From £8,3548
First UK drive in Toyota's new city car suggests it successfully marries around-town prowess with a touch of sprightliness on the open road

Our Verdict

Toyota Aygo
The Aygo city car faces stiff competition from the likes of the Volkswagen Up and Fiat Panda

Toyota gets mildly adventurous with its second-generation city car

  • First Drive

    2016 Toyota Aygo X-clusiv review

    The Toyota Aygo X-clusiv is the Japanese car maker's quirky-looking city car in its range-topping trim. Does the extra kit justify the price hike?
  • First Drive

    2014 Toyota Aygo first drive review

    First UK drive in Toyota's new city car suggests it successfully marries around-town prowess with a touch of sprightliness on the open road
16 June 2014

What is it?

The Toyota Aygo – in retail form, and in the UK. It’s been all pre-production drives abroad before this, and while there’ll be a full road test examination in short order, this initial car – one of the few in the country – earns another first look.

Much about it we have learnt before. This is a marginally bigger follow-up to Toyota’s popular city dweller which has been on sale since before Twitter was born. It continues to share a platform with PSA Peugeot Citroën, although aside from the rear passenger door and the angle of the windscreen, not a single body panel is the same.

The Aygo is differentiated even more clearly by the x-graphic on the nose; as brazen a love-or-hate feature as it’s possible to imagine. The shape, of course, is largely incidental – the point is that you can swap out the inserts (quickly, via a dealer) for new ones, thereby personalising your car. Given that there are currently only three colours to choose from, your options are somewhat limited, but you get where Toyota is going.

Its thinking continues inside, where a more uniform architecture can be similarly customised with two levels of interior pack that swap out much of the glossy dashboard plastic (in as little as seven minutes, we’re told). If that weren’t enough, you can also have the distinctive double-bubble roof in a contrast coloured decal.

All of that’s on the option list; as standard in the UK, both the 3 and 5-door Aygo come in three grades: x, x-play and x-pression, with two special editions: x-cite and x-clusiv. As ever, the mid-spec trim will be the seller, but the DAB-equipped, alloy wheeled and x-touch media carrying x-pression looks tempting despite a sizable premium.

The x-clusiv driven here is only a few hundred pounds more than that and largely adds styling enhancements to justify its short price hop. There’s currently only one engine to choose from; the three-cylinder 1.0-litre VVT-i carried over from the previous Aygo, albeit in revised format. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard, with Toyota’s automated manual X-shift a £700 option.

What's it like?

Our yardstick for city cars has moved up a notch or two since the introduction of the impeccably mannered VW Up, but the core credentials remain unchanged: about town convenience, a bit of sprightliness beyond and moderate motorway ability. The Aygo pretty much nails all three. Light control surfaces, its small size, tight turning circle and good visibility make the Toyota a natural urbanite - much as its predecessor was.

In the wider world, the news is better still. Thanks to additional spot welds and a higher use of high-tensile steel, this is a stiffer, lighter Aygo – and it shows. The ride is busy, but very well-judged and rarely seems overloaded; meaning that there’s plenty of play to accommodate some mid-bend surface turbulence even when cornering. The result, when combined with decent grip levels and an even-tempered front end, is a city car that can happily be driven with vigour.

The engine is somewhat less of an attribute. Near the beginning of the Aygo’s life cycle the 1.0-litre unit was an award-winner; now, even tweaked for slightly more power and still better efficiency, it feels off the current three-pot pace. The engineers have reorganised the gearing for a bit more low-range perkiness, and this helps, but there’s a noticeable mid-range flat spot to go with a predictably limited amount of gusto.

By and large, though, this doesn’t detract from the experience. The lowering of the hip point in the front is a boon for keen drivers, but the packaging elsewhere is just as accomplished. The double-bubble roof – unique to Aygo – helps facilitate an impressive amount of back seat headroom. The Aygo ought to seat four sensibly sized adults without a eliciting a groan from any of them. The boot has been made more accessible too; although there’s still a mighty lip to heave shopping over before you’ll find the floor.

Compared with the Up, there are some questionable plastics dotted around the cabin, but if your eye isn’t drawn to the possibilities of those extra colour options, then the 7-inch x-touch screen ought to do the trick. Again, this is a shared item, but that doesn’t detract from its appropriateness - the intuitive, simple menu, easy-peasy connectivity and standard DAB tuner easily proving a match for any of its current rivals.

Should I buy one?

A two-hour spin suggests yes. Over the last few years we’ve applauded most loudly for the Panda’s practicality and sense of fun, and the Up’s polish and maturity; the Aygo, with some sensibly selected updates and gently innovative ideas, appears to have earned mention in the that exalted company.

As Toyota has already acknowledged, there is more competition than ever for a new small car - not least from the PSA alternatives which will certainly be cheaper - but, at the moment, its latest contender looks set to immediately return to our city car top five. How high up? Well, that’s what the road test is for.

Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i

Price £11,695; 0-62mph 14.2sec; Top speed 99mph; Economy 68.9mpg; CO2 95g/km; Kerbweight 900kg; Engine type, cc three-cylinder, 998cc, petrol; Power 69bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 95lb ft at 4300rpm; Gearbox five-speed manual

Join the debate


16 June 2014

I fancy one of these (never thought I would say that about a Toyota!) As Hyundai have now lost there shine (and market share interestingly) it is time to jump ship.

Need to choose colour combo`s carefully I suspect.

16 June 2014

I loved my first Aygo for fun and zip, but it was built down to a price. This one look great inside and out. The X front takes a bit of yet of getting used to, but taking that aside for the moment the overall shape and headlights are good.

Shame they don't put the 1.4 diesel in it, or a 1.3 petrol for a bit more mid range, the gearing of the first Aygo was interstellar....

16 June 2014

That front, what a horrible styling exercise

16 June 2014

What's with the car design (styling) these days? On one hand we've Volkswagen and it's innumerable subsidiaries whose face-lifts are at best microscopic and at worst stuck in past.
On the other hand we've Japanese car makers whose face-lifts have little if anything in common with the previous generation cars. That leaves the Koreans perhaps in the sweet spot.
Disclaimer: I'm not a Hyundai dealer and do not work in the car industry (before anyone says, let me clarify)

16 June 2014

They should do one in light blue with a white 'X' at the front. It would be a best seller in Scotland. I might even buy one.

16 June 2014

I don't mind the outside, but the inside is a mess. I'd have a Twingo or new Forfour if it were me

17 June 2014

it's a little beauty. Saw it on trade plates in London last week and for the first time in ages I found a little car that I just wanted for no other reason than it made me want to own it. Well done Renault.

20 June 2014

I'm slightly changing my opinion of this car. I'm getting over the EEEEeeeeeww front. I still find the rear a bit troubling though.

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