Inigo S. Roces / Brent Co | May 23, 2017 16:23
Surf, sand and land with the updated Toyota Wigo
When it first arrived in our market in 2014, the Toyota Wigo definitely wasn’t the first small car around. In fact, it was rather late to the party, raining on the parade of the Mitsubishi Mirage, Hyundai Eon, and Kia Picanto.
These days, the segment that seemed like an afterthought to most major auto manufacturers is now one of their top-selling. The small car market is seemingly dominated by the Hyundai Eon, Toyota Wigo and Mitsubishi Mirage, with competitors like the Suzuki Celerio, Honda Brio, and Chevrolet Spark also eager for a slice.
And as the Excise Tax for automobiles looms on the horizon, it’s this segment that stands to benefit the most, seeing the most nominal change in price. As such, it’s rather timely that Toyota has updated the Wigo, prepping for what could be raised expectations from both long-time car owners and those that could be looking into this segment in the future.
It’s no surprise that Toyota gave us our first real taste of the Wigo in Siargao island, the Philippine’s surfing capital and a charming rural isle unspoiled by the heavy traffic, high rises and congestion progress tends to bring.
The island has already been enjoying small cars for some time, with some older Wigos already on the island. They are perfect for the narrow highways and towns dotted around the island, boasting of regular 14 km/L consumption – a necessity considering there are just two fuel stations on the island.
For 2017, the Wigo still retains many of its charms to some much needed improvement in many areas. To start off, the façade has been altered, moving the grille lower on the bumper, enlarging the lights, and giving it a more tuner feel. This is evident from the 86-inspired front and side skirts, with faux vents at the rear bumper that house the reflector. Up top is a new spoiler with third brake lamp and taillights that now stretch across the tailgate. New alloy wheels also show off the car’s improved presence.
Inside, the interior stays fairly familiar, but the subtle improvements are where it’s needed most. For one, the new multi-info display now includes a gear indicator for the automatic — something the old Wigo direly needed due to poor illumination in the shifter. It also integrates range and more trip functions.
Over in the center stack, the touch screen stereo is integrated more flushly into the dash. The climate controls have been cleaned up to just two dials now, though the hazard light switch seems a bit oddly placed between them. Seats now feature a more vibrant stripe pattern. And for those that enjoy tunes while driving, steering-mounted stereo controls are a welcome addition.
Like we mentioned earlier, it’s in the refinement where the Wigo has improved the most. The old 1.0-liter 3-cylinder has now been upgraded with VVT-i tech, allowing it to rev more smoothly and deliver just a tad more power (+1 hp and +4 Nm). The interior has received improved sound isolation, making it quieter in traffic or highways drives.
Most appreciated of all are the tweaks done to the chassis. Toyota has radically improved the steering system. While there is still no adjustment for the wheel itself, the new electric power steering is weighted more heavily, this allows the driver to turn a little more progressively and smoothly compared to before. The suspension also feels smoother, taking on bumps fairly well, and far more stable when cruising at highway speeds.
An unintended detour in the town of General Luna, in Siargao found us suddenly on a very rough road. Nevertheless, the Wigo was high enough to clear the rocks and still returned a quite pliant ride.
Finally, safety has been addressed as well with the 1.0 G A/T variant fitting 3-point ELR seatbelts for front and rear occupants, dual SRS airbags, and anti-lock brakes all as standard equipment.
With more standard equipment, this brings the price up to PhP 526,000 for the base model and up to PhP 599,000 for the 1.0 G A/T.
All told, apart from its new look, the Wigo hasn’t changed that much, with many improvements focused on making it more appealing to more seasoned car buyers that demand more out of the vehicle The changes are hoped to broaden the Wigo’s appeal to even more buyers, making it an easy choice whether you live in laid back Siargao, or congested Manila.