Toyota Aygo (2014 -) Driving & Performance

Review by Keith Jones on
Last Updated: 03 Sep 2015
4
This sharply-styled city car is the all-new Toyota Aygo, a direct replacement for the nine-year old outgoing model of the same name. As before, the Aygo is a joint venture with two French manufacturers to produce their city cars.

3.5 out of 5

Performance

With its small, 1.0-litre petrol engine, Toyota Aygo performance is never going to be scintillating, but it’s tuned to work well at lower speeds.

Single petrol engine

Toyota has steered away from recent trends meaning the new Aygo’s 68bhp, three-cylinder engine isn’t turbocharged, hence the low power output, unlike the Renault Twingo, Smart Fortwo, and Fiat 500.

It only produces 95Nm of torque too, at an audible 4,300rpm, but the reality is for city use, where most Aygos will spend the majority of their time, it’s smooth, fairly quiet and efficient.

Venture further afield and you’ll become more aware of the motor’s limitations, taking a leisurely 14.2 seconds to complete the sprint from 0-62mph, that distinctive three-cylinder thrum becoming more noticeable the faster you go. Should conditions legally permit, the Aygo will continue on to a 99mph top speed.

Standard manual gearbox, optional automatic

As standard, all Aygos are fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox that’s positive to use. This is advantageous as to make reasonable progress out of the city limits you will be snicking the lever to and fro with great regularity.

If changing gears yourself isn’t your kind of thing then you need to look at the X-Shift transmission. It’s not a conventional automatic or CVT gearbox, instead the same five-speed manual but with electronics taking care of the clutch.

Again, it’s improved compared to the outgoing Aygo but it’s not especially nice to use. Leave it in fully automatic ‘E’ (for Easy) mode, and there’s a considerable lull between gear changes during which your body gently rocks back and forth.

Steering wheel paddles allow manual control over ratio changes but there’s still an appreciable pause between flicking the paddle and the gear change happening.

Unless you really must drive an automatic, stick to the manual.

Low emissions and high fuel efficiency

Both gearboxes are clean and efficient though, in VED band A for CO2 emissions at 95g/km (manual) and 97g/km (X-Shift), claiming averages of 68.9mpg and 67.3mpg, respectively.

4.5 out of 5

Handling

As a small hatchback with its wheels pushed out far into the corners, the fundamental characteristics of Toyota Aygo handling are good. It’s not a sporty little car, but neither does it pretend to be.

In urban environments it feels easy and light to manoeuvre, coping very well with potholed surfaces and ironworks in the road.

Better body rigidity means softer suspension

Explore further afield at higher speeds and the Aygo’s revised suspension again impresses, feeling soft yet well-controlled, not bouncing along over every undulation in the asphalt. One key factor is an additional 119 spot welds over the previous model, allowing the suspension to be softened as the body itself is more rigid.

Although the steering’s been sharpened, it’s not hugely communicative but there’s a decent amount of weighting, so as not to seem too detached from what the front wheels are up to.

Ease the Aygo into a sweeping bend and it follows your steering intentions faithfully, but rapid changes in direction tend to invite a little understeer into proceedings and it begins to push wide. It’s all easily corrected though.

Manual gearbox and brakes tuned for city use

You will be making frequent use of the five-speed manual gear lever to make decent progress, and it’s one that’s got a pleasant, well-weighted action to it. Forget notions of honing your F1 skills with the paddle-change on the X-Shift though – the experience is anaesthetised.

The brakes, discs at the front, drums at the rear, offer easily modulated stopping power, more than adept at dealing with the Aygo’s lightweight body. Pedal weights feel a little light for those who drive enthusiastically but most will appreciate their ease of use in the city.