X marks the spot
The Toyota Aygo has been developed in cooperation with Peugeot and Citroën. The three marquees developed a single car, but each manufacturer sells that car under their own name and with a unique personality. The Toyota Aygo distinguishes itself from the trio by a large "X" on the front.
And that's not all! Toyota allows the buyer to personalise the car down to the smallest detail. The customer doesn't just choose the colour of the "X" in the grille, but also chooses the tint of the mirrors, bumpers and much more. The test car is a so-called "x-cite" version and there's no doubt about it: seldom has the Autozine photographer enjoyed framing a small car as much as this one!
Once inside, the "personalisation" continues. The colour and print of several panels can be tailored. Do note that this can have some drawbacks. For example: while the white air vents might look cool, their reflection in the wing mirrors make it hard to concentrate on the traffic around the car. Good to know: most panels can later be replaced by the dealer. This also means every Aygo can be adapted to the taste of the next owner, keeping residual value high.
The all-new Aygo is about the same size as the previous model. Yet, thanks to smarter "packaging" (lower seats, thinner upholstery) the cabin space has increased slightly. Do not expect anything out of the ordinary; the space in the front is fine but the room in the rear is minimal. With two adults in the front, there's virtually no legroom left in the rear.
The Aygo doesn't feel like a cheap car because whereever possible economising has been raised to an art. Bare metal and pop up gauges make the cabin playful rather than cheap. Still, many details are telltale signs of how production costs were cut. For example, the entire boot lid is made out of glass to limit production costs. The rear doors have pivoting windows rather than sliding ones. The steering column can be adjusted in height but not in distance to the driver.
The specs prove the Aygo is a modern car. Besides the usual airbags, an electronic stability programme ("ESP", prevents the car from skidding) and a "hill holder" (prevents the car from rolling backwards when driving off on a slope) come as standard.
Optionally, the Aygo can be fitted with a 7 inch touch screen to control the stereo and phone. A minor drawback is the fact that this screen blocks the airflow from the central air vent. When the Aygo is fitted with the screen, it can also handle a reversing camera and satnav.
Toyota promises that the driver's smart phone can be integrated into the car. In that way all apps available on the phone can be used in the car. Toyota achieves this using "Mirror Link". The problem with this technology is that it only works with Android phones, and only a selected few of those after being "patched". In short: Mirror Link is a good idea, but in real life it's useless, so go for the built-in satnav option.
Performance and efficiency
As stated before, the Aygo has been developed together with Citroën and Peugeot. Toyota contributed the 1.0-litre engine and that's why it comes with a 3-year warranty. This power-train is based on the previous Aygo, but has been improved in so many ways that the technicians consider it a brand new engine.
Again, Toyota opts for a three-cylinder layout. That's because it is almost a guarantee for high efficiency, but also a less refined run. In city traffic the engine noise is clearly audible. The gearbox ratios have been chosen so that the Aygo is alert in city traffic, making it even louder. On the open road the engine speed is low (62 mph equals 2,500 rpm), so that the car is frugal and more comfortable.
According to the factory specifications, the Aygo consumes an average of 3.9 litres per 100 km (72 mpg). During the test drive this was actually achieved. Despite a fine idle stop system (including a "timer" that displays how long the engine is off), the average was badly affected in the city.
Expect about 5 to 5.5 litres per 100 km in real life. Compared to similar cars this makes the Aygo a little less frugal. On paper the Aygo is more efficient; thanks to its CO2-emissions of just 88 grams per kilometre it is exempt from tax in many countries.
The strongest point of the Aygo compared to its rivals, is its handling. Toyota made steering more direct, making the car easier to drive in dense city traffic. The downside is that the Aygo can be a bit nervous on the open road; the driver has to really concentrate to drive in a straight line.
On bad surfaces the Aygo noticeably has a more refined underpinning than other cars in this segment. The entire body is more rigid than before, giving the engineers more freedom to fine-tune the suspension. Bumps in the road are caught effectively without affecting handling or the fun of driving.
Toyota introduces the all-new Aygo. Compared to the previous generation the new Aygo is more comfortable, better equipped, quicker and yet more frugal. Compared to other modern, small cars from other brands the Aygo isn't any better or worse. The Aygo does not offer any new technology, smart innovations or ergonomic gimmicks; that would make the car too expensive.
Yet, Toyota does manage to distinguish itself from the others by making the car more desirable. Toyota does so by offering more daring looks and the possibility to customise the car to the driver's taste. In short: the Aygo is just as sensible as the rest, yet more fun. So X does indeed mark the right spot!
- Smart concept
- Original design
- Quick yet frugal
- Nervous steering on open roads
- Central air vent blocked by display
- Speedometer hard to read in full sunlight
"Compact yet mature" Smart ForTwo
"Smarter" Fiat 500
"Everyone's Favourite" Peugeot 108