Toyota Aygo Review
The Toyota Aygo is a dependable option for urban drivers. It feels cheap in areas but it has enough style and substance to earn a spot on your shortlist
- Cheap to buy and run
- Standard equipment covers the basics
- Robust mechanicals and affordable maintenance
- Practicality is poor, even for the class
- Refinement suffers at higher speeds
- Uninspiring driving experience
Should I buy a Toyota Aygo?
Small cars can be hard to get right. They’re usually the most affordable options on sale, so carmakers don’t have much wiggle room to deck them out in features if they want to make a profit. As a result, some small cars feel like bargain-basement specials – not so with the Toyota Aygo, however.
This charming little city car has much more style and substance than its diminutive frame would have you believe. And, while it is obviously a cheap car, Toyota has carefully kitted it out with enough equipment to keep complaints to a minimum on longer journeys.
The Aygo might be small, but it faces big competition – figuratively speaking. It has its work cut out if it wants to tempt buyers away from the charming Volkswagen Up and Skoda Citigo, or the impressively practical Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto.
Interior and technology
To keep the Aygo’s price down, the cabin and dashboard has been stripped back to its most basic elements. There’s a centre panel containing the infotainment and climate controls, a simple dial cluster behind the wheel, and that’s about it!
That simplicity means it’s easy to get your head around the Aygo’s cabin, aided by the clear and chunky controls for the heater and air conditioning, and handy audio controls on the steering wheel.
While basic cars just get a stereo, most Aygo models get a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which covers most of the expected functions. Built-in sat nav is optional but most buyers will be better off using the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto functionality to mirror their preferred mapping and entertainment apps through the car’s screen.
The Aygo is one of the smallest cars you can buy, which makes it a doddle to park, but you have to sacrifice quite a lot of cabin space in exchange. There’s just about enough room up the front for adult passengers, but you’ll really only be able to use the two rear seats for occasional trips.
Those unlucky enough to be stuck in the back will find almost no leg or kneeroom, and they may have to straddle the back of the rear seat just to fit in the first place. The rear bench is also quite uncomfortable, with an upright seating position and only a small amount of bolstering to speak of. Space in the back of the Volkswagen Up or Hyundai i10 is noticeably better.
To access the boot, you simply lift the rear glass panel. While that means you don’t need to be a bodybuilder to lift the boot lid, the opening is narrow, with a very high lip to lift your cargo over. The overall space available is roughly on par for the class, but the shape isn’t as useful as its German or Korean rivals, with less width and depth available.
Engines and performance
There’s just one engine for the Aygo – a 1.0-litre petrol with 72hp – so clearly, performance isn’t a priority for the little Toyota. It is, at least, efficient and should easily be able to return an average of more than 50mpg if you drive carefully.
Around town, there’s enough performance for the Aygo to keep pace with traffic without complaint. At higher speeds, however, things start to suffer. You’ll have to change down a gear or two if you want to overtake on a country road, and you should also expect to stir the gearbox if you want to tackle any kind of steep incline.
Driving and comfort
From behind the wheel, the Aygo is inoffensive but unremarkable. The steering is light and accurate enough that city driving isn’t a challenge but, as you turn more sharply, the weighting doesn’t build in a consistent, predictable way, leaving you unsure of exactly how much grip is available on the front axle.
Comfort is middling. Remain within the Aygo’s stomping ground – the city – and your only complaint will be the occasional crash into a pothole, while most mid-size bumps are effectively filtered out. Drive faster or more vigorously, however, and you find the Aygo doesn’t appreciate being thrown about, with plenty of body roll and lots of vibrations from the road surface being transmitted to the base of your seat.