The Toyota Wigo TRD S A/T is affordable and brilliant
The Toyota Wigo is an important vehicle in today’s mobility landscape: the need to isolate and distance oneself in these pandemic times is very real.
Driving your own private vehicle gives you the safety of total isolation from strangers, the convenience to come and go as you please, and the added benefit of shielding yourself from the elements as the month of May in particular has been proving itself to be quite interesting due to the intense heat and humidity on some days, and sudden downpours the day after. We cannot just always stay home as many, especially our medical front-liners and other Authorized Person Outside of Residence or APORs need to be physically present at work to help ensure our way of life is preserved, the economy is running smoothly even at the bare minimum, and law and order is observed by all.
So what does the Wigo have to do with this?
The recently face-lifted Wigo seeks to serve today’s motoring zeitgeist, providing a basic, affordable yet highly capable and surprisingly enjoyable personal mobility. And let me tell you, it feels surprisingly invigorating driving something so small yet so capable in the city, on the expressway and on winding mountain roads. The sensation and thrill of speed is more felt, but in a good way. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this much fun, accomplishment and satisfaction in a car in the 60-90km/h speed range.
While I did end up with a not-so-basic TRD S A/T version, the range-topper of the model at P700,000, the basic 1.0 M/T Wigo starts at P568,000 before any special promos or discounts. For anyone with a monthly net income of at least P50,000, and with no other major expenses, you can drive home in a brand-new Toyota Wigo.
Our unit came with the stylish TRD body-kit finished in bright apple green, a touch-screen LCD infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, dual-airbags and ABS brakes. There’s also oodles of interior cabin space: I’m a shade under 5’10’’ and after adjusting the front driver’s seat to my height, I sat down behind to see if two persons of my size could fit in tandem and we theoretically could.
So what is like to drive? First off, the seating position. You sit high-up, like in a sitting room chair, your knees at an almost 90-degree position if you’re of average or slightly below average height. The seat base is short, but because of the peculiar position, your legs and thighs don’t feel tired even after a long journey. The steering wheel position is fixed, but the upright seating surprisingly makes it comfortable enough for a wide variety of drivers of different heights and sizes. The brakes are on the soft side but not mushy, and the throttle feels linear and progressive: newbie drivers won’t have a jerky driving experience taking their Wigo out for the first time. Surprisingly, the steering feels somewhat heavy considering the Wigo’s size and heft, and the fact that it rides on small but perfectly-proportioned 14-inch wheels shod with equally diminutive 175/65R14 Bridgestone Ecopia tires. On the highway, and at speed, the slight heft makes sense because the short-wheel base Wigo feels more stable, less nervous and less affected by sudden movements due to cross-winds on the Skyway and by minute steering corrections caused by road irregularities. Despite the 1.0 liter 3-cylinder engine delivering only a modest 65hp and 85 Newton-Meters of torque, it feels gutsy and the gearing suits the power. I had no problems cruising at 90-100km/h and then some on SLEX and Skyway, and going up Tagaytay for work, with my wife and sister-in-law tagging along, the Wigo never felt stressed or lacking up the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Highway. The App CarPlay equipped infotainment system guided us quickly through light traffic, helping us beat Waze’s predicted ETA by a whopping 30 minutes as we exited the newly-opened Nagtahan exit of Skyway Stage 3, then headed back to San Juan/Mandaluyong.
Of course, it’s not all daisies and roses as Toyota obviously saved on cost on a number of things. Despite how well it drives, and how surprisingly comfortable the interior is, NVH isolation is one of the key areas Toyota can improve on. After two straight hours inside the Wigo, you feel noticeably tired. The engine isn’t excessively noisy and so are the tire, road and wind noise. And mind you, the suspension isn’t harsh. But all these external factors come together to wear you out. But for many, who are graduating from public transport and / or a motorcycle, stepping into a Wigo is an upgrade of truly epic proportions. Efficiency in the city is good, hitting 10.4 km/liter, while my highway driving didn’t net an equally impressive figure, I still got close to 18km/liter. While it might be because of the passenger load of three adults plus two small dogs in the car on our drive to Tagaytay, or I was driving rather ‘spiritedly’ but nonetheless, I’m sure driven a bit more carefully, efficiency should improve.
So just how affordable is the Wigo? That is the other main question I’m sure many people will ask. I reached out to my Toyota dealership network friends, and Toyota San Pablo in Laguna was quick to reply. Looking at the Wigo E M/T, which is the most popular variant and sells the most at an SRP of P568,000, the downpayment of 10% is at P56,800 all-in. The monthly amortization is a surprisingly affordable P11,428 for 60 months or five years, at an interest rate of roughly 6% per annum on your principal loan amount. You may be able to find cheaper financing rates too. Annual insurance cost is in the neighborhood of P20,000, inclusive with Acts of God / force majeure according to our friends at Prudential Guarantee and Assistance Inc. with your insurance principal diminishing by about 10% each year as the car itself also devaluates in price. Your average PMS service cost would be roughly P13,700 annually if you do around 10,000 kilometers a year, or a higher P27,300 annual servicing cost if you cover roughly 20,000 kilometers a year. So after the downpayment, your real-world running cost (except fuel / gasoline as that will vary greatly where you are and what sort of fuel you load up) would range roughly from P13,737 to P14,870 which includes monthly amortization for your car, the comprehensive insurance broken down into 12 months and servicing every 5,000 kilometers. Throw in P5,000 a month for fuel and you’re looking at under P20,000 / month for running cost in your Wigo. Now that is reliable and affordable motoring for all.
Small, practical, affordable and surprisingly enjoyable to drive, no wonder the Wigo is a top seller not just in the Philippines, but in all markets all over the world where it is present.
A car enthusiast through and through, Botchi Santos believes that different people have different needs. He tries to find the best car for a specific audience, and spruces things up by delving into car culture, helping make the local car community vibrant and enjoyable for all. His passion for motoring is built around a belief that cars are among the top three life purchases.