What is it?
Believe it or not, this is the brand new Toyota Aygo. Could you tell? It’s the first in the triplet of city cars produced by Peugeot (108), Citroen (C1), and Toyota, and the first – by our reckoning – to have been openly based on a Japanese cartoon. This is excellent.
The chief engineer of the new Aygo, David Terai, admitted he loved Astroboy growing up as a child, and so wanted something as easily identifiable – and exciting – as him. Hence the new ‘X’ face and more radical design compared to its conservative predecessor. It’s lower, longer and more rigid than before. It’s even got a double bubble roof for heaven’s sake.
Toyota has done the engineering on the trio of city cars, carrying over the front suspension from the last model but here retuning the dampers and springs front and back, as well as increasing the rigidity of the front stabiliser. Out back there’s a torsion beam setup that’s 3.3kg lighter than before.
You’ll immediately notice the improved ride comfort and superior soundproofing over the outgoing model, but also that it’s a hoot to drive. Turn-in is sharp, if lacking the constant fizz and feedback you’d like, but the chassis moves around predictably underneath you through fast, flowing bends. It could do with a flatter stance through corners but on the whole it’s A Good Thing.
The sweet three-cylinder engine has the same 1.0-litre capacity as before, but here it gets new bits to make it more thrifty. It’s also wonderful to thrash – though choose your gearbox wisely. The five-speed manual feels a little long geared, while downshifts on the auto feel sportier than the yawning upshifts. Weird.
On the inside
As is the case with such things, the new Aygo is customisable: as well as the grille on the outside, you can change the instrument panel, centre console, air vents, shift knob and gear lever surround to your taste, should you so wish.
There’s a very nice multimedia touchscreen slap bang in the middle that handles all your infotainment, as well as a rear view camera as standard. Overall fit and finish is good, as you’d expect from a Toyota, and there’s a smidgen more boot space too.
It’s a Toyota, and likely to retain better value than its French counterparts, and feels built to last. The improved engine promises 95g/km of CO2 and the possibility of 69mpg, so it’ll be peanuts to run. And we’re told this one should fare better in those critical EuroNCAP tests too, with a predicted four stars. Remember, the last Aygo only got three.