This was the bottom line as peddled at the Toyota Aygo's launch in 2005: if every UK motorist ditched their current cars and bought a Toyota Aygo, CO2 emissions would be cut by nearly 50 per cent.

The relative cost of running the car would leave us all with more disposable income, the environment would benefit, and so would the economy.

Senior contributing editor
The promise of Japanese reliability and French charm should make for an alluring combination

All very worthy stuff, and since then there have been many other cars able to approach, match or even outscore the Aygo on CO2 minimalism. But the question remains, now as then: how would someone with a passion for cars cope with using an Aygo as everyday transport?

It’s a question we have to ask, because in many ways the Aygo signalled a new future of mass-produced, affordable motoring in intelligently downsized cars, an approach most recently adopted with the Volkswagen Up whose architecture is closer to that of the Aygo and its cousins than people might care to remember.

These cars are much more than small-volume curios intended to appeal to urban sophisticates. Designed and built in conjunction with the PSA Group, and therefore mechanically identical to (and bodily minimally different from) both the Citroën C1 and Peugeot 107 which go down the same production line in the Czech Republic, the Aygo is Toyota’s first attempt at a Euro-specific budget car.

Prices start from around £7500 for the cheapest three-door. The promise of Japanese reliability and French charm should make for an alluring combination.