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In-depth reviews

Toyota Aygo review

The Toyota Aygo is frugal, fun and has fashionable looks, but there’s tough city car competition

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

Price
£8,914 to £13,814
  • Lively 3cyl engine
  • Bold styling
  • Agile handling
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Long gear ratios
  • Some cheap plastics

The current Toyota Aygo isn’t all that mechanically different from its predecessor, but its looks are refreshingly contemporary with a youthful slant.

There’s not much power or dynamic capability, and while improvements to the sound-deadening make this a more refined car to be in at speed, it’s still some way short of the city car class leaders for motorway driving. Practicality also suffers thanks to the Aygo’s super-compact dimensions.

Yet the latest Aygo maintains the same sense of fun as before, and there are small but worthwhile technical improvements under the skin, including some significant advances in vehicle safety. Plus it’s super frugal, easy to personalise, and well-connected with Toyota’s latest x-touch multimedia system. So it may only earn three stars from us, but if you like it - you’ll love it! 

The Toyota Aygo helped create the modern city car genre with its perky three-cylinder engine, lightweight construction, front-wheel drive and ultra-compact three- and five-door bodies that will fit four adults at a push.

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The Aygo arrived in 2005 the product of a joint venture with the PSA Group, and built alongside its Citroen and Peugeot sister models at a brand new factory in the Czech Republic. Cheap to buy, insure and fuel, the venture proved highly successful.

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It was such a success, in fact, that the first model stayed in production for almost a decade, although the Aygo that is for sale now is the second-generation model that was launched in 2014. Aside from its French stablemates, with which it shares much of its mechanical make-up, the little Toyota has a raft of popular rivals including the Fiat 500, Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto, Renault Twingo, SEAT Mii and VW up!

Although it was billed as a new replacement model, the Aygo Mk2 retained much of the engineering of its predecessor, including the 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine. However, the styling was freshened up considerably, with a bold new look said to be inspired by Japan’s manga comic art. The interior was much improved too, along with the cabin tech and connectivity.

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While the Aygo continues to be built alongside new versions of the Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1, there’s greater differentiation between the brands this time around. The differences are primarily visual, as the trio are largely identical under the skin apart from the significant adoption by the French stablemates of a 1.2-litre engine which the Aygo doesn’t get.

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When the little three-cylinder engine first appeared, it was technologically advanced, and it still offers great efficiency. However, it’s not at the cutting edge any more, and doesn’t even come with the stop/start tech that’s become a prerequisite for environmentally conscious city driving. You can get manual and automatic gearboxes, both with five speeds.

The rest of the package is pretty conventional too, including a front-wheel drive chassis with front MacPherson struts and torsion beam suspension at the rear. Brakes are discs up front, drums at the rear, and steering is courtesy of an electrically assisted rack and pinion set-up.

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The Aygo range starts with the entry-level x trim which features 14-inch steel wheels, projector headlamps, LED DRLS, 2-speaker audio with USB connectivity and hill-start assist. The x is also the only Aygo currently offered with the option of both three-and five-door bodystyles. 

A step up the specification ladder is  x-play, highlights of which include 15-inch wheels (albeit still steel), piano black finish for that big ‘X’ styling graphic emblazoned over the front of the car, a 4-speaker audio system with Bluetooth, a leather steering wheel with controls for audio and phone, air-con, a rev-counter, height adjustable driver’s seat featuring graphite grey trim with light grey bolsters and a 50:50 split rear seat.

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Next is x-trend, which adds 15-inch alloy wheels, coloured side sills and matching exterior highlights, automatic headlights, front fog lights and privacy glass. Following x-trend is x-cite,  which features 15-inch gloss black alloy wheels, the x-touch multimedia system, black side sills and privacy glass.

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There’s  also an x-clusiv model, which adds everything but the kitchen sink - albeit at a price. The specification adds a range of two-tone exterior paint options, smart entry, push-button start and automatic air conditioning.

Toyota isn’t shy of producing Aygo special editions, either. In 2017 it released the limited-run x-claim, which featured an electrically retractable roof and special decals, while in 2019 it launched the x-cite Mandarin. Again a limited-run model, the Mandarin is based on x-cite trim but sports bright orange paintwork with a contrasting black roof and orange interior trim highlights.

There is a plethora of ‘personalisation’ options to choose from too, and aside from the various styling and equipment packages, the only significant options are the choice of a retractable  a ‘Black Fun’ roof , and the ‘x-shift’ automated manual gearbox.

For an alternative review of the latest Toyota Aygo Hatchback visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

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