Small hatchbacks are often the most cost-effective option for first-time car buyers or those who are looking for an easy-to-park form of transport that won’t break the bank at the dealer or at the pump.
While having a basic mode of transport is good, cars tend to be pretty pricey, which makes them an investment that you should always do your research on to get the most bang for your buck. Here are two of the more popular small hatchbacks out in the market, the Toyota Wigo and Suzuki Celerio. Read along for a comparison between these two value-oriented buys. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll take the Toyota Wigo 1.0 G AT and the Suzuki Celerio CVT for comparison.
Seeing these two cars side by side, and you may be forgiven if you mistook the Suzuki for the Wigo in the dark. Their shapes are quite similar as both brands want to maximize the interior cabin space. You don’t have a lot of areas to work with, so making four or five fit inside is not the easiest task to accomplish, which is evidenced by the shape.
What is different are the shapes found all over the body. If you are a fan of straightforward, no-frills styling, the Celerio’s simple without being overladen with too many design elements. Meanwhile, the Wigo has undergone a facelift that added more flare to the overall design. It’s not too over-the-top, and it’s more stylish than the Celerio.
The rear follows the same theme of the front. The Celerio doesn’t feature much in terms of styling, but the Wigo does and has elements in the rear that give it more dimension.
It really depends on what you want to go for. If you want more visual interest, get the Wigo, if you’re not so keen on the extra bits, then the Celerio can be your best bet here.
Here is where the manufacturers need to pay attention to. So much attention is put in here that the interior depends heavily on the shape of the exterior, which can make or break interior space.
The interior plastics of the Wigo leave something to be desired. Suzuki’s implementation, on the other hand, feels reasonably dense. Style is subjective here, but the Celerio has a small edge in terms of material quality.
It’s good to note that both small cars feature enough space upfront. In the rear, however, you’re going to be better off in the Toyota Wigo. The Suzuki is marginally smaller than the Toyota in this aspect.
We have to remember that these are basic cars, so their infotainment systems aren’t as technologically advanced as their more expensive brothers. Thankfully both have touchscreen infotainment systems with Bluetooth connectivity. The Celerio has smartphone mirroring though, something that the Wigo doesn’t have. Instead of smartphone mirroring, the Wigo in its G variant has steering wheel-mounted controls that let you control your music on the fly. The Celerio doesn’t have this feature, and you will have to use the knob to change the volume.
Cargo area is more-or-less going to be the same story. You can put a limited number of items in the rear, but the Wigo will still be marginally bigger than the Celerio. Both cars allow you to fold the rear bench seats to access even more space, however.
Safety is a big thing in the small car market. Just because a consumer doesn’t want to pay a premium, doesn’t mean a manufacturer can skip safety features. Good thing that the Suzuki comes with a standard set of airbags in the driver and passenger’s side. You also get an ABS system and ISOFIX child seat tethers. It’s the same story with the Wigo. You get airbags, ABS, but no ISOFIX tethers for child seats.
Both models feature a 1.0L engine with similar outputs. The Wigo has 66 hp and 89 Nm of torque to its name, while the Celerio has 67 hp and 90 Nm of torque. More should be better? A one horsepower difference in a truck is minuscule, but a one horsepower difference in a small car could be pretty substantial. It’s still negligible to us, though.
Here are where the two cars differ immensely. The Toyota Wigo gets a tried and tested four-speed automatic transmission. It’s not a modern gearbox by any means, but it gets the job done. You can lock the gears via the lever, but that’s pretty much it. The Celerio, on the other hand, has a CVT transmission. This allows the 1.0L engine to stay in the powerband while accelerating, without the delay of shifting through gears.
We prefer the smoothness of the Celerio’s CVT. When it comes to this kind of transmission, it’s a love-it-or-hate-it kind of thing. Although, we cannot deny that the smoothness and added fuel efficiency are key factors.
Thanks to its transmission, the Celerio got 11.1 km/L in the city during our review period. The Wigo managed a 9.6 km/L. The same can be said about highway performance, with the Celerio scoring 24 km/L and the Wigo scoring 22 km/L.
As for NVH insulation, the Wigo and Celerio are both tied. Noise tends to intrude in both cabins, but the price point is indicative of what you should come to expect.
Whether you want outright fuel economy or as much space as possible given a budget, is beyond us. We feel that the fuel-efficient Celerio is a worthy buy, especially if you’re looking for a vehicle that can save you at the dealer and at the pump.
The Wigo, however, features more space than the Suzuki. This means that you can do marginally more and be marginally more comfortable in the Toyota. You also get steering wheel controls and a more stylized exterior. If you are willing to work with a four-speed gearbox, the Wigo could be a good choice for you.
Price-wise, the Celerio is a good option. It starts at just P598,000 for the CVT variant. The Wigo does come at a premium, however. At P631,000, you do pay more for better looks and more space, but at the cost of a dated automatic slushbox.