The new Toyota Aygo has arrived in South Africa but does it have enough X-Factor to drive sales in the A segment?
We get quite excited when a new model is launched, and when the next-generation Aygo rolled off the ship in Durban in October, we were delighted to give it a go. Our first impressions were relatively positive but we recently spent more time with the Aygo to get a better sense of its everyday liveability. Let’s see how this city slicker weighs up…
In a recent Cars.co.za survey, the new Aygo came out on top as the most attractive boutique city car in South Africa, a result, which speaks volumes, especially when you consider that it pipped longer standing models such as the Opel Adam and Volkswagen up! in the final vote.
So what makes the Aygo so attractive? For starters, that bold X motif in the grille certainly makes itself known and shouts ‘Look at Me’ to every other car on the road. Mix the X with two-tone styling and the Aygo suddenly comes to life. Our particular test unit is an X-Play Black derivative meaning that the roof is black, contrasting with an Ice White body. The black roof can also be paired with Cherry Red body colour and buyers can also opt for X-Play Silver, which matches a silver roof with an Ash Grey body. If you're not into two-tone, you can just go for the stock-standard Aygo, with no contrasting. You decide!
Step inside, and the vibe is fresh and functional yet not too exciting. The interior is rather basic and fit and finish is average. The seats are comfortable enough though and they feature multi-tone inserts for added contrast. You will also notice a large round speedometer unit directly behind the steering wheel which houses the central trip computer, a coloured bar tachometer and a shift indicator to remind you to change gears. The most important addition to this new Aygo is the touchscreen audio system that happens to be simple to use and takes care of your Bluetooth and music requirements. The touchscreen also adds a dash of colour to the interior, which is nice. There’s also a USB and auxiliary port for hooking up your devices.
The boot is rather small at 168-litres so don’t expect to fit large items in there, but you can fold the seats down for more space. Rear passengers will find the Aygo to be quite cramped as head space and rear legroom is compromised quite severely. This type of city car is generally suitable for the solo driver who heads into the city everyday.
How does the Aygo drive?
The Aygo is fitted with a 3-cylinder 1.0-litre engine that offers 51 kW and 95 Nm of torque. Those are relatively small numbers, but for a small car that weighs only 855kg, it’s enough to get around town at a decent pace. The Aygo is by no means sluggish from robot to robot, but the clutch position does take some getting used to and the throttle does require a heavy foot to get the revs up. The 5-speed transmission shifts nicely through the gears and if driven conservatively, decent fuel consumption figures can be achieved too. Toyota claims 4.4L/100km on the combined cycle and during our time with the Aygo we managed to achieve in the region of 7L/100km which should be easy to improve upon with a more reserved driving style.
The one thing you will notice when driving the Aygo is the engine noise. Under hard acceleration, the Aygo pipes up and makes a throaty, even racy type of sound typical of small capacity 3-cylinder engine. It’s cool at first, but then just becomes annoying and to mitigate this you have to adopt a conservative driving approach to minimise the engine rumble. That said, the engine is not as refined as other 3-cylinder 1.-0-litre engines we have tested. You'll find it smoother going in something like the Volkswagen up!, Opel Corsa and Opel ADAM.
The Aygo makes up for its refinement issues with excellent handling. The steering is well-weighted and provides good feedback to the driver. With its compact dimensions, the Aygo can be thrown into corners with confidence and the suspension setup delivers good ride quality too. Over severe bumps and undulations on the road, the Aygo can get a bit crashy but it manages to even out the rough stuff relatively well. Overall, the Aygo pulls off the city car character quite well and delivers good driving fun, albeit a bit noisy.
In terms of safety, the Aygo comes fitted with a total of four airbags, ABS with EBS, Brake Assist and ISOFIX child seat mounts.
Toyota Aygo Price in South Africa
The Toyota Aygo X-Play Black and Silver derivative is priced from R139 900 while the base monotone Aygo is priced at R138 900.
Prices include 3-year/100 000km warranty while a service plan is offered as an option. If buyers purchase the Aygo before 31 December 2015, Toyota will throw in a 3-year/45 000km service plan to sweeten the deal until the end of 2015.
The Aygo is a solid offering from Toyota and it will appeal to buyers looking for a bit more character and charm from their car. Performance and efficiency is good within the city limits and excellent handling makes the Aygo fun to drive on a daily basis. Space for goods and passengers is limited, but as a basic city runabout, the Aygo performs its duties reasonably well within the confines of its small dimensions. If you can tolerate the vocal engine noise then the Aygo is a good companion for tackling the urban jungle.
Test Team Opinion
The Toyota Aygo offers an interesting start into the world of motoring and its quite funky to look at and to drive. Despite a gruff sounding engine and some cheap build finish, I quite like its characterful nature. -David Taylor
We Like: Fresh Styling, excellent handling, decent performance, nice price
We Don’t Like: Harsh engine noise,average choice of materials
Toyota Aygo – Quick Specs