Toyota has been bold here. The inspiration for the Aygo’s look is the expansion of a soft centre through a hard shell, hence the dramatic break lines that form the ‘X’ graphic on the nose. But that’s by the by.
The really audacious element of the styling is that a mainstream manufacturer has committed itself to such an obviously divisive feature in the first place. For those who buy into the look-at-me conspicuousness, Toyota has made the front grille, rear bumper insert, front wing section and alloy wheels interchangeable – thereby offering buyers (and dealers) the chance to gently customise the car at any point in its lifetime.
Beneath the phone-cover exterior, there has been much detailed development. Essentially, the Aygo’s shared platform is unchanged, but that statement understates the efforts made to lighten it, stiffen it and better smooth its airflow.
The use of high-tensile steel, an extra 119 spot welds and a thickening of the floor brace have made the car’s architecture more rigid than before and, together with lighter body panels and a new torsion beam, a modest amount of fat has been trimmed from the Aygo’s bone.
The springs and dampers have been retuned in a bid to improve ride comfort, and Toyota claims that a larger electric motor has delivered quicker response to steering inputs.
Efforts to enhance the car’s dynamic performance are arguably outstripped by those made to improve its refinement – surely as much an acknowledgement of its rivals’ achievements as any condemnation of its predecessor.
Better insulation has been introduced to the bonnet, front wings, dashboard, body frame, transmission tunnel and instrument panel, and the Aygo’s underbody has been strengthened specifically to reduce unwanted vibration.
The only engine offered is the carried-over three-cylinder 1.0 VVT-i, which has had its intake and mounts re-engineered to improve its refinement.
Toyota’s dinky three-cylinder petrol engine has been a long-standing feature of the Aygo and has received several updates to ensure that it keeps pace with European emissions standards. The latest iteration is no different and has undergone another overhaul intended to improve performance without dramatically impacting on the car’s bottom line.
Superior economy was the main target, with particular attention paid to the unit’s thermal efficiency. The compression ratio is now marginally higher and Toyota has fitted a new cylinder head with a built-in exhaust manifold to improve exhaust gas recirculation.