New Toyota Aygo has the X-factor

The first generation Aygo was launched in 2005, Toyota’s first model in the compact city car segment. It was also the result of a new joint-venture with PSA, with the cars specifically developed for Europe and produced at the new Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile factory in the Czech Republic.

The Aygo’s main challenges were to attract young, urban-based customers, and to bring more emotion and a greater sense of playfulness to the Toyota brand. With new colours introduced every year, regular special editions in local markets, and major product updates in 2008 and 2012, Aygo remained fresh throughout its lifecycle.

With total sales of more than 760,000 units, Toyota says that customer conquest and brand loyalty ratings well above those of the average A-segment car indicate that the original Aygo performed very well and managed to live up to the expectations. Now Toyota has unveiled its new model.

And it is very different, because you can ‘change’ your car every year with the new Toyota Aygo. That is because you can switch colours and inserts - even the striking grille – to make it look exactly how you want it. Certainly its X-graphic nose is the most eye-catching.

The Aygo is the first of the three jointly developed models from the three manufacturers to break cover over the next few weeks. The others, the Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1, are built on the same platform, but mark their own design and looks territory.

The Aygo gets here towards the end of July and prices should start around €12,500 for the three-door. The five-door version will be the better-selling and will cost more.

It is a fair step up from the €10,450 for the current three-door, but Toyota argues that the average in this segment is €13,000 and that old Aygo pricing is dated and out of line. Other big rivals include the Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Up.

There are two major themes with this car - making it ‘yours’ (personalisation ) and the second is connectivity.

The X-Play trim version with lots of shiny surfaces is a car for young people - the 25-30 age group are prime targets. They will love all that switching and matching stuff, colours etc .

However, on a practical basis, the boot is small, but the rear seat-backs fold 60:40; the rear lip is high, there is great headroom front and rear, but knee space in the back is more limited. That said, the Aygo is a minicar and Toyota appears to have made the best use of space that the body dimensions allow.

From this model up, there will be huge connectivity and apps when it gets here.

Toyota’s touchscreen remains one of the best to make access and use of multimedia easy and simple. It was excellent in this.

A tweaked version of the existing 1-litre three-cylinder petrol (988cc, 69 bhp, 95g/km, €180 road tax ) powers the new Aygo. It had typical three-cylinder throaty sound up the gears, was a bit flat in the middle range (5-speed box ), but cruised smoothly in top.

The fuel economy figure for ideal driving and conditions is slightly better than the previous model at 4.1l/100km or 69mpg.

There was nice balance in the suspension set-up. And in awkward city streets its size, visibility and tight turning circle made us wonder, again, why we do not buy more cars like this.


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