Toyota Aygo city car
Price: £8,595 - £11,510
- Stylish looks
- Cheap to run
- Great dealer network
- Three star safety rating
- Noisy at motorway speed
- Rivals are more practical
"The Toyota Aygo is an economical and stylish little city car that rivals models like the Kia Picanto and SEAT Mii."
There's only one engine available – a three cylinder, 67bhp 1.0-litre petrol . But there's a choice of six specification levels: Active, Active Plus, Mode, Move, Mode With Air Con, and Move With Style. Entry level models are pretty sparsely equipped, though – alloys are only standard on Mode spec cars and above, for example.
And that's not the only issue – the Aygo struggles a bit on motorways, and the engine doesn’t quite have the power to cope with the speed. Space in the rear seats is also really limited, and the Aygo has a very small boot. It also has a three star safety rating from Euro NCAP – which is not great in a time when most cars have a five-star rating.
But the Aygo's biggest problem is that there has been a raft of new rivals launched in recent years – like the Hyundai i10 and Skoda Citigo – that don’t suffer from any of these issues. However, a new Aygo is set to be released in 2014 that is likely to be a whole lot more competitive.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Very economical but also cheap to tax and insure
The Toyota Aygo is really cheap to run thanks to a low insurance group rating, which keeps premiums down, and the fact that its lightweight body and efficient engines make it very economical and free to tax.
Toyota doesn’t sell the Aygo with a diesel engine, but the 67bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder on offer is very efficient. It will do 65.7mpg and emit 99g/km CO2 when fitted with a manual gearbox. You can get the Aygo with an automatic, but this has a negative effect on fuel consumption and emissions and isn’t good to drive, so we wouldn’t recommend it.
The Aygo's economy and efficiency statistics may not be class leading but they’re so good that any improvements you’ll find on rivals will only offer very small benefits in terms of savings at the fuel pump. And the Aygo comes with a five-year/100,000 mile warranty to ensure you don’t fall foul of any major repair bills during the early part of ownership.
Interior & comfort
Comfortable around town and on short journeys
The Aygo is a city car and is good at what it was designed for – so if all you need it for is zipping around town and the occasional shopping trip, then you’ll find it is pretty comfortable. The suspension is relatively soft and cushioning, so it eases you over all but the worst bumps and potholes on the road. But on anything other than short urban trips, the Aygo can get pretty uncomfortable.
There's not a whole lot of adjustment in the driving position, which makes getting it just right very difficult. Plus the seat bases are really flat, which will gives you a numb bum over longer distances.
Take the Aygo out on to an A road or motorway and the engine will struggle to get you up to speed, and gets really loud as a result. The cabin isn’t very well insulated from wind and road noise, either, so it gets really noisy on the inside, which gets a bit draining. The rear seats are too cramped to accommodate adults in comfort, too. So if you plan on carrying people or on ever heading out of town, rival cars like the Skoda Citigo, Hyundai i10 or VW up! will suit you better.
Practicality & boot space
The boot is very small and rear seats are hard to access
Some city cars are so surprisingly spacious on the inside that you can’t help but wonder if you’ve clambered into the Tardis. The Aygo isn’t one of them – it's as small on the inside as you’d imagine from its tiny exterior dimensions.
There's plenty of space up front but the rear seats are a bit of a squeeze, and adults won’t want to be back there for journeys longer than a quick jaunt to the shops. Getting to them is also tricky, unless you go for the more expensive five-door layout, as the Aygo has a low roofline.
The boot – at 139 litres – is also small. The Skoda Citigo has 251 litres and the Hyundai i10 has 252 litres – so the Aygo is a long way behind rivals in this respect. Split-folding rear seats come as standard, though (while they don’t on the cars that the Aygo was co-developed with, the Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1) which helps to boost practicality, and folding them expands space to 751 litres.
Reliability & safety
Toyota reliability is legendary but Aygo’s safety score isn't great
The Toyota badge has always stood for reliability and that continues to be the case. There have been no major reliability faults reported on the Aygo and we would expect it to be very dependable.
Toyota offer a five-year warranty on it to give additional peace of mind, but judging by the brand's performance in recent customer satisfaction surveys, the guarantee should prove unnecessary. It came ninth out of 32 in the Driver Power 2013 manufacturer rankings, making it one of the most highly-rated car makers in the UK. The Aygo certainly isn’t one of the safest cars in the UK, though, judging by its three-star Euro NCAP crash test rating.
The Aygo – along with the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107 – had its four-star rating downgraded in 2012 for falling short of stricter standards. Toyota did respond by adding additional safety equipment – such as side airbags – to the car, but until it is retested it is unclear what effect they would have on its result.
Engines, drive & performance
Nippy enough for town driving but gets a little ragged on the motorway
Again, the Aygo is in its element when being driven in town. The 67bhp 1.0-litre engine has enough power for it to zip through city traffic, and the light steering and good visibility makes manoeuvring through tight streets and squeezing into little parking spaces very easy.
The problems start when you take it outside of town. The engine has to strain hard at motorway speeds, which means it gets really loud (a problem compounded by excess wind and road noise). Overtaking is a real chore, because mustering up even a little extra speed takes a long time. It all adds up to make any kind of long-distance trip a bit unpleasant.
Price, value for money & options
Starting to look like poor value against newer rivals
There are six specification levels to choose from with the Aygo: Active, Active Plus, Mode, Move, Mode With Air Con, and Move With Style.
Prices for the entry-level Active model start from just under £8,000, which makes it one of the cheaper city cars available. But there is next to no equipment on this model and the price jumps by over £1,000 when you upgrade to Active Plus. You’ll need to go for an even higher spec Mode car before you get a decent kit list (equipment includes 14-inch alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights). Move models get air-con, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, and sat-nav, but they also come without alloy wheels – you have to upgrade to top-spec Move With Style to get a decent equipment list and alloys. By this point the Aygo is starting to look very expensive indeed – and pretty poor value for money compared to cars like the Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto, which are also more practical.
What the others say
"The latest version of the Aygo's three-cylinder engine emits 106g/km of CO2, with fuel consumption improved from 61.4 to 62.8mpg (EU Combined) with the five-speed manual transmission, although that figure remains 61.4mpg for versions with the MultiMode gearbox."
"The ride is stiff and it suffers from poor refinement out of town. There's not much standard kit, either, and the boot is tiny, with a very small opening."
"Jointly developed with Peugeot and Citroen (although the vehicle design is all Toyota's work), the Aygo has a frugal yet feisty three-cylinder engine, ultra-low running costs and superior quality to most cars this small. Available as a three or five-door, it will just about transport four six-foot adults in relative comfort, with nimble handling and a smooth ride - however the boot is tiny and the cabin is fairly basic too."
Last updated: 7 Mar 2014