Toyota Aygo review
New Toyota Aygo looks great and refinement is impressive, but can it match its rivals for quality?
The big draw compared to rivals like the VW up!, Hyundai i10 and its sister cars is the level of personalisation available on the Aygo. The Aygo is emblazoned with an ‘X’ running from the A-pillars to the front grille – just one of a number of parts that can be swapped around in a variety of colours.
Interior space is marginally improved, and a new x-touch infotainment system brings it bang up to date. Buyers can change the colour of the ‘X’, wheels and rear bumper, as well as a selection of snap-in interior parts. It’s a tactic designed to attract young fashionable customers to the brand, and proves Toyota is trying to put an era of bland designs behind it.
The Toyota Aygo isn’t all that mechanically different from its predecessor. It still uses a 68bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, has almost the same dimensions and feels similar from behind the wheel. However, big improvements to the sound-deadening make a big difference at motorway speeds, the interior now gets a hi-tech x-touch infotainment system and the five-speed automated manual gearbox in the Toyota Aygo automatic isn’t as compromised as it used to be.
Our choice: Toyota Aygo x-play
Despite sharing its windscreen, front door and platform with the 108 and C1, Toyota’s designers have managed to create something truly unique.
The contrasting ‘X’ steals the show, running from the A-pillars, through the grille and into the front bumper, it creates an unmistakable visual signature and can be colour-coded to the customer’s taste. The profile has been kept as simple as possible, while at the rear a blacked-out tailgate and interchangeable bumper insert help to break up the design.
The interior features a running them of hexaghonal shapes, and is dominated by a seven-inch touchscreen if you go for the optional x-touch infotainment system. Flashes of coloured plastic help to lift the ambience, although there are still a few cheap-feeling scratchy plastics around the bottom of the dash.
Because it weighs so little, the Aygo is good fun to chuck around – and you don’t need to be breaking the speed limit to have a laugh. The 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine does without a turbocharger and produces just 68bhp – but while that might sound puny it’s an enthusiastic performer that’s happy to rev, filling the cabin with a characterful three-cylinder thrum.
You can hear it so clearly because Toyota has done a wonderful job of blocking our road and wind noise, making the Aygo surprisingly adept at motorway speeds. Especially long first and second gear ratios mean you’ll need to rev it hard to produce power but there’s plenty of performance for nipping around town.
The x-shift automated manual has slight shorter gear ratios, so picks up quicker – it blips the throttle on downshifts, too. Steering that’s 14 per cent sharper makes the Aygo ideal for darting around town, although at higher speeds there’s significant body roll in the corners. The pay off for that is a supple ride over bumpy roads.
With simple city cars like the Aygo, there’s less to go wrong so it should provide hassle-free motoring. Despite a number of high-profile recalls for other models in the range, Toyota still has one of the strongest reputations for reliability in the industry.
The Aygo hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP yet, but Toyota is aiming to match the Yaris’ achievement and score the full five stars.
It does come with a broad range of safety equipment as standard, including anti-lock brakes, curtain airbags, Isofix child seat mounting points, a tyre pressure monitor and a hill start assist function.With more spot welding points than before, the Aygo’s bodyshell is now more rigid and therefore safer in front, side and rear collisions.
It also comes with a five-year/100,000 mile warranty and, regardless of mileage, three years’ warranty against rust and paint defects and 12 years’ anti-corrosion protection.
The new Aygo is slightly longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, but has an identical wheelbase. Front headroom has improved slightly, despite the lower roofline thanks to a curved ‘double-bubble’ roof and front seats lowered by 10mm.
The new Aygo makes the most of its compact dimensions with a deep but shallow boot that’s 29-litres bigger than its predecessors at 168-litres – enough for a couple of suitcases or a set of golf clubs. There are two cup holders, a good-sized glove box and door bins big enough to hold a 500ml bottle of water.
The five-door model makes things easier for rear passengers to get in and out, without spoiling the Aygo’s compact look, which makes it the pick of the range.
Although the 1.0 VVT-i is fundamentally the same unit as used by its predecessor, it’s been thoroughly reengineered for the new model. A higher compressions ratio of 11.5:1, a new low-friction timing chain and a cylinder head with built-in exhaust manifold to save weight have all helped to improve fuel efficiency and cut emissions.
Fuel economy and CO2 emissions have improved by 3.3mpg to 69mpg and 4g/km to 95g/km of CO2 in the five-speed manual model, while the x-shift auto returns 67.3mpg and 97g/km. An eco model is also planned with stop-start fitted as standard, capable of returning 72mpg and 89g/km of CO2.