When we first drove the Toyota Aygo we were bowled over by its daring design and energetic character, but it has another string to its bow we didn’t mention. Like the new Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1 that it was co-developed with, it can be ordered with a Fiat 500C-style peel-back fabric roof.
However, unlike the 500C’s, this roof doesn’t bunch where the back windscreen would be, preserving rear visibility and making it feel more like a giant sunroof than a fully-fledged convertible. Whether you’re moving or stationary, just push a button and in 10 seconds you’re open to the elements.
Swapping metal for fabric over your head hasn’t had any major impact on refinement, either. There’s a touch more wind noise at high speed than with the fixed-roof model, but when the roof’s closed, you needn’t raise your voice to have a conversation at 70mph. The volume increases when it’s open, of course, but it never gets too blustery.
Another advantage of this type of roof is that the Aygo retains its structural rigidity, so it’s every bit as fun to drive as the standard car. It’s not that quick away from the line, and the 68bhp three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine needs to be revved to produce its best. Once spinning, however, there’s plenty of performance for darting around town, while the superb cruising refinement means longer journeys aren’t beyond its capabilities, either.
A quicker steering ratio makes the Aygo feel constantly alert. There’s a fair bit of body roll in corners, but the pay-off is a supple ride. Striking looks, inside and out, and the easy-to-use x-touch infotainment system add to the x-wave’s appeal – but it’s likely to carry a hefty premium for the privilege of that roof.
Because it’s 25mm longer overall than its predecessor, there’s a larger 168-litre boot in the Aygo. More headroom in the front is a welcome addition, although there’s only space for two in the back.
The Aygo embraces the trend for personalisation, too - buyers can choose from myriad colour and trim options, while an automatic gearbox and infotainment system are optional.