The McMurtry Spéirling hurtled up the Goodwood hillclimb last month in a fantastically short amount of time – less than any other car in Festival of Speed history.
Thousands of race cars have made that ascent, all designed with purity and speed in mind and therefore not wasteful in the slightest, yet among them the Spéirling still stands small. At just 3.2 metres long and 1.5 metres wide, its footprint is little bigger than an original Mini’s. So as its ground-effect turbine kicked metaphorical sand into the collective faces of the bigger cars around it, it scored one for the little guy.
And so to the Toyota Aygo X. Is it here to repeat the feat in its chosen field? We will see. It replaces Toyota’s Aygo, which belongs to a class that Toyota is keen to keep alive even while Citroën and Peugeot, which used to produce cars the same as the Aygo in all but name and badging, have given up on the idea.
The problem is that it’s incredibly hard to make money from small cars, and every time another expensive-to-meet emissions or NCAP safety regulation strolls in, the harder it gets. So the Yaris-platformed Aygo X is not only a little taller and a little more rugged than most city cars but also not just a little more expensive. It starts at £14,805 and in this Limited Edition form costs £19,650.
So don’t just think of it as a city car. Think of it as the hottest crossover in town (Toyota’s words) or as a compact lifestyle SUV (my words).
Probably to its credit, Toyota has resisted the urge to photograph people doing lifestyle-ish things in the Aygo X, given that it’s so small. As for a sofa advert, it’s probably better not to photograph tall people with it, lest it looks its size. It’s 23cm longer than the old Aygo, but it’s still minuscule by most new car standards.