If you could identify the perfect application for electric power steering, the Toyota Aygo would be high up the list. Its intended role is predominantly urban, involving many tight manoeuvres, and the engine hasn’t the luxury of surplus power to spare on hydraulic ancillaries.
So it comes as no surprise that the Aygo’s electric rack is largely lifeless at speed because it’s a twirling dervish in town: fast and little-finger light. Combined with small overhangs and a good but not exceptional turning circle it makes for a supremely manoeuvrable car.
Again, the chassis – featuring front suspension by struts and a torsion beam at the rear, as you’d expect – has sensibly been optimised for low-speed town work and the result is a pleasantly compliant ride.
The car bobs around a little, evidence that there’s a reasonable amount of suspension in the tyre sidewalls, but it’s also obvious once you crash into one of Britain’s ever-subsiding drainage covers that the Aygo has an extremely stiff bodyshell.
Clear of town there is less to enjoy about the Aygo. It has moderate grip levels, consistent but ultimately limited damping and a particular lean angle that ex-owners of Renault 4s will find familiar.
The only way to elevate the Aygo from being a perfectly serviceable but uninspiring car on the open road is to inject some energy into the proceedings yourself. Then it responds faithfully, even if the tyres tend to protest quite a lot.