Small car, big upgrades
When the Wigo first landed in the Philippines a decade ago, it was essentially a new segment for the brand. While Toyota did sell the Yaris hatchback around the same time (and the Starlet all those years ago), Toyota isn't exactly known for making microcars like the Wigo. Heck, they had to get help from Daihatsu to bring the Wigo (known as the Agya over in Indonesia) here in the country.
Fast forward 10 years later, the humble hatchback from Toyota has become a common sight on Philippine roads. With an affordable price tag, a fuel-efficient engine, and a decent-sized cabin, buyers looking for an affordable car were attracted to the pint-sized Wigo.
While it was able to become a household name just like the Vios, the tiny hatchback wasn't exactly known for its driving characteristics and riding comfort. Yes, Toyota eventually introduced updated versions of the hatchback through the years to make it more refined on the road. What Toyota needed was a new-generation model which finally arrived late last year.
This is the 2024 Toyota Wigo, and we've been given the keys to the top-of-the-line 1.0 G CVT. Will it be able to impress through the many upgrades it received?
First and foremost, the looks. The design of the first generation hatchback wasn’t exactly its best feature. Yes, it had a cutesy look to it but doesn't have much anything else going for it. This time, however, Toyota decided to change things up a notch as the all-new Wigo looks more aggressive.
The front fascia gets a pair of thin LED headlights and a bigger grille that appears to have been inspired by Lexus. There are no faux air intakes on the bumper as Toyota decided to put a pair of LED light signatures instead which give the hatchback a bit more character. Also worth mentioning is the chrome trim on top of the grille which blends nicely with the headlights.
So the front end received a sportier makeover. But it is perhaps the rear that gets the most drastic change. Immediately grabbing my attention are the retro-style taillights which are perhaps my favorite part of the hatchback. Combined with a more stylish tailgate, a roof spoiler, and a more curvaceous bumper, the all-new Wigo trades cutesy looks for a more mature look. I'm also glad that Toyota decided to install a proper latch to the hatch (pun not intended), meaning you no longer have to find your keys just to open the tailgate when you need to load or grab stuff from the back.
All in all, I have to commend the designers for giving the Wigo a fresh new look for its second generation. Did I mention the hatchback looks zesty in this nice shade of Orange Metallic? Makes me want to grab a can of Royal (or Fanta).
Open the doors and those who have been inside the all-new Avanza, Veloz, and Raize will find a familiar-looking cabin. Since the Wigo also sits on the DNGA platform, it’s not surprising it shares some (or most) cabin components from its platform siblings. From the dashboard to the digital aircon panel, aircon vents, hazard button, center console, and gear selector, those with keen eyes (and familiar hands) will find the Wigo’s interior well, familiar.
Not saying it’s a bad thing per se. It’s actually a good thing because it makes for an ergonomic dashboard where everything is where you expect it to be. Toyota (or Daihatsu in this case) didn’t try to reinvent the dashboard but they did spruce up the overall look of it while also making the interior more user-friendly which is always a good thing.
Infotainment comes in the form of an 8-inch touchscreen media display that supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. While I do like the fact that smartphone connectivity is available, I’m not a fan of how the automaker placed the USB port on the touchscreen panel. I would have opted that the port itself was placed near the 12V power socket so that it doesn’t clutter up the dashboard with long cables when you’re using it.
The Wigo may be small but it packs one heck of an A/C unit. Despite having no tint, the air-conditioning was able to cool the cabin easily even on hot days. Heck, there were times I had to lower the fan speed or raise the temperature ever so slightly just so that I wouldn’t freeze. I also have to mention that the Wigo delivers (surprisingly) decent audio quality via its 4 speakers. It’s no surround sound but they’re able to deliver.
The heavy use of hard (i.e.) cheap plastic may be an issue for some. But you have to remember that the Wigo is built to meet a certain price point; meaning it must be affordable still. Sure, the scratchy nature of the plastic leaves something to be desired, but at least it’s the kind of plastic that will last several years of use (or abuse). The black fabric seats are normal-looking but I was surprised to see that the driver’s seat comes with a seat height adjust - something like the Honda Brio only wishes it could get. Unfortunately, this is only standard in the range-topping G variant.
Thanks to its bigger dimensions, it doesn't feel as cramped anymore. Sure, it's still a small hatchback but at least the driver will no longer feel like they're (literally) rubbing elbows with the front passenger. Even the space at the back has been improved thanks to the growth spurt.
Under the hood, the Wigo continues to be powered by a 1.0-liter three-cylinder 1KR-VE engine with VVT. It makes a humble 67 PS at 6000 rpm along with a respectable 89 Nm of torque at 4400 rpm. While we wish the all-new Wigo could have gotten the 1.2-liter WA-VE engine like the ones in Indonesia, perhaps TMP was weary about increasing the Wigo’s price, hence sticking to the 1.0L inline-three. There’s also the fact that the Raize already comes with the WA-VE engine.
So the 1.0L engine has been carried over to the second generation hatchback. We’re happy to report, however, that the 4-speed automatic has (finally) been replaced with a CVT. With the automatic torque converter gone, the driving dynamics of this particular hatchback have changed which we’ll get to in a bit.
Since this is the top-of-the-line G variant, all you need to do to start the Wigo is have the key fob in your pocket, push the start button, and you’re on your way. We’re already familiar with the 1.0L KR-VE and we know that it’s one of the most fuel-efficient hatchbacks in the country. However, we felt that the 4-speed auto it used to have robbed so much power from the engine. But as we mentioned earlier, that is no longer the case.
With a new CVT driving the front wheels, the Wigo is now lighter on its feet and is more eager to kick up the revs. And with the transmission not robbing so much power from the engine, it’s even more efficient than ever. Heck, I was able to average upwards of 12 km/L to and from work between Marikina City and Quezon City. On lighter traffic conditions, I was even able to get up to 13 km/L in the city which makes it as efficient as most hybrids.
Out on the open road, the CVT was able to give the Wigo the ability to return 20 km/L at 90 km/h. Ease up on the throttle and the hatchback can easily return up to 22 km/L without breaking a sweat. While it may be more fuel-efficient than its predecessors, it only comes with a 36-liter tank. It’s 3 liters more than the previous generation but the small fuel tank means you’ll have to remember where the nearest gas stations are when you’re on a road trip out of town.
The previous generation Wigo was infamously known for its “tunog lata” cabin feel. That’s a given since the hatchback is Toyota’s most affordable hatchback after all. But thanks to the DNGA platform and the use of newer materials, the Wigo now substantially delivers a better riding feel on both long and short trips. Speaking of ride quality, it was neither bad nor good, just average although there’s a degree of stiffness in the back but that’s a given for hatchbacks that need to carry luggage.
As for its handling, it’s no hot hatch, but since it only tips the scales at around 900 kg, it’s quite agile despite being an econobox. It doesn’t have aggressive steering but turn the wheel in and the Wigo just follows through. The electronic power steering is geared for comfort but its light steering makes it easy to maneuver through tight city streets, narrow alleys, and zigzag parking lots.
While it seems like I’m all praises for the all-new Wigo, there are still several things that could be improved. For starters, better Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH) deadening could be applied, especially in keeping powertrain/drivetrain noise at bay. There are times that it sounds like the engine and CVT are right inside with you. On the flip side, I'm happy to report that outside noise from loud jeepneys and motorcycles has been improved.
Some parts of the cabin also rattle at times when you go over uneven roads. For example, the tonneau cover for the luggage compartment can be quite annoying if you’re on a bumpy road. Then there’s the driver seat which is comfortable but I do wish it had a thicker seat cushion as I find myself sinking into the seat itself on long drives.
Another thing I wish the Wigo had are 60:40 split rear seats. I know that this is a budget-friendly hatchback but this kind of feature should already be standard in most cars nowadays. Should you need to carry plenty of items but still need to carry one or two persons in the back, they’re better off riding in another car.
With a price tag of PHP 729K, the range-topping Wigo 1.0G CVT is the most affordable mini hatch against its closest top-of-the-line rivals, the Suzuki Celerio AGS (PHP 754K) and the Honda Brio RS (PHP 863K). While the Wigo may not have the performance of the Brio or the ingenious AGS transmission, it does bounce back with the level of improvements and a growth spurt.
Yes, there's the Suzuki S-Presso which retails for less at PHP 660K, but it's a smaller vehicle compared to the Wigo. It also has a smaller 26-liter tank which means it has less range than the Toyota Wigo.
All in all, Toyota was able to learn from the previous generation and made the necessary upgrades and refinements to the latest generation hatchback. It's still an affordable hatchback, but at least it doesn't feel like an entry-level vehicle anymore. I won't be surprised to see a lot of this on the road.