Road test: Toyota Aygo
WE SAY: The Aygo’s fun and cheap to run, but the rear and boot are tiny.
What is it?
The Toyota Aygo is a funky and fun ‘city car’ that’s economical to run and well kitted out. However, it’s very small, and noisy when driven at speed.
How safe is it?
Although it’s one of the smallest cars you can buy, the Aygo comes with front, side and curtain airbags, stability control, hill-start assist and ISOFIX child seat mounts.
Who should buy one?
Give the Aygo a good look if your journeys are mostly around town, and your eye is firmly fixed on keeping running costs right down.
Road test by Abby Luckhurst published 21 November 2015
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Little cars with little engines generally need to be worked hard. But that doesn’t mean they won’t work well. The first generation Aygo was a popular ‘city car’ choice – good looking, fun to drive and cheap to run. The second generation Aygo launched in 2014 as a joint venture with Citroën (the C1) and Peugeot (the 108). There’s only one engine choice for the Aygo – a 1.0-litre petrol. The Peugeot and Citroën version also offer a 1.2-litre.
There are 10 versions of the Aygo, all sharing the same 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine. We used an x-cite five-door model, fitted with additional x-nav navigation system, for a variety of journeys in town, across country and on the motorway. Why ‘x’? Just take a look at the front and you’ll see the striking black ‘x’ motif that sweeps down from below the wing mirrors.
Anyway, a 1.2 version would have put paid to one of our criticisms – that acceleration is in meagre supply, especially from a standing start. As is often the case, performance picks up in the mid range, and there is reward for your efforts if you’re willing to do a bit more changing up and down the gearbox than you might expect. The message is that you can have fun with the Aygo, but you’ll need to plan those overtakes carefully, and think that bit further ahead all the time.
Although the Aygo’s natural home is an urban environment, we really enjoyed the firm ride and precise handling on the snaky rural lanes that surround our home. The driving experience here was both entertaining and positive.
We found a sweet point somewhere between 50 and 60mph. Higher than this felt a struggle, especially along a busy and unforgiving stretch of the M5 motorway. Staying behind the big trucks was unsatisfactory, but negotiating space and speed to get past them risked incurring the displeasure of more capable cars (as well as an unwelcome rise in engine and road noise).
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Sitting in the front of the Aygo was comfortable from a height point of view. There was excellent front seat headroom, even for six-footers, and the sporty front seats were firm yet supportive. They’re also easily adjustable, with impressive reach that would not disappoint drivers with the longest of legs. The rear seats offer a less impressive and distinctly claustrophobic experience, as experienced by two friends on a short journey to a nearby yoga class. With its tiny pop-out windows, it really is just that bit too cramped.
You wouldn’t buy a car like this if you need space. For luggage, reckon on little more than a briefcase and a couple of shopping bags. If this matters to you, then look at the Skoda Citigo or Hyundai i10, both of which offer nearly 50 per cent more cargo space. There are modest side pockets in all four doors, and a good-sized glove box. The rear seats fold down with a 50:50 split.
The Aygo achieved four stars in Euro NCAP tests. Safety features include six airbags (front, side and curtain), stability control, hill start assist (simply dab the brake pedal to apply the brakes for two seconds to avoid rolling back) and tyre pressure monitors as well as anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and speed limiter. A simple rear-view camera assists with parking.
Opt for an entry-level ‘x’ model and you won’t find many treats and gadgets included. Our higher-specced ‘x-cite’ model included the gloss black front X, gloss black door handles and mirrors, 15-inch alloys and front fogs. The £395 x-nav navigation system took a bit of finding through the sophisticated multimedia system, and demonstrated one or two directional quirks. The ‘x-clusiv’ spec includes climate control.
The basic ‘x’ version costs £8,845. Our x-cite, at £11,845, included a fair bit more kit. When the running costs come under the microscope, then it gets exciting for misers like us. The insurance is low, the minuscule CO2 emissions mean the car qualifies for VED Band A status, meaning there’s nothing to pay, and the claimed combined economy is just a tad under 69mpg.
WE SAY The Aygo’s fun and cheap to run, but the rear and boot are tiny.
AT A GLANCE:
Price: £12,240 as tested
Performance: 0-62mph in 14.2 seconds
Economy: 68.9mpg combined
Insurance: Group 8E
Tax: Band A (£0)
Figures for the x-cite 1.0-litre 5-door manual