In YOUR face, other city runarounds! This moody-looking little fellow is the new Toyota Aygo, which went on sale this week, and behind that frown lurks a replacement for its altogether cuter-looking predecessor, which has reached the end of the road after a very successful nine-year stint.
As was the case with the first-generation Aygo, the new car shares a lot of its engineering and interior with Peugeot’s 108 and Citroen’s C1. Unlike 2005’s cars, which were identical apart from their badges, 2014’s triplets are free to express their own style.
So much so, says Toyota, that the only common bonds are the front doors and windscreen surround. The rest of the bodywork is unique and in the case of the Aygo, the changes are not what you’d call subtle. The nose is dominated by a contrasting-coloured X that extends towards the car’s shoulder line, while aerodynamic touches such as a front splitter, rear spoiler and little fins on the tail lights are as much about attitude as they are efficiency.
Tailoring the car to your tastes is what the Aygo is all about, which explains why the accessories brochure is 36 pages long. Don’t like the big black X on the front of our test car? Then replace it with one from a palette of nine other colours. Do the same for the roof (and add a sticker while you’re at it), the door mirrors, the rear diffuser, the dashboard, the wheels… you get the idea.
The new Aygo is powered by a revised version of the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine that featured in the old car. It’s paired to either a five-speed manual gearbox, or Toyota’s “X-Shift” automated manual transmission. Power and torque are increased ever so slightly, to 69bhp and 70lb ft but, more importantly, fuel economy improves by 3.3mpg to 69mpg for the manual car in the EU combined test, and CO2 emissions dip to 95g/km, so there’s no vehicle excise duty to pay.
With no turbocharger to spice things up, the Aygo takes a leisurely 14.2 seconds to reach 62mph, despite weighing 60kg less than the old car, and top speed is pegged at 99mph. It’s hardly a high-performance machine but never mind, since it was built for zipping in and out of the urban jungle, where its compact dimensions, light steering and comfortable road manners are of greater significance.
Saying that, the Aygo can give a good account of itself on the motorway. The three-cylinder engine’s distinctive thrum dies down once the little Toyota gets into its stride, and improvements to sound deadening keep tyre noise and wind noise to a minimum. For a car aimed squarely at younger buyers, its road manners are very grown up, so there’s no crashing through potholes or bobbling over speed bumps – just a comfortable, composed ride.
The Aygo’s 2.34-metre wheelbase is the same as before, but the passenger compartment is nearly a centimetre longer and there’s an extra 7mm of headroom. Every little helps, and even taller drivers shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a comfortable driving position. It’s a different story in the back, however, and anyone 6ft or over might want to take the bus into town if the other option is sitting behind a couple of tall chums. The glass tailgate lifts to reveal a deep but short boot that’s 29 litres bigger than before, at 168 litres. A minor grumble is that the steering wheel adjusts for height, but not reach.
A friend of mine refused to buy a first-generation Aygo because she didn’t like the wishy-washy colour of its dashboard. I’m sure she’d be happier with the new car: she could brighten up the interior with dashes of colour, and the plastics are, for the most part, of a high grade.
The Aygo launches with three trim levels, plus two special editions. Kicking things off is the Aygo x at £8,595. Wheels are 14-inch steel affairs and the X-grille is grey. Inside, you’ll find a two-speaker stereo with a USB socket, electric front windows and remote central locking.
The £9,795 Aygo x-play adds 15-inch steel wheels, a gloss black X-grille, body coloured door handles and mirror housings, leather steering wheel and gear knob, four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel stereo and phone controls, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and 50:50 split rear seats. Or, if you have £10,995 to spend, the Aygo x-pression is the one to go for if you covet 15-inch alloy wheels, more glossy black panels, part-leather seats, front fog lights and, most significantly of all, Toyota’s X-Touch multimedia system which can run compatible apps directly from your smartphone and adds a reversing camera. If that’s still not enough, two special editions are also part of the Aygo range at launch: the vivid orange and black x-cite you see here, and the black-and-silver themed x-clusiv. Add to that a range of exterior and interior styling bundles that allow buyers to put their own stamp on the car and Toyota should have little trouble repeating the Aygo success story.
ENGINE 1.0-litre, 3 cyl, petrol, 69bhp, 70lb ft
PERFORMANCE Max speed 99mph; 0-62mph 14.2sec
CO2 EMISSIONS 95g/km