Toyota Aygo X MARKS THE SPORT (69/100)
If you want a citycar with attitude, then Toyota's Aygo should already be high on your list. This top x-cite variant though, takes things up a notch. The experts at Car & Driving check it out
Ten Second Review
If you've £12,500 to £13,500 to spend on a citycar and want it to stand out, then this Toyota Aygo x-cite model might well appeal. Its bright bi-tone yellow paint makes it stand out - and there are all the other usual Aygo virtues too.
Toyota goes to extraordinary lengths to give its customers what they want. The company's global success is founded on customer clinics and buying feedback the world over. So when this Japanese brand says it knows what younger budget buyers want, it's worth taking notice. And what they're currently looking for, it seems, is something like this, the Aygo x-cite.
The idea here is to make an already quite visually arresting ca stand out further. So x-cite buyers get a smart bi-tone yellow paint job, special wheels and various other matching elements. As a result, buyers can be pretty sure that no one else down their street is going to have an Aygo that's quite the same. There's nothing different beneath the bonnet of course. Like all Aygos, this one gets a frugal revvy little 1.0-litre petrol engine. Let's check it out.
The engine is still the same 1.0-litre three cylinder petrol unit but Toyota claims to have given it better torque delivery at low speeds - and its output is slightly up to 71bhp. Cabin refinement has been improved too. Acceleration from rest to 62mph can be accomplished in 13.8 seconds, and top speed is 100mph. Otherwise, it's as you were. This car is supposed to be 'fun to drive'. But just how much 'fun' is it really possible to have in a car with just 71 braked horses beneath its bonnet? Actually, a surprising amount. For a start, the 998cc petrol unit sounds playful, its normally aspirated note filling the cabin with a characterful three cylinder thrum. True, the long first and second gear ratios mean you'll have to rev it quite hard for meaningful progress but there's plenty of performance for town trips. You can get a self-shifting 'x-shift' gearbox as an option (we hesitate to call it an 'automatic'). Actually, it's what the engineers call an 'automated manual' gearbox that can be used in fully automatic mode, or with manual gear selection using paddle shifts or the shift lever itself.
Could you comfortably venture further afield in this car? Potentially yes. Both wind and road noise have been more effectively suppressed at typical A-road speeds to make that more possible and you certainly notice the difference on the motorway. There doesn't though, seem to have been much effort put into isolating the engine note. If anything, that's been emphasised as Toyota believes it contributes to this car's whole 'fun' ethos.
Design and Build
The design of the Aygo is quite striking, something that x-cite trim emphasises. There's bright bi-tone yellow bodywork with custom inserts for the door mirror casings, the front 'X' grille, the front pillar extensions and the rear bumper inserts. You also get 15-inch twin-spoke alloy wheels. The result is a real head-turner. The same colour scheme continues on the inside with the theme continued on the air vent surrounds and carpet mat edging.
Otherwise, the recipe is as it is on any other Aygo. This revised Aygo now has a fresher look, with its frontal "X" motif now transformed from a two-dimensional graphic into a more powerful, three-dimensional architectural element. The lower section of the X frames the front grille, while black, gloss black or silver ornamentation beneath the lights aims to accentuate the car's width. This update also includes redesigned headlight units with integral daytime running lights and there are now LED light guides at the rear and revised tail lamp clusters. Inside, there are updated instrument graphics and fresh fabrics. Practicality remains limited, with usable boot space rated at 168-litres, a bit behind the segment norm.
Market and Model
Prices for this Aygo x-cite model start at around £13,000, which represents a premium of just under £3,500 over the least expensive Aygo variant in the standard range. In other words, you're really going to need to want the extra kit that comes as part of this package. Only the five-door bodystyle is offered at 'x-cite' level. For an extra £700, there's the option of the 'x-shift' auto gearbox. For £375 more, you'll be offered the option of adding in the 'Toyota Safety Sense' package of active safety features, including a Pre-Collision System, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Alert.
Standard kit on this Aygo includes Toyota's 'x-touch' multimedia system, including Bluetooth and DAB, plus a reversing camera. There's also air conditioning, power-adjustable heated door mirrors, driver's seat height adjustment, split-folding rear seats, a leather steering wheel, leather gear knob trim, front fog lights and LED daytime running lights. Toyota has also added high levels of conventional safety kit, which include six airbags ABS with emergency brake distribution, vehicle stability control and a tyre pressure warning system.
Cost of Ownership
Toyota's award-winning 998cc three-cylinder, 12-valve DOHC engine now meets Euro 6.2 emissions standards. Revisions have achieved a better balance of power and fuel efficiency, thanks to a new dual fuel injector system, a higher compression ratio, new low-friction components and a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system. You'll be expecting very low running costs here - and by and large, you'll get them. Expect 72.4mpg on the combined cycle. Couple that economy with a 35-litre fuel tank and you have a vehicle with a range of over 530 miles, which given typically small citycar annual mileages will probably mean you won't get on first name terms with the staff at your local filling station. CO2 emissions meanwhile, are rated at well under 100g/km.
What else? Well there's no diesel option of course. I say 'of course' because the figures show that 90% of citycar buyers historically haven't wanted to pay the premium for fuelling from the black pump and there seems no prospect of that attitude changing very soon. And residual values? Well, they may not be quite as strong as those commanded by a Volkswagen up! but once you've had a chat with your friendly Toyota dealer, you'll probably end up paying less for an Aygo, which will sort that out anyway. And depreciation on this car has traditionally been slightly less than is the case with its Peugeot and Citroen design stablemates. Insurance is rated at group 3E.
In a sector often packed with rather bland cars, the Aygo is certainly one of the most striking, especially in this x-cite guise. Yes, you've to pay for the little extras that set it apart but many style-conscious urban buyers will think the premium worth paying for a little extra exclusivity and trendiness.
Otherwise, this model's virtues remain as before. It's not quite as practical as some rivals but it is impressively economical to run and fun to drive. If you're shopping in this sector, you'd probably like one.