The Toyota Aygo promises Japanese reliability and French charm, but does it deliver?
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What is it?
Think of the Aygo Crazy as the love child of a Toyota MR2 and an ordinary Aygo. Don’t get too excited, it’s not going to make it into production. The Aygo Crazy is a one-off that combines an Aygo body with a mid-mounted turbocharged 1.8-litre engine, rear-wheel drive and a full roll cage. There’s no power steering, traction control, brake servo assistance or ABS.
The result is a 197bhp car that weighs a whisker over 1000kg. That translates into a sub-6.0sec sprint to 60mph and – although nobody has been brave enough to confirm it yet – an estimated 127mph top speed.
What’s it like?
At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this Aygo was a homemade special, all bodykit and no trousers. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll spot the widened track – and the leather-trimmed engine cover where the rear seats ought to be.
Toyota have finished the car with a suede Sparco steering wheel, roll-cage and four-point harnesses. The seats and doors are covered in an expensive-feeling mixture of red suede and great leather, but the dashboard – and largely pointless stereo – are taken straight from the standard Aygo.
As soon as you start the engine and move off, you realise how focused this car is on serious driving – the unassisted steering, heavy clutch and racer-firm ride leave you in no doubt.
Through suburban sprawl, the Aygo Crazy is frustrating. The big chin spoiler constantly threatens to rip itself off on speed humps, and the woeful turning circle makes tight junctions a tricky (and potentially embarrassing exercise.
But these frustrations fade once you get a chance to open the throttle. Hard acceleration proves this mad, mid-engined Aygo is a seriously rapid machine, the engine hurling you along to the accompaniment of a wave of whooshes, whistles and chirrups.
Get to a corner and again you’re aware of the physical limitations of the Aygo’s odd layout, the high-set engine slung over the rear wheels giving the potential for very snappy oversteer. With a little practice the rear-heavy weight distribution can be used like in an old Porsche 911, quelling its tendency to understeer when you turn-in to a corner.
So should I buy one?
It’s a moot point, because you can’t. Toyota spent something close to £100,000 developing this one-off and there are no plans to produce another. A real shame – because we reckon this would be the tool for embarrassing exotica at track days.