Toyotas of the recent past were criticised for being automotive white goods, and the new Aygo is the Japanese company's retort. It's dramatic to look at, good to drive, much more refined than before and yet still promises reduced running costs. Is it a genuine rival for the Volkswagen up! family? We think so.
In the Metal:
When asked what differentiates the Toyota Aygo from the equally new Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108, David Terai, Chief Engineer, pointed to the styling, and it's undoubtedly one of the car's biggest talking points. The 'X' motif at the front is only available in a contrasting colour (though it's easily changed by a dealer) and it sets the Aygo apart from every other car in the segment. The rear is just as unique and it's all complemented by an upswept side window line. Toyota cites the Japanese Manga cartoon culture as a strong influence, and that doesn't appear to be just lip service.
The interior of the Aygo is less dramatic to look at, but still more interesting than most models in the class. Our test car was fitted with a lovely leather-rimmed steering wheel and the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment interface, which both make the Aygo feel like it's from a class above. There's genuinely good space inside too, with room for four adults without too much complaint. Boot space isn't great though, and there's a very high lip to lift luggage over. Nonetheless, buyers will likely be distracted by the colour and trim options for the cabin anyway.
While driving dynamics are not high up on the list of buyers' priorities for this class, the bar has been raised in recent times by the likes of the Volkswagen up!/Skoda Citigo/SEAT Mii triplets, and Hyundai's i10 doesn't disgrace itself either. All of those cars manage to marry urban bump absorption with decent refinement and even a touch of fun. The Toyota Aygo fits right in, majoring on comfort and refinement. The light controls make it a doddle to fling about in town too and parking is made even easier in models fitted with the reversing camera.
The Aygo's engine is commendably quiet most of the time, with just a hint of its three-cylinder layout at motorway speeds. It's a bit gutless though, even taking its intended habitat into account. Thankfully the new car is lighter than before so it feels spritely enough around town.
What you get for your Money:
The Toyota Aygo will cost from €12,625, which is for a manual three-door car in 'x' guise. That's right on the money in terms of competing with the best cars in the sector . The three trim levels are called x, x-play and x-play+ while two standalone special editions are called x-cite and x-clusiv. The Aygo x comes with LED daytime running lights, stability control, electric front windows and USB connectivity. The Aygo x-play adds 15-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, more stylish exterior elements, heated electric door mirrors, a better stereo and more updates inside including a leather steering wheel with audio and phone controls, plus Bluetooth. To get the x-touch touchscreen system buyers need to opt for the Aygo x-play+, which also comes with air conditioning, a rear view camera and other aesthetic upgrades.
A single 1.0-litre petrol engine is offered, either with a five-speed manual gearbox or the 'x-shift' automated manual. Both three- and five-door body styles are available too, though Toyota expects the five-door model to account for the majority of sales. Projected sales figures for a full year are 250.
Like its predecessor, the new Toyota Aygo is part of a joint venture with the PSA Group, and the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108 come to market this year too. Toyota claims responsibility for the majority of the engineering of the cars, while PSA controlled the purchasing for the project, plus the seats, heating and ventilation systems. Maximum capacity for the factory, for all three derivatives, is 337,000 units per year and Toyota is targeting 80,000 sales per annum. For reference, the original Aygo found 760,000 homes since it was launched in 2005.
Toyota should be slapped on the back for producing such a daring looking car. It will certainly get noticed by those in the market, though there may be some put off by the extrovert appearance. Nonetheless, the Aygo backs it all up by being considerably more refined than before and even cheaper to run. It's also remarkably spacious for the exterior dimensions. This is a thoroughly well-developed and very likeable small car.