Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVTi review

Surprisingly it is nine years since the first Aygo and over that time its number of potential competitors has increased from nine to 20. Yet such were the car's strengths that last year saw the best UK sales so far at 16,539 vehicles. This time out the styling is racier, the engine has been updated, the standard equipment list is longer and there are more personalising options. Toyota has even improved the automatic manual gearbox but it is one option to miss.

The car feels more solid as you might expect if you knew the body has an extra 119 welding points over the outgoing version. General refinement is improved but at times I still found the characterful engine note more irritating than pleasing. Check out Volkswagen's Up and the Skoda Citigo before buying unless that styling is a must-have.

Review by Russell Bray

PERFORMANCE

More standard equipment and safety features mean the overall weight of the Aygo is up by around 30 kg so that the re-engineered 1-litre three-cylinder engine, which produces 68 bhp at 6,000 rpm has to work hard for its living. Maximum torque of 70 lbs ft arrives at 4,300 rpm. The engine feels rather flat at lower revs which is annoying as that is where the gear shift indicator encourages you to spend your time. Acceleration to 62 mph takes a ponderous 14.2 seconds, or 15.5 seconds if you opt for the x-shift automated manual gearbox. Peugeot and Citroen are expected to offer their versions of the car with a diesel engine choice.


HANDLING

Avoiding the kart-like handling cliche (rarely true as karts are rear-wheel drive), the 840 kg Aygo on its now slightly wider track can be pitched into bends with enthusiasm. The skinny tyres hang on well, but you can build up a lot body roll through sweeping corners. Acceleration, and to a degree, gear changing, can produce some front to rear pitching but the bonus of the softish suspension is a good ride over the few bumps we managed to find on the test drive in Holland. The five-speed manual gear change is not the slickest thing around. The steering is quite quick. It is surprisingly easy to reach the lock stops on the steering when manoeuvring.

BODY STYLE

Toyota says this second generation Aygo's design is inspired by Japanese youth culture and in particular, according to Australian-born chief engineer David Terai, a cartoon character called Astro Boy. There certainly are hints of Manga comics, and the prominent front X, available in myriad colours could come straight from the face of a transforming robot.

Cabin space is slightly improved over the first Aygo, though the car is only 25 mm longer and the roof is actually lower. Standard fit projector headlights are halogen while a daytime signature is provided by bright LED tracer lights. Boot capacity has increased by 29 litres to 168 litres. Access is easier. Length 3455 mm. Width 1615 mm.

COMFORT & CONTROLS

Aygo Dashboard

Taller drivers will be grateful for the extra headroom of the 'double bubble' and the 10 mm lower mounted seat. The seat proved comfortable on two longish drives. Rear seat legroom is tiny and only for children or short journeys for adults if the front seat occupants can compromise.

The steering column still doesn't adjust for reach, only tilts, but this is now less of an issue. Steering and pedal weights are low and the light gear change reasonably precise. There's quite a racket from the engine in the first couple of gears and initially it's tricky to judge how many revs you need to move off smoothly.

MPG & RUNNING COSTS

More than 90% of city car customers chose a petrol engine rather than a diesel so Toyota has concentrated on improving the efficiency of its cheerful three-cylinder motor. The official combined cycle fuel consumption has improved from 65.7 mpg to 68.9 mpg while CO2 emissions have dropped four g/km to 95 g/km. The figures are 67.3 mpg and 97 g/km for the automated manual.

On the test route, which included a lot of low speed work, the manual managed 60.1 mpg and the auto 54.3 mpg according to the on-board computers. That is a fuel cost of 8 pence per mile. Neither car attracts road tax being in group A but is not immune to the London congestion charge. The Aygo's warranty is five years/ 100,000 miles.

GREEN CREDENTIALS

Toyota has increased the engine's combustion ratio, reduced its frictional losses and the valve lifters have a motor racing-style diamond-like carbon coating for a smoother, low friction surface, all in the cause of lower fuel consumption. Reduced internal pressure in the twin-tank oil sump allows the oil to heat up quicker for greater efficiency. The exhaust system has gained a gas recirculation system and a catalytic converter.

Engine power has gone up as a result of the changes but not enough that you would notice. Improved aerodynamics reduce drag so saving fuel, while improving stability. The automatic stop start will have reduced emissions with the Dutch passion for traffic lights. According to our calculations, the new Toyota Aygo has a Next Green Car Rating of 27.

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

Smart entry and push-button start saves you time and grief, especially if it is raining. Air conditioning and Bluetooth phone connectivity is standard on x-play trim grades and above. Alloy wheels only arrive on x-pression grade versions. Launch special edition models are the £11,195 x-cite and the top of the range, more premium x-clusiv from £11,295.

Choose the x-touch system and a colour rear view camera shows what is behind on the dashboard centre screen. The system can also 'mirror' many of the functions on smart phones for ease of use while driving. The INstyle pack offers leather upholstery with different colour high lights. The option x-nav satellite navigation pack (£395) was very much work in progress on the test cars. You can override the automatic gear changing of the £700 option x-shift gearbox using paddles on the steering wheel or pushing or pulling the transmission selector lever.

MODEL SUMMARY

Aygo Rear

Model tested:Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVTi x-pression
Body-style:Three or five door city hatchback
Engine/CO2:68bhp 998cc, three-cylinder petrol engine
Trim grades:x, x-play, x-pression plus special edition x-cite and x-clusiv versions

On-road price:From £8,595. Price as tested £11,395
Warranty:Five years/100,000 miles
In the showroom:July 1st 2014
Review rating:3.5 STARS
Next Green Car Rating of 27

Click here for more info about this model range »

Russell Bray

Author:Russell Bray
Date Updated:20th Jun 2014

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