Toyota Aygo review

Our Rating: 
2014 model
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Toyota Aygo offers striking looks, plenty of character and a fun drive. But can it match the high standard set by the latest city cars?

Lively 3cyl engine, bold styling, agile handling
Some cheap interior plastics, cramped rear seats, long gear ratios

Sponsored Links

The original Aygo was a big hit for Toyota, with its compact dimensions, minuscule running costs and cheeky looks earning it strong sales across the UK. So the Japanese brand hasn’t messed too much with that winning formula, instead investing in striking looks and new tech.

As with the first Aygo, Toyota's second generation city car is a joint development project with Peugeot and Citroen, with the 108 and C1 sharing the same lightweight platform and mechanicals. The Aygo is only available with one three-cylinder petrol engine, however, where the others get two.

The big draw compared to rivals like the VW up!Hyundai i10 is the funky design inside and out, and level of personalisation available on the Aygo. The Japanese hatch is emblazoned with a distinctive ‘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. It can even be had with an 'x-wave' retractable cloth roof for £850.

Interior space is marginally improved, and a new x-touch smartphone-optimised 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, improvements to the sound-deadening make the interior more refined at speed, yet it maintains the same sense of fun as before. Also, 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

Engines, performance and drive


Owners of the previous-generation Aygo will feel at home behind the wheel of the new model. For starters, the 68bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine is carried over from the old car and has the same thrummy soundtrack and eager nature. It’s an enthusiastic performer that’s happy to rev, filling the cabin with a characterful three-cylinder noise. Some may find it intrusive, some may like the rorty tone.

You can hear it so clearly because Toyota has done a better job at improving wind and road noise. It's better at motorway speeds, but still falls some way behind cars such as the Hyundai i10 and VW Up! for long-distance refinement and comfort. The Aygo x-wave loses out a little bit in terms of wind noise thanks to the cloth roof, but it's better than you'd expect.

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. That said, a revision in ratios means the engine does feel less strained at a sustained fast cruise, compared to its predecessor. 

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. The pay off for that is a supple ride over bumpy roads. 

The steering is light and accurate, the Aygo turns into corners keenly and there’s decent grip. Body movement is better controlled in some rivals, but it fared well during our braking tests. Letting the side down is the notchy and reluctant gearbox shift action, which oddly isn't as pleasant as the previous-gen Aygo's. 

Toyota Aygo rear

MPG, CO2 and running costs


Although the 1.0 VVT-i is fundamentally the same unit as used by its predecessor, it’s been 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. 

Plus, you can also take advantage of Toyota’s attractive finance plans that will get you behind the wheel of an Aygo for less than £100 a month.

There’s currently no pre-paid servicing pack, but Toyota’s fixed pricing menu should help keep maintenance bills in check. And while our experts have yet to calculate residuals for the Aygo, it should match its predecessor’s.

Interior, design and technology


Toyota has taken a bold approach with the Aygo, ditching the old car’s soft curves and rounded details in favour of sharp edges and eye-catching angles. Highlights include the swept-back headlamps, rising window line and tall tail-lights. The double-bubble roof panel is particularly eye-catching. It certainly looks more distinctive than the Skoda Citigo, SEAT Mii and VW up! - but the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108 are similar and their clean-cut lines will be more attractive to some.

All models get smart LED driving lights and a body-coloured finish for the bumpers and door handles, while x-play versions and above have 14-inch alloys, although the two-tone items on the x-clusiv car in our pictures are an extra £499.

The same youthful approach continues inside, where there’s a gloss black dash finish and a large touchscreen infotainment system, plus a circular steering column-mounted pod that houses the speedo and digital fuel and rev readouts. Yet while it appears modern and is solidly screwed together, the hard plastics on the dash and doors look and feel fairly cheap. Those details are mainly noticeable given the cabin as a whole is so much more sophisiticated than the old car's - the penny-pinching trim predictably stands out.

Still, there are no complaints about the standard kit list, with x-pression cars benefiting from air-con, cruise control, DAB radio and Bluetooth. A real highlight is the x-touch multimedia system, which features an intuitive set-up that pairs quickly with a smartphone. Better still, if you’ve got an Android device, you can use the Mirrorlink function to duplicate your phone’s menus and graphics on the Toyota’s touchscreen.

The £850 'x-wave' option brings an electrically retractable folding roof that slides back to the rear headrests in around ten seconds, or bunches up halfway to act as a sunroof. If you look below the roofline, however, the Aygo's look is totally unaffected.

Practicality, comfort and boot space


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. However, the small side windows at the back and high-backed front seats make the rear feel claustrophobic.

The new Aygo makes the most of its compact dimensions with a deep but shallow boot that’s 29 litres bigger than its predecessor's 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. If cargo capacity is your main consideration, the Aygo does lose out badly to the Hyundai i10, VW Up, Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii, all of which offer capacities north of 250 litres.

Toyota Aygo interior

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. 

Reliability and Safety


A string of recalls has taken its toll on Toyota’s reputation for quality and durability. Yet while it slipped down to 17th place in our Driver Power 2014 satisfaction survey, owners rated its cars sixth for reliability.
On top of that, the Aygo feels robustly constructed, while the engine is based on the tried and tested unit used in the old car.

The new Aygo hasn’t yet been tested by Euro NCAP, but Toyota will be hoping to improve on the old car’s three-star rating.

All versions get four airbags, Isofix child seat mountings, stability control and tyre pressure monitoring, while the range-topping x-clusiv adds a reversing camera and automatic lights.

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.

Disqus - noscript

Cute, very cute small car!

A brilliant little car and so so distinctive too. Toyota have suddenly come out of the cold a produced a little cracker. there are those who will say its gimmicky but just wait till you see them all over the place and I bet Toyota will hgave a little winner . Citroen and Peugeot will also have winners to as they are all so different. Watch out V W suddenly UP is made to look a little boring I say

168 litre boot - hmmm, not exactly the 251 litres of the VW trio is it.

I agree. I think the new Aygo looks great ouside and in. Plus there are all the real world benefits of Toyota such as excellent build/reliability/great dealer service. If I was looking for a car of this size I would walk right past the VW dealerships and knock on the door of my local Toyota dealer.

I take it you like endless recalls then.......

Toyota may (quite rightly) issue recalls where many simply do not bother - even though they really should when there are inherent flaws - I know this having owned VW products with DSG gearbox issues- a classic and widespread issue. There are also well known issues with Tsi engines (well publicised in Europe) but you will find a very dismissive attitude from VW dealers which is why I would never go near one with my own cash - or anthing from VW Group come to that. Meanwhile Toyota dealers are highly rated (with Lexus consistantly sitting in 1st place In AE's DP Survey). The fact that Toyota products always sit at the sharp end of ownership surveys I think really says it all. I would happily consider purchasing a Toyota.

69 mpg without resorting to stop/start nonsense - hmmm, not exactly the 63 mpg of the VW trio is it.

They don't sit at the top though, like Skodas do :-).

Only the look changes compared to the original one lauched 9 years. Nothing else. There are hardly any improvement in engine or gearbox. It is such a pity.

Think you need to do a little research. Lexus have were at number one in Auto Express's Driver Power survey 2013 and have occupied that spot for many more years than Skoda! Look at Toyota/Lexus achievements around the world in the likes of the JD Power survey especially in the US, you will find a record that no Euro manufacturer has managed to get close to! That said it would be hard for Skoda since they don't sell cars in half the number of countries that Toyota do :-) :-)

If you want a larger boot then you are buying the wrong class of car. The Polo and Yaris already exist and cater to that market. These city cars are not supposed to be for people who want a Polo/Yaris but can't afford it. If you can't afford a new Polo/Yaris then buy a used model. Don't buy the smaller model in the range and then moan that it is too small.

A city car should be designed to fit into the smallest parking spaces possible whilst holding half a dozen supermarket carrier bags full of shopping. Any carrying capacity above that means that you compromised the key selling point of the car. Owners of these cars understand and know that when you want to carry large quantities you use the rear seats and restrict yourself to one passenger.

The VW should have been criticised for having a larger boot as it resulted in a larger car which in turns defeats the whole feckin point of it! You only have to look inside one of these city cars and it is clear that nothing is going to waste. You simply cannot increase the capacity of the passenger compartment or the boot without compromising the other or making the car larger.

The reason we have these city cars in the first place is because the Super Mini class bloated and turned into family cars. My father recently bought a Yaris and unlike his old Vectra it won't fit in the garage! I mean for heavens sake that is just ridiculous.

With your attitude and that being displayed by some reviewers, I wonder how long it will be before the Aygo/C1/107/UP suffer the same bloat and we have to introduce another new class of car below them.

The Citigo/up!/Mii all have a 251 litre boot, are citycars, and this only has 168 litres is my point.

You aren't making a point. You are quoting tech specs but not telling us what you are trying to imply by this. You appeared to imply that the larger boot was a positive when in my opinion that merely turns the UP into a crappy poor man's Polo.

My point is that the larger boot should be considered a negative attribute as it results in a larger vehicle which in turn compromises one of the main selling points of a city car. Unfortunately reviewers always present it as a positive attribute as they seem incapable of maintaining perspective and staying in tune with the purpose of the class and why people buy the vehicle.

What is to stop Toyota up-scaling the Aygo to the size of a Yaris and saying "hey look how much better this vehicle is than an UP, we have so much more interior and boot space".

At what point does it cease to be a city car and start looking like a crap poor man's supermini?

You may think that sounds surreal and ridiculous but it happened to the Supermini. It happened to such an extent that the class drifted so far from its roots that it failed to fulfil is original purpose and a new class had to be introduced below it.

I really don't want manufacturers being driven to bloat city cars in the process of chasing favourable review scores from short sighted journalists. I used to love my Renault Clios but I stopped buying them when the phase 3 was released and the car was no longer able to fulfil is original purpose. If I'd have wanted what the phase 3 could and could not do, I'd have previously been buying Meganes.

The new Aygo look's a cracking little car, if only Toyota offered the 1.2 engine option that the new 108 & C1 will have available.

I can't say I'm particularly a fan of this trio, but your comment is silly.

Why would they make drastic changes to the drivetrain when the original 2005 set up was still competitive with the much newer VW et al alternatives?

Is that the new Toyota Atkinson cycle 3 cylinder engine, which it is claimed will reduce fuel consumption by 30%? Or maybe that's to come in the near future. That would give fuel consumption of around 90 mpg - for a petrol engine. If true that sounds like a game changer. Why bother with hybrid or diesel?

It's a huge shame and mystery why they don't do this. I don't think there is any explanation of this odd decision?

Last updated: 10 Jul, 2014