A relation of mine called up the other day, wanting to know what the Peugeot 107 is like to drive. “Why?” I replied, presuming that there was some logical explanation as to why someone with a small fleet of extremely interesting cars might be interested in a machine like a 107.
“Because according to your magazine there’s an outfit in north London that’s knocking £3000 off the price,” he said. “And if I’m honest, I’ve always quite liked the way they look.”
I told him that it was a perky little thing to drive but not exactly a car for all seasons, or one into whose boot you can squeeze anything larger than a sheet of A4 paper – at which point he seemed to lose interest and we started talking about something else.
The next week however (this week, in fact) I went on holiday and hired the cheapest car in the brochure, as you do – which turned out, by some weird twist on coincidence, to be a Toyota Aygo. Even the bloke behind the rental desk asked, through a cheeky smirk, if I intended to drive up any steep hills “because you might want to think about an upgrade if this is the case.”
Three days and a couple of hundred miles later, however, I’m completely and utterly smitten by this particular Toyota Aygo. Despite what Mr rent-a-shed may have suggested, it has no problem whatsoever going up hills. In fact, its got enough poke to break the speed limit on any road you’d care to mention. So long as you use the rear seats as an extra luggage area when needed, it’s not even that rubbish for space. And purely as a thing to nip about in I think it happens to be borderline fantastic.
The admittedly well run in three-cylinder engine has a zest that is entirely beyond what you’d expect, judging purely from its mechanical specification. The gearchange is light, precise and deliciously connected – in a way that no Vauxhall Corsa has ever been. And the steering/ride/handling are miles better than they have any right to be considering the car appears to be fitted with a set of bicycle tyres.