offering snappier responses and a sharper display along with steering wheel mounted controls.

The aesthetic changes done to the Wigo is a great way to signal its biggest change: the engine. Adopting VVT-i technology, this 1.0-liter 3-cylinder lump gets a small boost in both power (+1 horsepower) and torque (+4 Nm). But the story doesn’t just start and end with the outputs. Compared to the previous powerplant, the 2017 model feels noticeably smoother. There are still some bouts of unevenness due to the odd cylinder count, but for the most part, it’s more ironed out than the original. It’s also quieter as well, but that’s likely due to the added sound deadening. And speaking about weight, the Wigo gains 8 percent more mass (60 kilograms). Nonetheless, overall performance doesn’t seem hampered even with 3 people aboard.




The Wigo is still best experienced in tight city confines where its small stature becomes an invaluable asset. The fixed steering column and limited adjustment to the driver’s seat requires some fidgeting to get comfy, but once adjusted for, it’s rewarding because of its extreme pointability and maneuverability. The steering requires more turns lock-to-lock than one would expect, but it never once hampered its ability to take on a three-point turn in just two. 

With this drive done around the traffic-free roads around Siargao, one would expect the Wigo to suffer greatly from a common city car weakness: high-speed touring. Thankfully, that’s not the case. Commanding it to accelerate quickly or gain speed at a whim still poses a challenge, but maintaining that speed is no problem. Plus, the revised suspension geometry helps in making it feel more planted and stable while still managing to keep the well-balanced ride. It feels largely pliant through most road surfaces barring large ruts. Steering it through left-right-left corners quickly lets out some understeer and body roll, but nothing that lessens the confidence in this little car.



Prices have gone up on the 2017 Wigo with it starting at P 526,000 and topping out with this 1.0 G A/T at P 599,000. At that price range, it looks considerably close to the base Vios, but it’s worth noting that this small Toyota comes packs all sorts of convenience features. Apart from the new VVT-i equipped engine and aesthetic changes, the Wigo also arrives with 3-point ELR seatbelts for front and rear occupants, dual SRS airbags, and anti-lock brakes all as standard equipment.

In the end, that’s exactly how Toyota will end up trumping the competition once again with the 2017 Wigo. The 2014 model laid down the notion that you can actually have a new car that’s easy to drive and own backed up by Toyota’s bullet-proof reputation. The new Wigo is set to continue that trend. Historically, Toyota was content with introducing just bits and pieces of new tech with each model upgrade. Understanding that would-be vehicle buyers are increasingly spoilt for choices, the Wigo breaks that mold and offers an entire slew of changes this year. It’s these slew of changes, upgrades, and additions that’s bound to keep it a car’s length away from the competition.



29 comments:

  1. Have they fixed the rattling issue sa engine support? I heard a lot of Wigo owners complain about this recurring problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The unit we drove was new... So it didn't have the rattling that you mentioned. It does have much less vibration than it did before.

      Delete
  2. Rattling issue from previous generation Wigo is irritating. Sometimes it crops up on units less than a year old. Casa does not seem to have a solution to the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Still no split fold on the rear bench?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Even Toyota is too embarassed to sell it anywhere but third world countries. But since Filipinos​ are too enamored with Jap brands ESP Toyota it sells like hotcakes here nevermind it's really mediocre. Basta me touchscreen ok na

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree that we (Filipinos) are have so much trust with Japanese brands but you don't need to judge the choice that they are making when buying a car as they have different reasons.

      note: CRV and city owner here.

      Delete
    2. Actually only Toyota and Honda have above average quality rankings in the US. If they Toyota attempts to sell this crap there its stellar reputation will surely tank

      Delete
    3. That's because this model is intended for developing countries.

      If you did your research, you'd know that this was originally part of the Indonesian government's Low Cost Green Car program that Toyota participated in.

      People buy these because they want affordable mobility -and they get what they pay for.

      It all centers around COST - so please don't set your expectations that high.

      Delete
    4. Because this is a car for developing countries. You are certainly autistic to think that an Avalon or Sienna is going to sell super well here.

      Delete
    5. Mitsubishi is confident enough to sell the mirage in more developed countries and kia with pics to as well while Toyota does not think it's not good enough

      Delete
    6. And how is Mitsubishi's G4 doing in the US so far? NOT so good. The G4 engine is too weak for American highways. The Chevy Sonic, Nissan Versa or Ford Fiesta offers far more than the Mitsubishi.

      Delete
    7. Its an irony because they sell a small gas guzzler to a developing nation where gas is expensive.

      Delete
    8. Small micro cars will never sell well in the us, just look at mazda but the i10 sells really well in europe.. too bad hari priced it out of range for our market

      Delete
  5. ^Quality between Toyota and Honda, we'd go for the latter... but the brio is ugly in terms of looks...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Toyota quality? This is a Daihatsu!

    If you want Toyota Quality go with there global nameplates - Corolla, Camry, Rav4.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yung JDM version most now are sourced from Thailand not consistent quality unlike more mechanized Japanese plants

      Delete
    2. "Toyota quality? This is a Daihatsu!"

      You are a funny guy... Daihatsu is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota... they have a say in their quality assurance!

      Delete
    3. Kaya NGA binili ng Toyota dahil Na bankruptcy due to quality problems. Fyi Daihatsu doesn't follow Toyota's high cost supply system. Maybe that's​ why our wigo is the only one branded as a Toyota

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Don't expect with the fuel consumption expect it as before 6-8km/L on city and 10-12km on highways 14km/L if you really try hard but unlikely. However,you'll fare better in idle traffic though because the engine is small with 3 cyl, and sips less gas than its 4 pot counterparts.

      If you ave the budget, then aim for a Vios with the same gas consumption.

      BTW, Toyotas are known to be gas guzzlers - imagine this Wigo with a struggling small engine, you'll end up stepping on the gas harder than usual.

      Delete
  8. ^Why does car reviewers always have more "artistic shots" than "technical" ones? Why not just post the basic 360-deg street-level view... a technical review paired with technical photos will give prospective buyers (like OFWs) better insight... coz in the real world, we wont be looking at this car with our chin smacked on the pavement... just my 2 cents

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Because it's a first drive feature. When we do our in-depth reviews, we'll revert to a more technical style.

      Delete
  9. That's what brochures and Google are for.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Does it still use an antiquated 4AT?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Toyota should have just rebranded the Perodua Axia, which is basically the same as the Wigo but with better interior and exterior trim befitting of the price increase.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Its a shit car. Mazda 3 is a better choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'd be better w/ Wigo, just suits you.

      Delete