Toy­ota Wigo

A last­ing im­pres­sion this time

Top Gear (Philippines) - - Shakedown - Words by Niky Ta­mayo Photography by Chris­tian Halili

The new Wigo fixes many of its pre­de­ces­sor’s sins

The Wigo’s looks be­lie its cheap price. It does away with the old, ill-fit­ting grille-head­light combo for a sharper front end. The rear sports new tail­light ex­ten­sions and a sharper bumper. Though not en­tail­ing any ma­jor sheet­metal changes, the new look should boost sales 10% all by it­self.

There’s a new A/C con­trol panel, but as it loses the vent se­lec­tor switch (no more foot or wind­shield op­tions), I wouldn’t con­sider it an up­grade.

The most vis­i­ble sign of cost cut­ting is in the fit and fin­ish. Untrimmed ex­cess from in­jec­tion mold­ing leave sharp edges in the plas­tic un­der the dash and around the air vents. It’s a far cry from the qual­ity of the lo­cally built Vios.

At least the new touch­screen head unit fi­nally has ac­cept­able touch re­sponse and sound. Bet­ter than the Mi­rage’s, if I’m be­ing hon­est, though ra­dio re­cep­tion, even with the an­tenna up, is poor. While Blue­tooth teth­er­ing is fid­dly, in­te­grated steer­ing con­trols keep your hands on the wheel and off your phone.

On the road, the new car feels stead­ier and bet­ter-damped. New Bridge­stone Ecopia tires pro­vide a much qui­eter ride than the old Cham­piro Ecos, while also im­prov­ing grip and con­fi­dence. De­spite the strangely heavy steer­ing, the new Wigo is al­most... wait for it... ex­cit­ing to drive.

The most im­por­tant change to the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, how­ever, is the en­gine. The new 1KR-VE gains vari­able valve tim­ing over the old 1KR-DE. It’s still no pow­er­house, but the changes have a dra­matic ef­fect on econ­omy: De­spite the lazy, long-legged four-speed auto, it man­ages 9-11km/L in traf­fic, (+1 over the old car) and nearly 25km/L at 80kph on the high­way—a jump of nearly 6km/L over the last Wigo I tested. Granted, the Mi­rage and the Cele­rio can do over 26km/L at the same speed, but if the econ­omy is this good with the an­cient slush­box, the five-speed man­ual should be right on the money.

Yes, the su­per­mini seg­ment is fi­nally a three-way fight. Where the old Wigo sold on price alone, the new one fi­nally goes some way to­ward jus­ti­fy­ing the Toy­ota badge and a higher price. Some nig­gles re­main, but we have con­fi­dence that Toy­ota will sort those out soon enough. There’s a rea­son the Ja­panese car­maker is num­ber one.

The new look is a far cry from the old one

Tiller-mounted au­dio con­trols is a ma­jor up­grade

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.