Toyota Aygo Review
The Toyota Aygo has a funky design that’s easy to personalise to your taste and it’s also fairly quiet on the move, but there are more spacious city cars out there.
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If small city cars were the extras in the background of a TV soap opera, the Toyota Aygo would be the garishly-clad busker playing the accordion in the back of shot.
Its gaping grille, contrasting roof and aggressive bumpers certainly make it look more interesting than the likes of the business-like VW Up, Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii, and you can personalise it further with some seriously bold paint jobs. Luminous orange, anyone?
It looks pretty eye-catching inside, too – providing you avoid entry-level models that look as spartan as a branch of Woolworths 10 years after a closing-down sale. All Toyota Aygos get a minimalist centre console and, besides X models, there’s a touchscreen infotainment system with intuitive smartphone mirroring for Apple and Android devices. There are lots of hard plastics dotted about the place, but that’s not uncommon in small city cars.
Space in the front seats is pretty good for such a small car, but you can’t adjust the height of the driver’s seat in entry-level Toyota Aygos. You don’t get adjustable lumbar support, either, but at least there’s plenty of padding to prevent uncomfortable backache on long trips.
Unfortunately, you can’t say the same of the Toyota Aygo’s back seats. Like the VW Up, it only comes with two, but they aren’t particularly spacious or well-cushioned and anyone over six-foot will really struggle for leg- and headroom. The Aygo’s boot isn’t as big as the Up’s, either, and a very tall boot lip means it isn’t particularly easy to load.
Sadly, the Aygo’s slightly drab cabin can’t match its funky look-at-me exterior, but at least everything’s easy to use
But like most city cars, the Toyota Aygo is better suited to trips to the shops than long journeys, and, as such, comes with features designed to keep you safe around town, such as a hill-start assist on all models. It’s disappointing, though, that automatic emergency braking and lane departure alert are only standard on range-topping X-clusiv models. At least they’re optional on lesser trims.
You’ll feel a thud from large potholes through your seat slightly more in the Toyota Aygo than in the more comfortable Up, and the Aygo’s three-cylinder petrol engine drones rather loudly when you accelerate hard, but it’s reasonably frugal and has just enough power to keep up with traffic.
If you do head out onto faster roads, you’ll find the Toyota Aygo does a good job muffling annoying wind and tyre noise and it doesn’t lean a great deal in tight corners.
That said, the Toyota Aygo is better suited to trips to the shops than long motorway journeys, and, as such, comes with plenty of features designed to keep you safe around town, including automatic emergency braking. As a result, the Toyota Aygo makes a good city car, and a worthy alternative to the likes of the VW Up, Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii.
There’s plenty of space in the Toyota Aygo’s front seats for you to stretch out, but your passengers in the back will feel very cramped by comparison. The boot isn’t very generous, either
The Aygo’s rather cramped back seats are like the opposite of a roller coaster ride – only small people should be allowed on…
The Toyota Aygo is only a small car, but there’s plenty of space in the front seats for tall adults to get comfortable. The seats themselves are reasonably supportive and you get driver’s seat-height adjustment as standard in all but entry-level X cars.
The reasonably large windows help stop the cabin from feeling too dark or claustrophobic – especially if you pay extra for the optional folding fabric roof in X-plore models – but space in the back is still pretty cramped.
You only get two seats, and anyone over six-foot-tall will really struggle for head and knee room. There’s space for two kids to spread out, however, but even they will find the firm seats pretty uncomfortable on long journeys.
It’s relatively easy to fit a child seat using the standard Isofix anchor points, though, and the Toyota’s reasonably tall roof (for a small car, at least) means you won’t have to lean down too far to strap in a child.
The Toyota Aygo doesn’t come with many handy cubby holes, but there’s still space to squirrel away a few small items in the glovebox and the front door bins are big enough to carry a one-litre bottle each. You get a pair of cupholders just in front of the gear lever, too, and a small tray beside them for storing your phone.
There aren’t any cupholders for passengers in the back, but they do get a space in each door pocket for a drinks can or a small bottle.
The Toyota Aygo’s 168-litre boot is pretty small – even for a compact city car. There’s just enough space for two small suitcases, but a baby buggy will be a very tight squeeze and the tall boot lip makes it tricky to pack full of bulky luggage. If you regularly carry large suitcases, the Kia Picanto with its 255-litre boot will be much easier to live with.
It’s a similar story when you fold the Toyota Aygo’s back seats down – its 806-litre capacity falls significantly behind the 1,010-litre Picanto and 959-litre Up. Unlike the Kia, there’s a tall step in the boot floor behind the back seats which makes it a real pain to slide heavy boxes all the way forward.
At least there’s just about enough space for a small bike (once you remove one of its wheels, that is) and you can fold the back seats down in a 50:50 split if you need to carry some long luggage and a passenger in the back at once.
Sadly, you don’t get any shopping hooks to hold your groceries securely like in the Skoda Citigo, and you can’t adjust the Toyota Aygo’s boot floor height to reduce the size of the tall load lip.
Only one engine available, but manual or automatic gearboxes
The Aygo may be short on power most of the time but it compensates with agile handling
You can only get the Toyota Aygo with one engine – a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol. It produces 72hp, so it’s perky enough to potter around town but it struggles to keep up with fast-moving motorway traffic. Accelerating from 0-62mph takes a very leisurely – and quite noisy – 14 seconds.
Stick to quiet country roads, however, and it’s reasonably quiet fairly cheap to run. Toyota claims it’ll return 68.9mpg, but you’ll have to drive with the patience of a saint to get anywhere near that rather optimistic figure. You should be able to crack 55mpg, which is about as good as any of its alternatives.
The standard five-speed manual gearbox is still pretty easy to use and the Toyota’s light controls mean it isn’t particularly tiring to drive for long periods or in heavy traffic. There’s also the option of an x-shift automatic gearbox, which is fine if you absolutely must have an auto. Next to the autos in an i10 or Picanto, though, it feels quite jerky at low speeds.
Despite its small size, you get a good view out of the Toyota Aygo. This is thanks to the large windows and a relatively raised seating position. As a result, it’s dead easy to thread through tight city streets and you won’t have any trouble spotting cars approaching at junctions.
You can’t get it with any fancy automatic parking systems, but the Aygo’s light steering and small size mean you won’t have any trouble squeezing it into tight parking spaces. To help prevent any bumper scuffs, you can pay extra for some optional rear parking sensors.
Around town, the Toyota does a reasonable job of softening bumps in the road but large potholes still send an unpleasant thud through the cabin. The new Toyota Aygo does come with added sound insulation to muffle the roar from the tyres at speed, but it’s still a little noisier than the VW Up. Head off the motorway and you’ll find the Toyota Aygo corners without leaning too much, but it’s not as fun to drive as Picanto, i10, Citigo or Up.
Pick a top-spec X-clusiv model, you get plenty of safety kit as standard, including lane-departure warning and automatic emergency braking to help prevent avoidable low-speed collisions. Unfortunately, you can’t get these features on entry-level cars and they’re optional extras on other models in the range.
The Toyota Aygo’s 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system looks pretty smart and it’s fairly easy to use, but it doesn’t come with sat-nav or smartphone mirroring as standard