Text and photos by Chris Van Hoven
What do you get when you combine the promise of impeccable Toyota quality and sub-P600,000 prices on a car? You get a runaway success, which has aptly described the Toyota Wigo since its introduction in 2014. Leave it to Toyota to not rest on their laurels, however, as almost every aspect of the Toyota Wigo has been improved for 2017, transforming it to much more than just “the cheap college car”.
The Toyota Wigo’s exterior styling has been updated to fit more modern design aesthetics. It now features a prominent fascia with Toyota’s signature wide, gaping grille. Both bumpers and lights have been upgraded as well, together with a new hood and slicker-looking wheels. It’s a huge improvement over its predecessor, andthe Toyota Wigo is finally a car that entices buyers based on its styling alone, instead of the purely utilitarian aspects that are usually associated with it.
While the Wigo’s interior remaining largely the same as the previous iteration, Toyota has introduced several updates that improve on its refinement and functionality. The color scheme has been given a sportier touch, with orange piping on the seats and door panels. The door handles themselves have been updated, now featuring an L-type handle as opposed to the older looking rectangular one. The air-conditioning controls have been simplified to reflect a two-dial set up from the previous three, and the touchscreen has been updated as well, reflecting a faster, sharper interface than before.
Steering wheel controls have also been added, allowing even more convenient ways to manage the infotainment system’s track skipping and volume. The fixed-column steering wheel means it can’t be adjusted, but it was still relatively easy to find a comfortable driving position. The interior updates aren’t purely aesthetic, as it genuinely feels that Toyota has upped the build quality by a significant level, something the entry-level Wigo sorely needed.
Perhaps the most significant change to the Toyota Wigo lies under the hood, with a new 1KR-VE engine that now features VVT-i technology. The 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine has slightly improved outputs from before, with 66-hp and 89-Nm of torque; but more than the slight boost in power and torque, this new engine is also quieter and more refined, with very little in the way of unwanted vibrations. The Wigo’s pep is best enjoyed around city environments, where its small size allows you to easily weave in and out of traffic or tight spots. On the highway, the Wigo surprises us further by easily hitting 100 km/h when you need it to, even with a full load of passengers. The Wigo does have its limits however, and might experience some difficulty lugging five passengers and all their luggage up steep hills and inclines for prolonged periods. Nevertheless, the Toyota Wigo retains much of its fun driving characteristics, whether in the city or out of town. Besides being a peppy performer, the new engine returns impressive fuel economy figures, at 14.5 kilometers per liter on combined highway and city driving conditions.
Starting at P564,000 for the M/T G variant and topping at P599,000 for the A/T version brings it dangerously close to the base model 1.3-liter Vios M/T. However, you end up sacrificing a lot of important features going up to the Vios, such as anti-lock brakes, keyless entry, and the Navi-ready display. Once again, the Toyota Wigo proves to be an enticing option for first-time car owners, and for those looking for a quick and fun way to get around the city.