The fact that Toyota Wigo was crowned with the title of the Best Micro Car in the Philippines for the year 2014-15 clearly depicts that this cute little Toyota car enjoys a customer base that no other hatchback has been able to garner in the Philippines automotive market. Calling the Wigo a perfect ‘people's car’ can in no terms be marked as an understatement, as it has constantly been ranked in the top 5 best selling car list in the Philippines. Be it customer satisfaction or value for money factor, the Wigo has trumped all its competitors, by a huge margin.
Toyota Wigo made its world debut at the 2012 Indonesia International Motor Show (IIMS), as an answer to the Indonesian government’s Low Cost Green Car (LCGC) initiative. This hatchback was made by the combined efforts of Toyota and Daihatsu, and is currently on sale in different markets, under different name plates. In Indonesia, it is simultaneously sold under two badges, the Toyota Agya and the Daihatsu Ayla, while Malaysian customers get it rebadged as the Perodua Axia. In January 2014, Toyota Motors Philippines (TMP) announced their plans to bring this popular hatchback with an Philippine-exclusive name, the Toyota Wigo.
One look at the Toyota Wigo makes it apparent that the company’s designers were asked to sketch a car that would appeal to a wide spectrum of audience. As a result, the Wigo gets looks that would neither please, nor offend anyone. Minimalistic cuts and creases give it a smooth profile, while the compact dimensions are apparent when you see it from the side. Since their aren’t any significant bolstering and contours added on any of the body panels, it is expected to age well over a large period of time.
The front gets a smiling character line that blends from the front grille to the headlamps, while the simplicity gets contrasted by chubby and triangular chrome-surrounds for the fog lamps. Chrome inserts have been used across the entire exterior of the car, including a chrome strip running along the width of the front grille and air dam.
Chrome treatment gets a bit more apparent as we move to the side, as the Wigo gets chromed door handles and side moulding. While this looks good on lighter colors, on darker shades the chrome inserts look a bit out of place and don’t integrate seamlessly with the car’s overall character. While the entry-level 1.0E variant gets 13-inch steel rims with wheel cap, the 1.0G trim has been blessed with funky looking 14-inch alloys.
The tail end gets a relatively sporty profile, as the roof mounted spoiler gets integrated high mounted LED stop lamp. The tailgate feature minimal design cues, and adorns the Toyota insignia and the Wigo badge, both finished in chrome. Simply styled taillights blend with the rear bumper to provide a continuity to the car’s profile.
Dimensionally, the Toyota Wigo is the smallest car in its segment. But this can in no terms be stated as a disadvantage, as the folks at Toyota have managed to optimize interior space while keeping the exterior dimensions compact. This not only ensures an easy to drive character, but also helps to park at tight spots in our crowded cities.
With an extremely budget-friendly price tag, we just can’t expect a premium interior from the Toyota Wigo. And the above sentence is verified as soon as you enter the car. The all-black dashboard has been designed while keeping utility and practicality on a much higher priority, as compared to look and feel. Materials used are hard to touch, some parts just won’t last the entire life of the car, and the oomph factor that every car should have is certainly missing. But all this doesn’t matter, since the Wigo doesn’t really lack on features which would be desired by its target audience. If you are comfortable with the exterior designing of this tiny Toyota hatch, the interiors won’t disappoint you either.
The exteriors make it apparent that the Toyota Wigo is a tall-boy design, meaning that it has a higher roof height than normal hatches. And hence, one would expect that ingress and egress in the Wigo would be as easy as that in some of the crossovers. But the lower seat height does make it a pain to board the car, especially for elderly people. But one you are in, their is simply nothing that you could complain about, if you can just ignore the quality of materials used.
The 3-spoke steering wheel is a joy to hold, and gets aptly sized thumb contours at the 10-2 position. The circular horn pad is surrounded by silver accents which successfully break the monotonicity of the cabin. Similar silver inserts can be found in the centre console and around the gear lever. The instrument cluster gets a 3-pod design, with the speedometer in the centre, tachometer at the left, and a digital MID and warning lights at the right. The MID can depict various parameters like time, distance covered, and also has an odometer and fuel gauge.
In terms of features on offer, the Wigo clearly justify the price tag it is currently retailing at. Manual Air Conditioning is standard across all variants, as is the driver and passenger side airbags. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), though, comes only with the top-end 1.0G variant. Entertainment needs of occupants too have been taken care of, as the base 1.0E trim gets a 1DIN music system with 2 speakers, which is compatible with FM, AM, USB, MP3, and AUX inputs. Meanwhile, the top-end 1.0G Wigo gets a 2DIN 6-inch system, with CD support and 4 speakers.
Move to the rear, and you will surely be amazed by the amount of space on offer, especially keeping in mind the Wigo’s compact exterior dimensions. There's enough legroom for a 6-footer, while the broad bench ensure that 3 people on board won't be a squeeze. The taller roof too is a boon for headroom, and the larger windows ensure that the cabin doesn’t feel claustrophobic, despite the dark color theme.
Toyota has equipped the Wigo hatchback with a 1.0-litre in-line 3-cylinder engine, that is capable of generating 65 PS of power and a peak torque of 85 Nm. Though these output figures may sound a bit lower as compared to competition, the fact that the Wigo weighs just 800 kgs makes things acceptable, since its power-to-weight ratio is at par with other 1-litre hatches. This engine can be opted with either a 5-speed manual gearbox in the base 1.0E trim, or a 4-speed automatic in the higher 1.0G variant.
Step on the throttle, and it is immediately apparent that the Wigo’s powermill has been tuned for mileage and not performance. Off the line acceleration can be best termed as leisurely, as the Wigo just doesn’t pick speed with ease. In the manual variant, one needs to ensure that the car is in the perfect gear for making overtaking maneuvers or attacking those traffic gaps in the city. But once the Wigo crosses the 30 kmph speed, it all becomes a lot more comforting. The engine delivers performance in a linear manner, while the automatic transmission makes driving in city an easy job.
But where the Wigo really disappoints is in the fuel economy parameter, especially in the automatic variant. The first two gears of the Wigo AT can propel the car to a max speed of 60 kmph and 100 kmph respectively, making it apparent that the automatic gearbox has been given longer gears. While this is a boon for driveability, it simultaneously acts as a bane for fuel economy, as the Toyota Wigo mileage is rated at just around 8-10 kmpl in the city. The only way to extract good economy from this powertrain is to continuously cruise around the 70 kmph speed, which is highly rare in our traffic conditions.
For an entry level hatchback, the Toyota Wigo has been sufficiently loaded with safety tech that can protect the occupants in case of a crash. The chassis has been designed to maximize crumple zones and minimize cabin intrusion. Moreover, all variants of the Wigo come with driver and passenger side airbags, while ABS has been provided in the 1.0G variant. Both front and rear seats further get three point seatbelt, with the former featuring pre-tensioners for added safety.
It is obvious that the Toyota Wigo doesn’t really have any ground-breaking factor that can justify the immense success it has received in the Philippines market. But terming it a jack of all traits wouldn’t be an understatement, as the Wigo packs in everything that is desired from an entry-level hatch. And at that mouth-watering price point, you just can’t get a better package on offer in the present market scenario.
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The Wigo is a no-nonsense city hatchback. It surely isn’t the most beautiful car in its segment, neither is it the best to drive. But as an overall package, there is simply nothing that can beat the Wigo. Toyota’s reliability is an added plus. It would have been great if Toyota would have given the Wigo better interiors, but at one can not complain at this price point.
13 of 15 users found this review helpful.
I bought a Totoya Wigo 1.0 Liter MT due to tight parking constraints at work. I find the Micro-Car superior on the level of delivering preppy power in the city. The Suzuki Celerio 1.0 Liter Micro Car in my garage delivers even more power, for less cost.
3 of 3 users found this review helpful.