Toyota has pulled out all the stops to come up with the new Aygo X, giving its city car an SUV-inspired flavour, a new platform and revamped tech, despite it occupying a segment where rivals are dwindling fast. The result is a far more accomplished model than before, but thanks to inheriting its forebear’s lacklustre engine and cramped rear seats, it’s short of scoring top marks.
Approach the new Toyota Aygo X, and it’s difficult to grasp exactly what you’re dealing with. It looks undeniably fresh – the pert proportions and chunky plastic body protection are striking in the right ways, but there’s still some familiarity. The Aygo X draws clear inspiration from its predecessor.
The new car has the same 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine as the outgoing Aygo, too, but it rides on a new GA-B platform, and there won’t be any siblings from Citroen or Peugeot. So, is this the simple, affordable city car we need before EVs take hold?
Despite other makers abandoning city cars, Toyota hopes that the X’s SUV-inspired twist will draw in buyers. The basic Pure starts from £14,795 – £875 more than the Aygo – and has Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a rear camera and a seven-inch touchscreen.
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For an extra £1,700, the Aygo X Edge gets 18-inch wheels and an eight-inch screen, while top-spec Exclusive is equipped with wireless phone connectivity, LED lights and a nine-inch display with nav for £17,715.
Inside, the design is attractive if not full of flair, even with some flashes of colour. Hard plastics make up the majority of the cabin, but these feel durable rather than overly cheap, and there’s a set of physical climate controls, which are more intuitive than a touchscreen solution.
That pumped-up body isn’t just for show, either. With 125mm of extra width, the Aygo X is noticeably roomier than the Aygo in the front, although rear-seat occupants aren’t so lucky. Despite the wheelbase growing by 90mm, rear legroom is similar to the previous version, and it’s tight.
Toyota claims that few Aygo owners carry four passengers, so it utilised the car’s extra length to create a bigger boot instead. At 231 litres, it’s a useful 60 litres larger than before, although we’d have sacrificed some load space for more usable rear seats.
On the move it’s difficult to ignore the thrum of the three-cylinder motor. It’s not too intrusive, but with just 71bhp and 93Nm of torque, pulling away needs a fair few revs, sending vibrations through the chassis. A hybrid set-up would be more relaxing, but it would compromise packaging and price.
Darting through traffic, the Aygo X’s light steering makes it easy to place – although the view behind is scuppered by thick C-pillars. Pick up speed and the engine is happier, but the lack of punch means that you can find yourself in the wrong gear, prompting you to work the transmission.
A five-speed manual gearbox comes as standard, but a CVT auto is available for an extra £1,100. Making progress in town is far less taxing with the CVT, but it’s also noisier.
Toyota claims 58.8mpg and 110g/km of CO2 for our manual model, but we averaged a less than stellar 48.3mpg on our test drive, albeit through a challenging mix of roads. And it’s over lumpy tarmac where the Aygo X puts clear distance between itself and its predecessor. It soaks up rough surfaces impressively for a small car, with the new platform adding a dose of civility to the driving experience. It’s not serene or unflappable, but the Aygo X isolates impacts and bumps relatively well.
Turn into a corner and the higher ride height can be felt with a degree of body roll, but the handling is tidy and predictable. There’s little sense of connection through the steering, but it’s accurate enough, helping in its natural environment.
The Aygo X is fitted with several driver-assistance systems typically found on bigger cars, such as adaptive cruise control, pedestrian and cyclist detection, road-sign recognition and automatic high beam. These help boost safety, accounting for some of the modest price increase, too.
With more grown-up dynamics, a better tech suite and a bigger boot, the Aygo X is more well rounded than the car it replaces, but it’s not without fault. Even so, it remains a compelling city car in a class where rivals are increasingly thin on the ground.
|Model:||Toyota Aygo X 1.0 VVT-i Exclusive|
|Engine:||1.0-litre 3cyl petrol|
|Transmission:||Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive|