From £8,3148
Funkier styling with crisper handling means the new Toyota Aygo is shaping up to be a competent Volkswagen Up rival

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

17 March 2014

What is it?

A new Toyota Aygo, the city car from the triumvirate produced in a joint venture between Toyota, Citroën (C1) and Peugeot (108). It has been such a successful collaboration – more than two million of the trio have found homes since 2005 – that continuing the partnership was a straightforward call.

This time around there are bigger visual differences between the three cars – on the outside, at least. To our eyes, the Toyota remains the most distinctive. It has this bold cross thing going on at the front, which is meant to look like some curved forms are breaking out of a cubic mould. Toyota doesn’t mind if its weirdness puts some buyers off; the idea is that other buyers will be too bowled over to buy anything else. It's a chance worth taking if you get character, Toyota thinks.

What allows the visual differentiation is that, outside, only the front doors and screen surround are common to the three cars. All other exterior panels are different, down to the Aygo’s double-bubble roof. That’s allowed by a more intelligent use of what is, in essence, the same platform as before, albeit heavily updated. The structure is much improved, with high-strength steels and extra spot welds (another 119 if you’re counting) used in key areas, which increase torsional rigidity and, presumably, crash performance significantly.

Toyota wants the new Aygo to be more ‘playful’ than before. Hence not only the design, but also a lower driver’s hip-point, making the driving position less upright and more youthful. Despite there being a 5mm lower roofline, then, front headroom has increased by 7mm. An 8mm wider track gives a little extra muscle to the stance (although these things are relative), while the wheelbase is the same and the overall length is up by just 25mm; at 3455mm, this is still a compact city car, as you’ll find out if you try to get in the back.

Power comes from a 69bhp 1.0 three-cylinder petrol engine, the only powerplant available. It has the same '1KR' designation as before, but has again been significantly reworked, primarily for greater efficiency. There’s now (if you spec stop-start) a version emitting as little as 88g/km of CO2. The regular five-speed manual is a 95g/km, 68.9mpg car, while even the five-speed single-clutch robotised, flappy-paddle manual – designated x-shift – emits just 97g/km (67.3mpg).

What's it like?

More pleasant inside, certainly. Our test cars were pre-production examples, but apparently not far away from the finished item save for trim fit, although that seemed decent enough. Bold colours and design touches make a welcome entrance, as does a 7-inch touchscreen on some models.

Toyota is offering a new degree of personalisation in this Aygo. The brighter bits of plastic can be swapped in a quarter of an hour for ones of a different colour; ditto plastic bits of the exterior, only in more time, and probably at a dealer, and probably leaving you with (or relieving you from) a two-tone Aygo. Which might be weird.

But if you’re reading Autocar the chances are you’re more interested in how it drives, and the news there is pretty positive. The old Aygo had a few good qualities, most notably a feeling of agility and an appealing thrum to the three-cylinder engine.

Those elements have been retained, while joining them are the benefits of the stiffer bodyshell. There’s more precision and less kickback through the steering and the manual gearshift is much more positive (the five-speed auto wants patience). Control weights are all light and easy.

Our drive was restricted to a test track, and while the surfaces weren’t perfect – far from it, in fact – I wouldn’t yet want to make a definitive assessment of ride quality. But it feels relatively pliant, with modest grip levels and enough lean to pick-up a rear wheel in cornering. The handling is crisper and, while the Aygo is not an enthusiast’s car, there’s fun to be had driving any car this small and agile and whose three-pot motor is so easy to warm to.

Elsewhere, the Aygo is as you were. The boot's opening is slightly larger than before and the load space itself grows from 139 litres to 168 litres. It’s still quite diddy, though, as is the turning circle, and as is accommodation in the back; adults will only want to countenance short journeys in the rear. Access to the rear is fine, but we’ve only tried a five-door. A three-door goes on sale as the same time as the 5dr.

Should I buy one?

Sure. Our nod might still be towards a Fiat Panda or a Volkswagen Up (or its sister models), but there’s much to like about the Aygo. The littlest Toyota has sold comparatively well in the UK despite it, typically, being slightly more expensive than its PSA alternatives. 

People tend to like Toyota dealers, and as this is the only budget Toyota you can get, a lot of buyers get steered towards it. Last year, in fact, was the Aygo’s record sales year in the UK, which isn’t shabby for a nine-year-old car. 

Having received a healthy dose of interestingness and objective improvement, this one deserves to do even better.

Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i

Price na; 0-62mph 14.2sec; Top speed 100mph; Economy 68.9mpg; CO2 95g/km; Kerb weight 840kg; Engine 3-cyls in line, 998cc, petrol; Power 69bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 70lb ft at 4300rpm; Gearbox 5-spd manual

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Comments
18

17 March 2014

it's a bit slow from 0-62.

17 March 2014

Bear in mind that Toyota's 0-62mph time is probably achieved at half maximum payload - and there is probably some incentive to understate the car's performance in order to secure low insurance raitngs (and I bet this car achieves an ABI group 1 classification). I suspect this car will feel faster than the figures suggest.
I must admit that the visual treatment is starting to grow on me, and I really like the idea of customizable panels.
I wonder why Toyota isn't offering Peugeot's more powerful engine though? I'm sure that really would address any performance shortcomings, real or perceived.

17 March 2014

How does lowering the hip point a bit and making it slightly less upright make the driving position more 'youthfull'?

17 March 2014

Quite a nice little car,won't see more than two in it,but that doesn't matter, i'd sooner drive one of these in City than use public transport or indeed one of the other perceived super Mini's.

Peter Cavellini.

17 March 2014

a Nissan Leaf.

17 March 2014

Not very often you see the automated manual get worse figures than the manual version. I think my favorite is still the 108

17 March 2014

I had a sit in one at the Geneva show last week. As an ex-Aygo owner, I was really interested to see how the new one compares. I loved my old Aygo, and sitting in the driving seat, the new one feels warmly familiar, but they have clearly improved certain things that probably needed it. I didn't notice a difference in the driving position apart from the fact that they've added a height-adjustable seat, which was needed. I wouldn't call it more "youthful" though - the driving position was pretty okay before. Space is also fine in the back unless the driver is stupidly tall; I never had a problem in my old one and people often passed comment on how roomy it was. The optional canvas sunroofs are also a big pull on this new model, as is the touch screen (which doesn't look stuck-on like a few certain rivals). Overall I was much more impressed looking at the car up-close than I was by the initial pictures. I'm sure these three will be a roaring success once again.


"Work hard and be nice to people"

17 March 2014

From some angles it reminds me of a scaled down Ford Focus mk1

17 March 2014

The Aygo is definitely the most distinctive of the trio, as is the case with the current versions. The new 108 looks the dullest.

17 March 2014

Really not sure on the big X of the aygo. I prefer the C1, think that looks really good. Neither as good looking as the Twingo

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