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Toyota keeps the city car alive by turning it into a crossover, but at what cost?

The city car is dead. Long live the city crossover. The Toyota Aygo X is a rare new entrant in the beleaguered city car class

We are forever being told that the A-segment, to use the industry term, is a tough one. People shopping for the smallest cars expect a low price, but these ‘cheap’ cars still shouldn’t embarrass their makers in NCAP tests or scupper their emissions targets with their unhybridised powertrains.

It’s pronounced ‘Aygo Cross’ like the Yaris Cross, even though that is spelled ‘Yaris Cross’, not ‘Yaris X’.

No wonder, then, that Citroën and Peugeot have thrown in the towel by selling their stake in the factory in Kolín, Czech Republic, where they were building the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108 alongside the Toyota Aygo

Toyota still sees a future for the A-segment, though, and bought the Stellantis-owned brands’ stake in the plant to continue building the Aygo there on its own.

Toyota’s cheapest car has evolved into the Aygo X (pronounced ‘Cross’). That means it has got slightly bigger, slightly taller, slightly more grown- up, and rather a lot more expensive. After all, raising prices is the only way this type of car can be viable.

Or is it? Once you look closely at what’s available, you realise that Toyota won’t exactly have the market to itself. Sure, the Volkswagen Up and petrol Fiat 500 are ancient, and despite its reluctant breeding habits, the Fiat Panda hasn’t gone extinct, either. 

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The Kia Picanto and Hyundai i10 are still relatively fresh, the Dacia Sandero is larger but astounding value, and it’s not like Toyota is the first to make its A-segment car into a micro-SUV, because Suzuki did it in 2016 with the Suzuki Ignis.

There aren’t as many alternatives as there once were, but the Aygo X will still need to prove that it’s worth its spicy entry price.

The Toyota Aygo X line-up at a glance

Even by the standards of the class, the Aygo X range is very simple. There’s one engine and a choice of a manual or a CVT automatic gearbox. There is a larger choice of trim levels, ranging from Pure, to Edge, Exclusive and finally Limited Edition.

1.0 VVT-i 71bhp £14,805

Toyota Aygo X First drives