What's good? Solid interior. Better performance. Better ride.
The all-new Toyota Aygo is one of most hotly anticipated city cars of the past five years. It continues to share the same platform with PSA Peugeot and Citroen, but unlike the previous generation Aygo, this new one doesn't share a single body panel with its French cousins (aside from the rear passenger door and angle of the windscreen). In fact, it's a unique car in its own right, in the same way the Seat Leon is to the Volkswagen Golf.
Since the original Aygo came out it was never seriously updated. A facelift here and there did not address the biggest criticisms of the car - such as the poor quality interior and noisy ride - but now that there's a new version, Toyota has the chance to take a serious fight to Volkswagen with their Up!
So what's the next Aygo like? Let's find out.
The 2014 Toyota Aygo is radically different to the older version. In fact, it looks like no other car on the road right now. Whilst the basic proportions of the car will be the same as the upcoming Peugeot and Citroen city cars, the Toyota stands out with an x-graphic front nose, a nose which can be changed within minutes at the dealer for different colours. So if you wish to have a pink x on the front of your black Aygo, you can quite easily (there's only three colours right now, but more will follow).
Around the back, the changes are a little more subtle. It's rounder than before and fatter, with an angled rear bumper and snake-like rear lights. As with the older car, the bottom section of the rear window is blacked out, to offer some privacy as to what you're transporting in the boot. The model I have had the chance to test out is a 5-door variant, but it's also available as a three-door. Unlike a lot of cars, the additional of rear doors on the Aygo doesn't dampen the chic look of the car.
Overall, it's a pretty little thing.
It might be frustrating to hear that the only engine available in the 2014 Aygo is the same one as before - a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder VVT-i unit. This engine has been slightly revised for the new Aygo to offer better fuel economy and slightly better mid-range response, but to be honest it feels just like the last engine - happy to rev, with not a lot to show for it. Having said that, the gearbox has been engineered to deliver more low-range perkiness and on the motorway, the longer fifth gear helps to keep things a little more quiet than before. Even so, though, this engine lacks the refinement of the unit in a Hyundai i10 or Volkswagen Up!, which is a real shame.
It rides much better than before though, and the steering is lighter too. It doesn't crash over speed bumps as much and road noise isn't as obvious on rough surfaces. The biggest difference is the steering though, which feels much sharper than on the older model, which is welcome because in my opinion the old steering set up was rather heavy for such a little car.
This is where the BIGGEST improvements have been made. Gone are the horrible plastics of the old car and in their place are newer, less horrible plastics. That's a compliment, really - the plastics in the new car dominate everything you touch but they're pleasant and feel thicker than before, which adds to the sense of quality. The gear level is also much improved, with a glossy black insert and leather-wrapped knob.
Ultimately, the interior is now much more uniform. Every piece of trim goes well together and the glossy black dashboard decoration adds something a little bit different.
The old Toyota Aygo was great on fuel, and we're promised that the new Aygo will be even better by Toyota. I didn't get the chance to fully test this car out but Toyota says you will be able to achieve up to 68.9 miles per gallon on a combined cycle and with CO2 emissions of just 95 g/km, it qualifies for free annual road tax just like the last car.
Trim and equipment
The Aygo will be available at launch in three trims and two special editions - x, x-play and x-pression, with two special editions: x-cite and x-clusiv. x-pression looks to be the best deal, even though it's the most expensive, as it comes with bigger alloys, DAB radio, and a bigger media console.
I think Toyota is in to a winner here. As long as the Aygo undercuts the flashy Volkswagen Up and value for money Skoda Citigo, it will sell extremely well. It's a tough call against the Hyundai i10 though, a car which does everything a city car should surprisingly well.
Ultimately, I think that the key to this car being a sales success is the standard equipment. Whilst it's nice that the top spec car comes with DAB, I would like to less lesser models come with it as standard, and I would also like to see a leather steering wheel come as standard too.
As it stands, though, the 2014 Aygo looks to be a good little car.