Text: Inigo S. Roces / Photos: Inigo S. Roces | posted April 22, 2014 14:34
The Starting Point
It's hard to ignore the arrival of the new Wigo. With ads everywhere and a price that's very hard to ignore, it's quickly become the buzz around the motoring world and could very conceivably shake up the budding small car segment.
For size and price comparison, the Wigo competes directly against the Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback, the Hyundai Eon and Chevrolet Spark.
The Wigo is a product of the Indonesian Low Cost Green Car scheme on a platform shared with the Daihatsu Ayla and while it may seem like a knee-jerk reaction to the growing small car market, was actually years in the making as noted by Toyota Philippines President Michinobu Sugata.
It was renamed Wigo (pronounced, 'We go') likely to allude to the Toyota Aygo (pronounced, 'I go') in Europe. Despite being a newcomer to this segment, Toyota has seemed to have done its homework, pricing the Wigo very competitively with equipment at par, if not better than the leading rivals.
It's hard not to warm up to the car with a façade that resembles a smiling face. Headlights are mounted high while the bumper itself seems to form a grin. Foglamps come as standard (a rarity in this segment) and mounted far in the corners. No black bumper variants here. Body-colored bumeprs are standard across the range with lots of chrome trim thrown in. Wheels are 14 inch alloys with a full-size spare behind.
Inside, the Wigo has a no-fuss interior that feels broader than most cars in its class. There's quite a lot of headroom, even for six-footers. Spaces for bottles and curious abound all throughout the car. Behind, the rear bench can easily accommodate three passengers with legroom to spare. The bench can also be easily folded down as one piece if more space is required. The rear seat belts can be fastened to clips on the side to keep them out of the way. The cargo area is deep and capable of swallowing two overnight bags even with a full-sized spare hiding under the floor. Should you need to change a tire, not that the jack and tools are found under the front passenger seat.
It features a complete instrument cluster with a tachometer and digital multi-info display. The fuel gauge is all digital and the whole thing is illuminated in orange. Over in the center is a large LCD screen that serves as the entertainment system. It's a similar AVT system to that found in the Mirage. It has a touch screen and SD card slot. A USB port to connect an iPod or MP3 player is hidden in the glove box (this may be an option).
Sound is routed to just two speakers in front. It's nothing great with some buzzing at higher volumes. Thankfully, the entertainment system is upgradable. There are provisions for speakers on the rear doors. The system itself is also navigation ready with the antenna and maps available as an added option. That SD card slot is for the GPS maps should the buyer choose to avail of the option. It also doubles as a source for music files for the entertainment system.
Simple dials serve as the controls for the air-conditioning. Power locks and power windows also come as standard for this variant (even for the back doors). There's no power lock button to speak of, but pressing down the peg on the driver's side door does the trick.
Powering the vehicle is a 1.0 liter three-cylinder engine. It makes 65PS and 85Nm of torque, which is par for the segment and is paired to a four-speed auto that drives the front wheels.
Be warned that the automatic stick shift feels a bit light and is a little too easy to shift down all the way into the lower gears. At night, it also might be a bit difficult to tell which drive mode it's in as the orange indicator on its base becomes difficult to read and is diffused by the green illumination.
Nevertheless, around the city, the Wigo is an easy drive. Despite being an automatic, there's lots of power on tap in the low revs, allowing the driver to cover those gaps in traffic rather sprightly. It will accelerate to 60 km/h rather quickly. Power winds down above 60km/h but is more than capable of reaching 120 km/h on the highway. It should do well as both a city and out-of-town car with more than enough power to handle two passengers and their bags.
Over a week, driving to work with heavy traffic, the Wigo returned an admirable consumption of 9.5 km/L. It does well on the highway too with 13 km/L while travelling at an average of 100 km/h.
The only point where the Wigo falls short is the sound system that could greatly benefit from a second pair of speakers.
Other than that, the Wigo is priced very competitively, undercutting some more established rivals. It meets all the basic requirements of the daily commute, being very fuel efficient and very easy to maneuver and park. This car should leave first-time owners very little to worry about and makes for a great stepping stone to their next vehicle.